An Argument Against "Nation-State"

Ben Osborne osdip
Sun Apr 30 14:14:22 CDT 2000

Reading the various posts on the wording of the Africa resolution I was
struck by the continuous use of a term I very much disagree with and was
used poorly in a previous resolution. The term "nation-states" is often
thrown around without much regard as a synonym of the words "country" or
"State". Having a background in political geography I was always taught that
"nation-states" meant: "a nation state is a nation with a State wrapped
around it. That is, it is a nation with its own State, a State in which
there is no significant group that is not a part of the nation. This does
not mean simply a minority ethnic group, but a nationalistic group that
either wants its own State or wants to be part of another State or wants at
least a large measure of autonomy within the State in which it lives."
(Glassner, Political Geography, P. 48) Sweden is a good example of a
nation-state. This word has been used in the past on the Southeast-Asia
topic. If anyone thinks Indonesia is a nation-state then the people of Irian
Jaya (West Papua) have something to say to you. The same is true of the
Africa topic. With so many ethnic groups in the States of Africa there can
be no true nation states with a few small exceptions. The term
"States"(capital S) is a good substitute if we want to keep the debate to
governments. That is arguable of course. If the resolution is something like
"do something to an African nation-state" then I am more than willing to
write the argument that the Cormoros, the Seychelles, Mauritius, and Lesotho
are the topical countries. Something to think about...
Ben Osborne
MTSU Debate
Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at

More information about the Mailman mailing list