Identity and Nationality
It’s funny, how someone can be passionate and take pride in their lineage, and yet in some cases detest the place where they were born. All throughout history, individuals have had an ‘identity’ which they wish to be related to them. Why is this? In one’s opinion, it’s all to do with a sense of belonging within the locality. This does not make us individual in the sense of being ‘unique.’ However, there are obvious different strengths of ‘passionate’ feeling to one’s own country or heritage for instance.
First of all, how do we reflect this? What is apparent is in the circle of sport. Every country have their association with a particular sport, and wish to uphold this value in itself. Personally, one is proud of being Welsh. However, one can’t see why one should be proud. One did nothing to influence its formation, so more of a proudness in a country that is the cause? One was born to a Welsh family, who spoke both Welsh and English. Yet, Welsh was the primary was of communication with one another.
In terms of accents, this in itself defines us as ‘individuals.’ In a survey held in 2005, 5,000 people across the UK were questioned on their attitudes to accents and dialects. It showed that the hindrance of the accent, 56 percent of respondents said they were proud of their accents, more than the figure for the UK as a whole (BBC, 2005) It is important to highlight, that we as individuals did not choose where or how we were brought up. Your country, if nothing else, formed the society in which you grew. It provided some of the opportunity for your parents to produce you, teachers of various kinds to educate you, and perhaps provide a place where you could seek employment and fulfillment in other ways. This was the basis by which Plato argued that each of us owe a debt to our country, perhaps even our entire lives.
On the other hand, is the reason down to ‘filling in the blank’, that something is missing so following the crowd is the only viable option? In a generalized sense applicable to all countries and people, patriotism is a devotion to one’s country, this is in relation to sentiment of nationality. It is important to note that people do have a tendency to defend their home country even though some mention that it is their country by ‘accident of birth.’ As one suggests, it is a unit one belongs to, and this type of support keeps that unit in a sense, cohesive.
Secondly, can the reason be down to one’s own past? We have all been taught since we were children of different values from the older generation. So perhaps influence of others have taught us acceptance and an adopting stance of other people, and that has generated and reflected our views of others. Does this sense of ‘brainwashing’ from early age have its disadvantages can be a restriction? Any identification is divisive. Individuality is divisive. There are good and bad divisive unless you are a pessimist. There is a diverse view that we are drifting from a collective unit. The official survey’s figures confirm the drift away from support for Britain and the growth in nationalism in England as well as in Scotland. Twenty-five years ago 55 per cent said that they felt ‘proud’ to be British but that figure has dropped to 45 per cent. The study found that devolution had had the greatest impact on sense of identity in England, where it may have strengthened an awareness of differences between English and British identity (Daily Mail, 2007). Even though it is seldom a populous movement, nationalism is usually presented as such, and many argue that it is generally able to gain support from individuals of all social backgrounds so long as they identify with the nation (Hroch, 1985).
When we are adults, unlike when we were younger, we have a choice. Now however, we have a choice to stay, or leave. Your society, is a reflection of oneself. So to say your not proud of your land is a statement of the lack of proudness one possesses. This is the basis of social contract theory. In a recent survey 81.7 per cent of Japanese were proud of their nationality, with 91.2 percent of Americans said they were proud of their nationality, followed by 84.1 percent of Britons.* In this survey what was interesting, is that when asked what features of their country they were most proud of, almost 60 percent of Japanese people responded with the country’s ‘history and cultural legacy.’
Being a certain nationality is such a random act in retrospect. Things we have no absolutely no control over? Should we rather be proud if we ourselves achieved something great on our own? One must ask, why do people feel the sense of pride when it comes down to their nationality, as if it is an achievement to be born somewhere? In comparison, all throughout history, despite internal conflicts within family, there was still that component of family values, that was strongly apparent.
In conclusion, identity is what makes every individual unique. It reflects patriotism and nationalism within one’s own country. In the end it is all to do with ‘freedom of speech’ and ‘free will’ as a means of expressing oneself that promotes ‘identity.’ By identifying with the symbols, traditions, and other cultural elements of a country we gain a limited sense of personal solidity.
*1000 people – aged between 18 and 24 from Britain, France, Japan and the United States were interviewed