|Talking Point: National Identity|
It is nationalism which engenders nations, and not the other way round.
- Ernest Gellner
A nation is a cultural and social community. It can spring from a variety of sources: religion, language, culture, history or even a political figurehead can be where we draw a notion of shared identity from. Quite often, shared national characteristics are identified by those outside the borders of the nation in question. As Britons, we have been defined by everything from our sense of humour to the tendency of our Royal Navy to use of limes to prevent scurvy.
Whatever our nationality, we may or may not feel a common bond with our fellow citizens. This week we want to ask you:
What do you think of the main factors affecting a sense of national identity?
Do you feel as if you possess characteristics that might be regarded as 'typical' of the people of your nation?
Conversely, do you feel as if national identity and stereotypes are the same thing?
Is it necessarily dangerous to have a strong feeling of national identity, or the starting point for self-respect, leading to peaceful co-operation with other nations?
Do you feel as if you belong to a larger community, such as the European Community - or do you regard yourself as a citizen of the world?
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