Nationalism can be defined in reference to two aspects. The first aspect is attitude which is member of a particular nation show when it comes to minding about their national identity. The second aspect is the actions and activities which members of a particular nation are likely to undertake hen they are to achieve self determination or political sovereignty. This brings about the issue of nation and national identity. Nation and national identity can be described in terms of one’s origin, ethnicity and cultural ties. Every nation has their own practices and members have the desire to be associated with these practices to consider themselves as real members. Membership to a nation can be voluntary or involuntary. Voluntary members are those who originate from another nation but willingly acquired the nationality of another country. Involuntary members are those born in that nation and do not have the chance to change their nationality. About the political sovereignty the question arises whether one needs to have total authority for either domestic and international affairs or something less is required. Though sovereignty means being in total control, modern nationalism disagrees with this. There has a lot debate about nation and nationalism.
These debates have been among the nationalists, the Perennialists and postmodernists and Marxists. The nationalists describe nation as a phenomenon which is timeless which man started creating immediately he climbed out of primordial slime. The Perennialists argue that nations have been in existence for a very long time but they can take different shapes at different points in their history. The postmodernists and Marxists view nations as very modern and constructed. This is the most recent argument.
Nationalism can unite people from different classes and with different ideologies while at the same time creating harmony and linking the past to the present and give people a sense of identity. At the same nationalism can be used by dictators, despots and power hungry politicians to achieve their personal gains. It can still lead to violent and create differences among people of different geographical areas. In this case it can be concluded that nationalism has both positive and negative effects.