Distinguish Between a Nation and a State and Explain Why the Two Are Often Confused

Topics: Nationalism, Nation, Sovereign state Pages: 2 (614 words) Published: February 26, 2013

A nation is a grouping of people who consider themselves to have similar circumstances of cultural, political, same language, religion, traditions and so on. However, as no nation is culturally homogeneous, nations are ultimately defined subjectively by their members through the existence of patriotism or national consciousness. There are two types of nations, one being political and the other cultural. A state on the other hand is a political reality, it either exists or doesn’t. They are political associations that establish supreme jurisdiction within defined territorial borders. As such, their populations may consist of a single nation, a part of a nation, or a number of nations.

Confusion between the two terms occurs for a number of reasons

We can firstly acknowledge confusion between clearing up the difference between a state and a nation, due to the fact that even though the state often holds the nation, a nation actually conveys people’s state of mind of emotions. A state just refers to a patch of a land with a sovereign government. A state does not necessarily rule a people with common culture; it is merely a political concept. We understand that a nation is more about the people within it and how they are all linked, however a state is just seen as a territorial association, as it exercises jurisdiction within geographically defined borders.

Furthermore, when speaking about a nation or a state we are often confused, because the structure of the modern world means nations and states are often considered essentially linked. The nation is seen to form a natural political unit and cohesive society and so provide the basis for a stable state. Political nationalism is characterised by the aspiration of a nation to establish sovereign statehood, meaning that national identity is closely linked to the aspiration for self-government. As a result the two terms...
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