As you may or may not already know, a nation is a place with which a group of people identify and share a sense of attachment and belonging. This feeling is usually derived from a common language, history, culture or descent.
Meanwhile, a nation-state is a nation that functions as an independent political entity – controlling and administering the population within its territory. Just so you know, nation-states are distinguished by their political legitimacy. So, people have citizenship of a nation-state rather than nations themselves. Being a citizen usually confers certain rights to the holder within its territorial area, for example the right to vote and to reside, along with the requirement to pay taxes and obey the law.
Nationalism, on the other hand, can be understood as the want of a people to live independently from the rule or influence of other nations because they strongly identify with their own nation. Got that down? Great! Now, it’s important not to confuse nationalism with patriotism, which is the term used to describe individuals who are socially conditioned to behave in such a way that supports state decisions unquestioningly.
If this all sounds a bit far-fetched to you, you’re not alone; the British identity is becoming less and less important to the majority of people in the UK. According to recent large scale surveys, this is because English, Scottish and Welsh national identities are becoming more prominent.
Sound concerning? Don’t worry; it might be a thing of the past soon enough. In the 90s, prominent sociologist Stuart Hall claimed cultures of hybridity would replace national cultures with increasing globalisation in time. Hall has been supported in his argument by sociologists who argue that the mixing of multiple cultures facilitated by globalisation will lead to both the emergence of new cultures of hybridity and associated hybrid identities in the coming decades.