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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Experience of Nation-Building: Some Lessons for South Africa
Author:Simpson, Mark
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies
Geographic term:South Africa
nation building
Politics and Government
Ethnic and Race Relations
Abstract:This article gives an outline of the global record of nationbuilding and discusses the lessons South Africa can draw from it. In First World States the nation was held to have preceded the State or both had emerged simultaneously. Recent developments, however, have demonstrated that the model Western nation-State was as vulnerable to dissident subnationalism as any in the Third World. A number of lessons may be drawn from these events. The first concerns the assumption, embedded within modernization theory, that effective national integration will flow from a process of economic development. The second lesson concerns the limitations of the consociational approach to the problem of multiethnic societies. The conclusion is that the lessons for South Africa are largely negative. The problem for South Africa is the lack of an ethnic core, or the existence of a number of competing strong ethnic cores around which a sense of nationhood could be constructed. The history of the struggle against apartheid is much less the history of the desire of subordinate ethnic groups to contest the dominance of another than the struggle of those disenfranchised to gain the rights of citizenship within a united South Africa. This sense of belonging to South Africa on the part of all ethnic groups in the country provides an alternative basis for nationbuilding. Notes, ref.