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Mitra Reviewed work(s): Source: British Journal of Political Science, Vol. 25, No. 1 (Jan., 1995), pp. 57-77 Published by: Cambridge University Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/194176 . Accessed: 26/03/2012 11:25
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The Rational Politics of Cultural Nationalism: Subnational Movements of South Asia in Comparative Perspective
SUBRATA K. MITRA*
The recent politics of South Asia has been dominated by separatist movements that have waged violent struggles to assert their control over parts of existing national states. The precise moment of the outbreak of these movements is influenced by the perception of the geopolitical context by their leaders and the stability of the central state against which they rebel. But their main driving force originates from a shared belief in their unique and distinct cultural identity, which, in their eyes, justifies their right to an exclusive homeland. This article examines subnationalism in South Asia as a special case of cultural nationalism. Subnationalism has long been an anomaly for both liberal and Marxist social theorists, who concede its existence but cannot explain it adequately. The analysis undertakenhere moves beyond the sociological and historical accounts of the origins and evolution of subnationalism in South Asia by formulating a political explanation drawing on theories of rational choice and collective action. The article argues that (a) leaders of subnationalist movements draw on both sentiments and interests, and (b) the direction and pace of these movements are influenced by the political resources thatthey are able to mobilize. Though the case studies on which the article draws are mainly from South Asia, the model that underpins them is applicable to other cultural and temporal contexts as well.
The assassination of President Premadasa of Sri Lanka in May 1993 once again brought the unsettled character of South Asian politics to the wider attention of the world.' This incident, like the earlier assassinations of Indira and Rajiv Gandhi, called into question the stability and legitimacy of the post-colonial states to which British rulers transferredpower at the end of the Second World War. Admittedly, these political assassinations are ratherextreme indicators of the activities of secessionist movements. There is enough evidence, however, to show that separatist groups claiming exclusive control over parts of existing national states have been a major characteristic of post-independence politics
* Department of Political Science, Institute for South Asian Studies, Heidelberg. An earlier version of this article was presented at the annual conference of the Political Studies Association, Leicester, April 1993. I am grateful to Keith Dowding, David Sanders and GurharpalSingh for their comments. 'The suicide attack on a May Day parade in Colombo killed twenty-three people and wounded twenty-six. The attack seemed to have been planned with meticulous care so as to produce the maximum political impact. 'Police blamed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), announcing on May 2 that they had found around the neck of the corpse of the suspected assassin the remains of a cyanide capsule as carried by LTTE guerrillas who preferred suicide to capture.' Keesing's Record of World Events, Vol. 39 (London: Longman, 1993), p. 35467.
39.2 These separatist movements are seen by governments as fissiparous tendencies and threats to law and order. SOME CONCEPTUAL DIFFICULTIES Those familiar with the everyday political reality of South Asia would recognize subnationalism . expresses the sentiments of those who believe primarily in a tough law-and-order solution to the problem of separatism. and. The factors that influence the evolution of the movement include the degree of resentment against central rule. Assam or Sri Lanka . S. 2 . finally. P.as the scourge of national governments and a beacon to their political adversaries. there is a great contrast between the perceptions of subnationalist leaders and the motives and character attributedto them by the national governments. subnationalist movements are primarily rhetorical devices that barely conceal their leaders' lust for power and their ability to manipulate the 'misguided masses'. p. to establish a comparative framework for the analysis of subnational movements.in Punjab. The 'subnationalists'. 1960) for a detailed description of subnational movements in India during the first decade after independence.3 Among scholars. See Sekhar Gupta and Kanwar Sandhu. acting in the name of subnationalism. 15 April 1993. to delineate subnationalism in South Asia as a special case of the more general phenomenon of cultural nationalist movements. Kashmir. and. At the same time. For governments. P. the Most Dangerous Decades (Delhi: Oxford University Press. secondly. ethnicity or region. contest the authority of the successor 'nation' states. Gill: true grit'. the salience attached to a separate and distinct cultural identity and the availability of a geo-strategic window of opportunity for the leaders to put these political resources to effective use. The issue of how this crucial transformation in the perceptions of a movement's followers and adversaries comes about raises two further questions: what material factors influence the trajectories of subnationalist movements? And what price are their protagonists obliged to pay for eventual political success? This article has three main objectives: first. however. who dismisses 'all talk of subnational or religious motivation as rubbish'. draw on both nationalist sentiments and material interests to generate a movement for a separate homeland. 'K. however. 3 Mr K. the Inspector General of Police of Punjab and India's 'top cop'. The focus of the ideological battle between the national government and subnationalists is how a 'mere threat to law and order' acquires the more dignified title of a subnationalist movement. Political leaders. in India Today. Subnationalist leaders are political actors fighting for a shared ideal for the large majority of their followers. S.58 MITRA in South Asia. to move beyond the sociological and historical accounts of their origin and evolution by formulating a political explanation that draws on cultural nationalism and rational choice theories of collective action. there is little agreement about either the empirical meaning of See Selig Harrison's appropriatelynamed India. religion. The precise mix of these two sets of motives depends on the political context. Gill. consider their claims justified by their unique identities derived from their affinity with a particular language. themselves.
as an immutable.) The counter-examples that readily come to mind are those of Tamil nationalism in India and Sri Lanka. p. Nationalism in the Contemporary World: Politics and Sociological Perspectives (London: Frances Pinter. To this end. culture. p. 'The Continuing Conflict in Kashmir:Regional Detente in Jeopardy' (London: Research Institute for the Study of Conflict and Terrorism. the intelligentsia . The Dynamics of Cultural Nationalism: The Gaelic Revival and the Creation of the Irish Nation State (London: Unwin Hyman. because culture is the ubiquitous.. which will provide protection for its markets.The Rational Politics of Cultural Nationalism 59 subnationalism or the theoretical puzzle embedded in it. in his study of Turkish society.Nationalism in the Contemporary World. NY: The Free Press. 1962). studies of subnationalism tend to consist of either (a) the description of specific cases or (b) 4 See IftikarMalik. The Dynamics of Cultural Nationalism. However. 9. see ParthaChatterjee. Kashmiror Bodoland in Assam where no significant industrializationhas taken place. the assertion of culture as sui generis .as well as in economically developed democracies. 11). p. 5 Daniel Lerner. 1993). Sathyamurthy. 12.4The lack of consensus even on a minimal empirical description suggests that the concept of subnationalism is itself the locus of a fierce ideological battle between two sets of actors for the hearts and minds of the people. V.. As such. .Nationalist Thoughtand the Colonial World:A Derivative Discourse (Delhi: Oxford University Press. theories of modernization which hold that the politics of ethnicity. p. Subnationalist movements are not a unique feature of South Asian politics. In addition. 7 Hutchinson. p. Passing of the Traditional Society (Glencoe. and T. 6 Hutchinson questions the Marxist interpretation of cultural nationalism as a product of the uneven nature of capitalist development: 'The bourgeoisie is compelled to sponsor the creation of a distinctive modernizing (nation) state. For a discussion of the 'liberal-rationalistdilemma with nationalist thought'. and the Transitionals are those elements in the process of passing from traditionto modernity (Sathyamurthy. language and identity are aspects of the politics of development5 are of limited utility in providing a general explanation of the phenomenon. such movements are present in many societies experiencing an agrarian-industrial transition . 43 (1991). organic entity which is 'quite independent of political nationalism'. the 'Traditionalists' and the 'Transitionals'. For the difficulty that the Marxist method encounters in discussing nationalism.is problematic in the sense that economic motivations may also operate in parallel with cultural factors.6 Theories of cultural nationalism that focus on 'the moral regeneration of the national community' are more promising. common element of all separatist movements. provides an interesting distinction between the 'Modems'. p. constructs a national culture out of popular myths and vernaculars in order to integrate and mobilize the masses round this goal and to project potential internal class conflict outward against an external threat. Punjab. 1987). 2. at least to the extent where the local bourgeoisie would feel sufficiently threatenedto invent a nation with which to protect its market. 'Does Modernization Breed Ethnic Conflict?' World Politics. Nor are the explanations of subnationalism based on the idea of conflict between national and regional bourgeoisies necessarily helpful since economic interest groups are not always the main driving force behind the movements to constitute separate states. the Traditionalists are the quiescent. 453. In the absence of a satisfactory theoretical framework. 451-78. 1983). Indeed. see Saul Newman. the social base that underpins cultural nationalism varies in both time and space. politically non-relevant mass of people.' (See John Hutchinson. 7. The Modems are the small politically active class of nation-builders. 1986).7 but which is somehow asserted politically .
Unlike the earlier anti-colonial movements in South Asia.ironically by subnationalism's apparent 'naturalness'. 'The Undeveloped Theory of Nationalism'. neither detailed description nor uncritical aggregation is helpful either in the advancement of theoretical understanding or in the making of public policy. they often appear only to be promoting the ideals on which the national state is based . 31 (1978). But most writers are content with the lumping together of all challenges to the national states as an inevitable aspect of politics in post-colonial societies. SUBNATIONAL MOVEMENTS AND CULTURAL NATIONALISM Despite their idiosyncratic features. the Most Dangerous Decades is a good example of this. 10 Anthony Smith. criminalization of politics and growing violence. is a logic of collective action which. 'The Continuing Conflict in Kashmir'. 9 See Gale Stokes.60 MITRA the lumping together of all challenges to the national state under the broad labels of Balkanization. " Malik.8 This theoretical thinness of the literature on subnationalism is caused . has suggested a preliminary basis for a typology of subnational movements in South Asia. could explain why these movements emerge at all . However. Malik. Theories of Nationalism (London: Duckworth. WorldPolitics. 150. they fade out of media attention once a settlement has been made. the distinctive features of these movements do need to be discussed at some length. The practical significance of these assertions will become clearer as we look at South Asian politics in some detail. In the absence of an explanatory framework that gives primacy to the political process. A major empirical feature of the South Asian movements is the lack of cultural and social difference between the protagonists of subnationalism and their adversaries. 1981).9 This is not to deny the important advances made in past research. Harrison's India. drawing upon attitudinal and structural variables." What is missing from these historical. subnational movements in South Asia are a special case of the more general phenomenon of cultural nationalism. subnationalism. p. the leaders of most contemporary subnational movements are drawn from the same social groups as their adversaries.albeit in a ratherstrident fashion. Indeed. This said. 150-60. This appearance of shared political ideals enhances the perception of subnationalism as a legitimate tactic.are formally entitled to at least a nominal participation in the 'normal' political process.a politically convenient self-classification to obtain material resources rather than a social movement with an intrinsic and unique cultural substance. in 'The Continuing Conflict in Kashmir'. however. that it is simply one option among many that are open to political entrepreneurs. 1971) and The Ethnic Revival (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. These leaders. Movements for regional autonomy and the political rhetoric that surround it are often treated as evidence of the disintegration of the Indian state by the Indian media. 8 . usually leading to the creation of a new political arena where the former insurgents wield political power. sociological or heuristic accounts. moreover .and why they change from one form to another. particularly in the classification of nationalist movementsl? or.in contrast to their counterparts during the anti-colonial period .
The presence of such 'transcendentalism' serves to expose the narrow reach of the two main props of transactional politics: the concepts of common and equal citizenship. Timm. 1993).as the main basis of political action in South Asia. The Adivasis of Bangladesh (London: Minority Rights Group International Report.both from the territorialstate and from those challenging its authority on the basis of separate nationhood . GurharpalSingh. See Father R.is an overriding factor.13 in Bangladesh. race. a new struggle broke out between the new central authorities and their regional adversaries. once the foreign colonial rulers left. They were considered 'pro-Pakistani' by the new regime in Bangladesh after its creation.the dangerous pursuit of which is quite likely to be an end in itself rather than a means to material rewards . 15 Vernon Hewitt. The former motive is instrumental . have firmly established transactional politics . these local and regional forces were accorded a position of dignity by nationalist leaders within the broad church of the anti-colonial struggle. What's Happening to India? Punjab. That relatively large numbers of people appearto be willing to die for the sake of their ideals indicates the presence of a different level of politics where the transcendental value of cultural identity . Leicester. such separate identities date back historically to the period of the resistance to colonial rule. 1993). history and geography. particular activists have sought to further their material interests and political careers. Brown. activism 'within the movement' has been perceived as a valued objective in its own right. 12 See Rajni Kothari. 1991) 92/1.) The forms of the struggle have varied over time. 'Kashmir' (paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Political Studies Association. Federalism and Centre-State Relations in Pakistan: The Case of Sind and Baluchistan' (paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Political Studies Association.12 Yet the fact that substantial sections of the Kashmir14 and Sind. at other times. The movement has seen the flight of thousands of tribal refugees into India. 'Ethnic Conflict in India'.'5 as well as the Chakma Hill Tribes population in Punjab. fuelled by patronage.The Rational Politics of Cultural Nationalism 61 Four decades of post-independence politics. rival claims to legitimacy . Mrs Gandhi's Death and the Test of Federalism (London: Macmillan.in the sense that the promotion of and identification with such values as language. eds. W.the normal tool of trade of transactional politics. Sometimes. (A selected set of cases is presented in Table 1. 1993).'6 engage in armed confrontation with the central state clearly questions the reach of the transactional view of politics. 13 See Robin Jeffrey. 'Islam. 'Ethnic Conflict in India: A Case Study of Punjab' in John MaGarryand Brendon O'Leary. .'who gets what and how' . Mass.17 As long as the forces of an occupying foreign power were visibly in control. However. 17 The distinction between primordialand instrumentalcharacterof separatistmovements is made by GurharpalSingh. 14 See Sumit Ganguly. 1986). 12. p. According to the 'primordialist' view. 1970) for a succinct treatment of the theme.Politics in India (Boston.: Little. 16 Information on the movement of Chakma tribals is rather sparse.have traditionally been based on appeals to a separate identity drawing on language. The Politics of Ethnic Conflict Regulation: Case Studies of Protracted Ethnic Conflicts (London: Routledge. Leicester. The latter is transcendental . Ethnic Conflict. and power passed to the hands of the national leaders. ethnicity. In South Asia.
pp. Rather.62 MITRA TABLE 1 Social Anchors of Subnational Movements: Selected Examples from South Asia Transcendental objective Tamil nationalism Territorialaspiration Sovereign Tamil Elam (Sri Lanka/current) Autonomous Tamilnadu (India/achieved) Sovereign Khalistan (current) Social base Tamil popular culture Sikh identity Sikh religion. 226 and 228-9 for typologies of nationalist movements. gurdwaras. social anchors and political trajectories. Mizo nationalism Autonomous Mizoram missionaries (achieved) Autonomous Gorkhaland Tribal network Gorkha identity (achieved) Tribal network Jharkhandculture Autonomous Jharkhand and interests (current) Kashmiri identity religion.18 Thus. the composition of which is influenced by a range of factors that are explored below. based on the variations in their principal objectives. Theories of Nationalism. .the unique Kashmiri identity. territorial aspirations. Mizo and Gorkha struggles have found a territorialsolution to their aspiration for cultural identity within the Indian union as constituent States. Gurmukhi overseas Sikh communities Kashmiriyat. embodying the spirit of Kashmiriyat . The cases presented in Table I do not constitute an exhaustive list of subnational movements in South Asia. In contrast. the violent struggle for an independent Kashmir aspires to unite the two parts of Kashmir respectively in India and Pakistan. ethnic bonds of community and tribe present a compelling basis of identification and political action which overrides all other considerations. 214. The Jharkhand movement has mobilized agitation amongst tribal groups to reach a similar objective. Punjabi language. Tamil nationalism is content to confine its territorial aspiration to the status of an autonomous region in India but is engaged in fighting a violent secessionist war against the state in Sri Lanka.Islam script. The Naga. The typical subnationalist movement combines both transactional and transcendental elements in a complex repertoire. Christian missionaries (achieved) Tribal network. they are intended to illustrate the main types of movements. Undivided Kashmir (current) Naga nationalism Autonomous Nagaland Tribal network. The contemporary movements have had their precursorsin the rise of Telegu and Tamil nationalism 18 See Smith.
their social bases.: Wheatsheaf. p. In this context. for example. dignity and pride inspired by the memories of the Sikh gurus . 2' Benedict Anderson. meet them. territorialexpression to demands for a homeland. 'Between Transaction and Transcendence: The State and the Institutionalisationof Authority in India'.. 9. A subnationalist movement is a political creation based on a cultural foundation which is 'imagined'. in the growth of Bengali separatism in Pakistan in the late 1960s. p. 20 Jeffrey. the movements established their initial raison d'etre by successfully supplanting the transactional basis of politics with the transcendental value of cultural identity. 1983). Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London: Verso. . The movement for Khalistan. honour. and in the movement for Elam in northernSri Lanka in the 1970s. see Subrata Mitra.22 The appeal to cultural nationalism made by political actors challenging the authority of a territorial state seeks to transform the implicit link between the imagined community and its social anchors into an explicit one. ThePost-colonial State in Asia: The Dialectics of Politics and Culture (Milton Keynes. In each case. At the same time. 'because the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow-members. '9 For a distinction between transactionaland transcendentalfactors in Indian politics. the crucial variables that underpin these movements vary from one context to another. in SubrataMitra.The Rational Politics of Cultural Nationalism 63 in India in the 1950s. 15.spiritual leaders of the community who in past centuries provided a focus of resistance against Muslim rulers. 22 Anderson.20 The political process through which subnationalist movements are able to draw on the instrumentaland primordial aspects of cultural nationalism in order to assemble a strategic repertoire is of crucial significance.imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign'21 . the notion of an 'imagined political community . In my view. As the examples given in Table 1 suggest. a proper understanding of subnationalist movements requires both the instrumental and primordial approaches. However.19 The central focus of these disparate movements is their assertion of a collective cultural identity within a territorialstate.which provides an empirical link between the instrumental and primordial approaches is of central importance. It also claims to use that process in order to generate the necessary political power to give concrete. 15.or failed to deliver. Bucks. yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion'. agendas and political strategies changed in reaction to the results they achieved . it also required the political skills of Bhindranwale (killed in the army action against the Golden Temple of Amritsar in 1984) to draw all the strands into a powerful movement for Khalistan. 1992).ed. or even hear them. Subsequent analysis will show that this variation also affects their political fortunes. What's Happening to India?. Imagined Communities. p. could not exist but for the sentiments of sacrifice.
p. If the ultimate objective of a particular movement is to benefit a class of people (a homeland for the Kurds. Rational Choice: A Theory of Racial and Ethnic Relations (Working Paper on Ethnic Relations. without problems. These issues typically involve the 'public goods' problem. the support of ordinary men and women will be needed for the movement to gather enough force to achieve its objectives. 2-3. Since all political outcomes are probabilistic.e. The Invention of Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. by themselves they are not sufficient to produce a political movement. A movement is a complex network of interests. i. See 'Introduction: Inventing Traditions'. Riker and Ordeshook operationalize instrumental rationality in terms of transitivity. collective object.) = p. need to be specified outside the pale of conventional political parties.64 MITRA POLITICS AND THE COLLECTIVE ACTION PROBLEM SUBNATIONAL In deciding which political resources to use. including the possibility of censure and even brutal repression. The problem can be specified in terms of a model based on rational choice which assumes that people usually act in a manner which they expect will give them the maximum net advantage. E(U. 1977).(X) [O< i < 1] and E(U. an agenda needs to be formulated and politically articulated for a movement to exist. The subnationalist movement for a Tamil homeland. People undertake such action with an eye to the future and 'utilise physical and cultural differences in order to create groups and categories by the process of inclusion and exclusion'. for example) then.where E(U. this agenda will. Thirdly. It will. . The political environment needs to be propitious to make this crystallization possible. Secondly. In the first place. pp. rational actors seek to opt for alternatives that are likely to yield the highest expected utility. was merely adopting parts of the repertoire of Indian nationalism in claiming that the 'benighted' south had simply passed from British hands to still worse North Indian tyranny. The use of the traditional Bhog ceremony at the funerals to spread the message of holy struggle for the cause by Sikh terroristsis yet another example of political innovation by leaders of subnationalism. once the agenda is present within or on the fringes of the political arena. 8..1].24 The theoretical leap from the rational individual to the creation of communal groups that constitute the social base of subnational movements is not. therefore.) > E (UY). 1. in Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger. 24 See Michel Banton. as 23 Hobsbawm gives a theoretical account of the political use of such cultural resources. sentiments and attitudes that are crystallized into a common. In this context. involve additional transactional costs. leaders of subnationalist movements try both to draw on traditional kinship ties and to give new political meaning to traditional social institutions. X is preferredto Yif and only if the expected utility of X is greaterthan that of Y. connectivity and completeness. No. The central focus of the analysis conducted here is not so much to examine why individuals participate in non-transactional politics but to specify the circumstances in which such action becomes necessary for the actors.23 While social anchors are a necessary element of cultural nationalism. 1983). for example. by definition.) = pj(Y) [O <-j. the key research question centres on why and how rational actors come to perceive cultural nationalism as a legitimate and effective course of action. University of Bristol. however.
for a given individual it is irrational to participate in such action. in general. 236-46. in turn.28who attempts a solution based on the model proposed by Riker and Ordeshook. The Logic of Collective Action (New York: Schocken Books. Political Studies. 27 Alan Carling. 1968). NJ: Prentice Hall. p. the benefits of setting up a regime favourable to the subnationalist cause will go to all those who identify with it. 1973). Olson's analysis is instructive in this context because it shows that.27 The issue of a rational explanation for such apparently non-rational behaviour is tackled by Green. 'Rational Nationalists'. Green suggests that for the rational voter. 35. 'the larger the group. worth pursuing for its own sake. as Carling remarks.25 The construction of a nation or a racial category or a homeland for an imagined community is a collective good in the sense that 'other individuals in the group cannot be kept from consuming it once any individual in the group has provided it for himself. 26 25 . from the point of view of a rational actor. the leaders of a subnational movement need to be able to present their objective as transcendentaland. Olson. provides an early attempt to formulate cultural nationalism within a framework of rational and strategic behaviour rather than presenting it as a spontaneous outburst of anger and resentment. Collective outcomes are deduced from the assumptions of individual rationality rather than presuppositions about cultural conditioning. 30 (1982). and the collective action never gets off the ground'.The Rational Politics of Cultural Nationalism 65 Olson argues. therefore. the act of voting is worthwhile if it improves the chances of a desired outcome. Social Division (London: Verso. p. Therefore. the farther it will fall short of providing an optimal amount of a public good'. If. means that any analysis of subnationalism must take into account political choices that operate outside the realm of transactional politics based on instrumental rationality.29 Drawing on voting as an example of political choice. 29 William Riker and Peter Ordeshook. In other words. but the costs will be borne by those who take partin the perilous collective action to work towards this objective. 334. then. provide a systematic account of individual behaviour driven by a desire to maximize expected utility. p. This. According to Green's calculus of voting model: V = p(I) + K-C where V is the value of a vote I is the value of the investment benefits discounted by the likelihood of attaining them by casting an efficacious or 'decisive' vote (p). 35. 'all hang back. 1991). Mancur Olson Jr. An Introduction to Positive Political Theory (Englewood Cliffs. 28 Leslie Green. Two other factors that should be taken into consideration here are the cost of participation and the benefits that the actor attaches to the act of participation itself. The Logic of Collective Action.26 The corollary to this general conclusion is that a collective good can be provided only if it is seen as a private good by the actor. it is irrational for any specific individual to be the first to stand up for it.
. the additional cost for the same voter to switch from his earlier practice (denoted by S).) + K + E.31 The crucial point in Green's model is the weight that some rational voters might attach to an alternativefor its own sake as compared to other voters who will measure the utility of the alternative in terms of how far it can expedite their chances of obtaining some other objective.are comparable. These decision norms .66 MITRA K is the value of the consumption benefits associated with the act of participation itself. India TodaY. 'Rational Nationalists'. broad categories like consumption and investment need to be further refined. (1) this with Vf = p(I. Also see R. See Green. however. C is the small but positive cost of voting which include time. 'Sohan Singh: The Panthic ringleader'. Vinayak. or.'consumption' as opposed to 'investment' in Green's terminology . p. so that the condition stipulated in Equation 2 is satisfied if E > S. 243.) + K+ E-(C + S).C. Green concludes that 'it pays the nationalist party more to make appeals to the consumption than to the investment aspects of the voting decision'. Banton. capable of encompassing variables of political investment linked to material benefits in existing alternatives as well as investment in risky. From this. Carling. as Green's example suggests. p. 342. effort and lost opportunities. 333. > Vt. . 'Rational Choice'. the benefits of showing solidarity with the nationalist party exceeds the cost of switching from traditional parties to the nationalist party. The addition of these two parameters yields the benefit of voting for the nationalist alternative: Vn. 31 See Green. where the subscript t denotes the benefits associated The 'efficient' voter who is contemplating voting nationalist has to compare with a party operating within the status quo. = p'(l.C. p. pp.30 The equation that characterizes the conventional voting model will need to be modified once a (cultural) nationalist alternative enters the political arena in order to take account of two additional factors . and. What we need here is a more general model. A significant problem with Green's analysis. (2) Green then goes on to argue that in large elections the probability of a single voter making a difference is near to zero. respectively.32Helpful as they are. to transcendental and transactional norms discussed above.) + K . 104. which implies p'(l. 244. and vote nationalist if and only if V.the additional benefit for a nationalist actor to participate out of a sense of solidarity (denoted by E). 30 November 1993. 240. p. 'Rational Nationalists'. Social Division. 32 3" See Green.(C + S) >p(lI) + K . 'Rational Nationalists'. is that it fails to explain why some people act out of nationalist sentiments and others do not.
In the presence of any of the above conditions. 33 Field data from India reveal the tendency on the part of local elites to combine the strategies of contacting civil servants and putting pressure on them by taking recourse to protest action in their attempts to maximize their share of developmental benefits.. whereas the probability is lower when some of the factors are absent. 390-413. both nationalist entrepreneurs and the state as the counter-player tend to manipulate the subjective perception of probabilities by using identity formation and constitution-making as political resources. the probability of a growth in subnationalism is highest when several factors cumulate.The Rational Politics of Cultural Nationalism 67 high-yielding stocks of the kind promised by the potential rewards of successful cultural nationalism. the greater the likelihood of the outbreak of subnationalism. Using these notions and some available evidence. Political Action and the State in India'. These factors are additive. Although it is generally risky to engage in protest action. World Politics. (3) The greater the exclusion of sub-regional social elites from the ranks of the national ruling elite. higher level political leaders and civil servants and lead to prompt action. Available evidence suggests that nationalist leaders are aware of the tendency of political actors to diversify their portfolios as they mix investments of the low-risk low-yield and high-risk high-yield kinds. ( 1) The greaterthe distance between (a) the position of the state or the dominant social group and (b) the values salient for the subnationalists. (2) The greater the disparity in the levels of material affluence between an area with a culturally cohesive population and the rest of the population of the state. 43 (1991). such as the expression of symbolic or material support by neighbouring countries.33As such. . (6) A social network that can be transformed into a political organization capable of facilitating co-ordination among subnationalist leaders.e. and an international climate favourable to their cause. the following hypotheses can be postulated as the first steps towards the elaboration of a comprehensive and general model of subnationalist movements. i. 'Room to Maneuver in the Middle: Local Elites. generating symbolic and material support for the cause and acting as a vigilante organization to punish defectors. the more intense will be their attachment to those values and to the desire for an autonomous homeland where those values can be actualized. the following factors are sufficient to help transform the sentiments of cultural nationalism to a political movement for a separate homeland: (4) Weakening central rule. See SubrataMitra. the greater the sentiments against those forms of political discrimination that are seen as responsible for the difference. (5) Geopolitical conditions helpful to separatists. when it is effective it can quickly mobilize the media.
men have given their lives and it would be demeaning to their memory to deny that they did so from choice. 'Ethnic Conflict in India' for the strategic aspects of the movement for Khalistan. The perceived weakness of the control by Colombo or New Delhi are crucial factors in the calculation of militant Tamils and Sikhs: the help they can expect from public opinion and sanctuaries in India and Pakistan respectively are important for their activities.34 The sixth hypothesis identifies organizational resources like social networks that can help in self-policing and punish defectors in a number of ways. to which cultural values and material interests are added in due course.68 MITRA The cases presented in Table 1 can be used to illustrate some of these hypotheses. 'Choice: Its Increase and its Value'. Hypotheses (4) and (5) point in the direction of facilitating conditions that affect the strategic thinking of subnationalist leaders. including execution. British Journal of Political Science. The remainder of this article examines the process through which political entrepreneurs attempt to weave together a set of social moorings and cultural signifiers into a powerful movement for a separate homeland. language. Sri Lankan Tamils have responded to the growing Sinhala self-assertion and discriminatory legislation through a violent subnationalist movement in favour of a Tamil homeland. Banton makes the point forcefully: The black man in Mississippi in the 1930s could decide that he would not play up to the white people's expectation of black roles. see Keith Dowding. 35 The cultural nationalist extends choice by bringing the hidden costs of existing alternatives to the attention of the members of the imagined community. when placed in the context of a responsive state) can be represented in terms of Figure 1. Rational Choice. THE TEMPORAL SEQUENCE OF SUBNATIONALIST MOVEMENTS In order to get the movement off the ground. race. . 301-14. life will never be the same again for members of the concerned social group. 22 (1992). Ratherthanbendbeneaththe yoke of the powerful. It is important here to make a distinction between (1) an ethnographic understanding of caste. The life cycle of a cultural nationalist movement can then be studied in terms of four specific issues.35Taking on an adversary against overwhelming odds might not appearas much of a choice. but he ran a grave risk if he held firmlyto thatdecision. 34 See Singh. subnationalist leaders must offer a 'choice' where none is perceived to have existed previously. p. from social boycotts to more extreme forms. religion and tribe and (2) the political use of these categories for mobilizing support for the movement. The stages through which a political movement based on cultural nationalism is likely to proceed (in terms of ideal types. 29.36 At the heart of the movement is a vision. but once transcendental cultural objectives are placed on the political agenda. 36 Banton. For the concept of the expansion of choice.
The Rational Politics of Cultural Nationalism 69 High tl \tlt^ ~ Stages: INTENSITY: Levels of intensity attachedby actors to cultural nationalism ogues t\ a few high intensityideolh movementgathersforce. there is very little that cultural nationalism can offer by the way of material rewards. admittedly. Elie Kedouri describes it as a 'passionate assertion of will'.37 The examples in Table 1 discussed earlier show that subnationalist movements are not devoid of specific content. . in the early stages of subnationalism. the movement is dominated by transcendental goals that are presented as worth pursuing for their own sake. 1. The temporal progression of a movement of cultural nationalism within the context of a 'responsive' state 1. At the outset. It is important to emphasize the point here because. though. 1960).rapi4loss of intensity d as powerimposes its own Ic )gic \t2 t\ t5 movementbanalized /c t3 t4 t5 Low 0 Pc 100 MOBILIZATION: 'Active' nationalists a percentage of as the imaginedcommunity thresholcof intensitybeyondwhich nationalism Ic Critical becomes'visible over an above 'mundanepolitics thresholdof numbersbeyondwhichthose adhering Pc Critical to nationalism constitutea political force Fig. Setting the Agenda Emphasizing the 'irrational' character of nationalism. bringsin some t2 sympathizers Id t3 movementat the thresho of political/electoral power t4 movementin power. culture is politics . p. To put it differently. specific policy issues replace the abstract goals of cultural nationalism only after the movement gathers momentum. 81. 37 Elie Kedouri. in the beginning.where memories of past discrimination and hopes for future deliverance are conflated into one symbolic assertion of identity. Nationalism (London: Hutchinson. at the core of which 'is a void'.
enters the fray. institutions and networks that are at best unconventional. the only rational method for the exponents of cultural nationalism to get their point of view across is to take recourse to protest and unconventional political behaviour. for example.40 2. 'For the English that would be very hardto understand. 947-52. 56 (1962). 28 March 1992. 'Power may be. The early exponents of Tamil nationalism were harking back to the glories of the Dravidian past and dwelling upon the social and economic oppression suffered by the non-Brahmin at the hand of the Brahmin. 'Two Faces of Power'. then why the inability to formulate it in terms familiar to everyday politics? When asked what his unique leadership really consisted of.70 MITRA But. exacerbated the demands for Polish and. if the object of subnationalism is specific and powerfully evocative. Hungarian nationalism. the Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan replied. therefore. 40 The political tactics followed by the Tamil nationalist Dravida Munetra Kazagham in Madras in the early 1960s provide some empirical insight into the symbolic uses of cultural nationalism as a powerful tool of mass mobilization. who act as the interface between the symbols of cultural nationalism and everyday transactional politics. for twenty years. If. the weakening hold of the federal authorities in Yugoslavia accelerated the demands of Croatia. p. When Do Political Entrepreneurs Join a Cultural Nationalist Movement? Once cultural nationalism appears on the political agenda. illegal. They are aware of the fact that conventional political discourse and existing institutions are organized in a manner that would keep out those forces that are likely to challenge the ideological consensus that underpins these institutions. the Bania. exercised by confining the scope of decision-making to relatively "safe" issues. Subnationalist leaders have the difficult task of articulating a cultural vision and sense of identity conceptualized by a few to a mass audience that is more familiar with the terms of everyday transactional politics. See Peter Bachrach and Morton Baratz. Similarly. 'The men who would move mountains'. subsequently. and the Aryan North. They attempted to mould the masses into a self-conscious community through the use of the symbolic paraphernalia of language and nationality. and quite likely. The commitment of Gorbachev not to intervene in the internal affairs of Eastern Europe. American Political Science Review. how can you?'38The Kurdish leader was not being deliberately evasive or mystical. the leaders David Hirst.39 From the point of view of agenda-setting. or comes under external pressure. The first political breakthrough for a subnationalist movement comes when political entrepreneursjoin forces with the cultural nationalists leading to the articulation of the cultural agenda in political terms. At this stage. The Guardian. It is not entirely accidental that the political articulation of cultural nationalism becomes increasingly strident if the power of the central state weakens. and often is. making use of idioms. a new group of politicians. the Turks haven't been able to do so. external recognition from Germany and the EC further exacerbated it. 39 38 . Those seeking to articulate 'non-issues' are to do so only at their peril. 23.' Dominant social groups seek to protect their interests by keeping contentious issues off the agenda throughtheir control of the process of agenda-setting.
the proportion of the mix being a function of the investor's 41 Subrata Kumar Mitra. such demands are more successful where the central state is responsive or is seen as manoeuvrabledue to international pressure. or at least power-sharing. The demand for a Sikh homeland at the time of India's partition constitutes a constant refrain in the movement for Khalistan. When Do the Less Adventurous Join In? Subnationalism crosses a critical threshold once the movement gathers enough support to talk realistically about power. 470. nevertheless permitted the 'mountain Turks' to call themselves Kurds and use their own language. the national state is more willing to concede the demands of subnationalists where the imagined community has firm social and cultural anchors.The Rational Politics of Cultural Nationalism 71 present their agenda as history's unfinished business. in their efforts to reinforce their demands for a homeland. and renewed the emphasis on the authority of the Akal Takhat Jathedar(headpriest of Sikh temporal authority). who ruthlessly went about establishing the central state in Turkey. Hindu nationalism has given a political orientation to ritual mobilization of the faithful in Rath Yatra (procession with the holy chariot) and Kar Seva that gives a role to each member of the imagined community of all Hindus to do something concrete and specific to protect and establish his faith. The economic analogy here is that of portfolio diversification whereby people seek to maximize total gains and minimize total risks by investing both in low-yielding but guaranteed municipal bonds and high-yielding but risky stocks. Hindu holy men and mendicants). it starts to attract support from groups that firmly believe in the 'two-track' strategy of investing in conventional political parties while seeking to establish a bridge-head with the subnationalists. the multi-ethnic character of the central state or the incomplete history of state-formation. 765.41 Significantly. 33 (1991). within the framework of the national state. p. 'able to appeal to a common moral or ethical code' (granthis or traditional Sikh preachers who recite the Sikh holy book and Sadhus.42 as well as more conventional political leaders including legislators and former ministers. In general. 'Does Modernization Breed Ethnic Conflict?' (1991). This phase of subnationalism witnesses the creation of new political institutions and the reorientationof existing ones. the leadership of both movements are drawn from religious elites. reasserted the concept of Sikh Panth (the Sikh community as a corporate entity). . Ataturk. At this stage. national tradition. Quasi-recognition by the central state of the identity and political separateness of the imagined community also helps give a historical basis to the demand for a homeland. for example. 3. 42 Newman. at p. have resurrected traditional institutions like sarbat khalsa (a general assembly of baptised Sikhs). 755-77. Several factors might facilitate (sometimes quite inadvertently) the granting of such quasi-legitimacy. 'Desecularising the State: Religion and Politics in India after Independence'. Conversely. Comparative Studies in Society and History. Recent events from India show that leaders of the militant Sikhs.
we can further expand the expected utility connected with the nationalist alternative in Equation 2 above. the imperfect and fumbling efforts of the actors reflect the difficulties of deciphering a complex environment with the available mental constructs . 1097. p. Once vengence became rare. p. are the humanly devised constraints that shape human interaction. and the norm completely collapsed. the perception of the differential benefits and risks attached to conventional and nationalist political options. 96. Institutional Change and Economic Performance. American Political Science Review 80 (1986). In consequence they structure incentives in human exchange. communal solidarity and greater economic benefits to the members of the imagined community by restricting access to desired resources only to full members of the new state. 47 Axelrod.48Using the contributions of North and Axelrod. the collapse was a stable outcome. is far from straightforward. which allows one to speak of the growth or decay of a norm'. theories. social. p. 48 'At first boldness [the tendency to question the legitimacy of conventional institutions] levels fell dramatically due to the vengefulness [the readiness to punish norm-breakers] in the general population.43 However. Institutional Change and Economic Performance (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 46 Axelrod.46 Axelrod's definition makes the existence of competing norms 'a matter of degree rather than an all or nothing proposition.a Sikh or Tamil state that would confer greater identity. Then. The missing link between theory and experience is provided by Axelrod who introduces the notion of subjective probabilities to the actors' perception of the existence of two sets of norms simultaneously. 1097. 'An Evolutionary Approach to Norms'. 1095-111. or economic.' See Axelrod. 1990). gradually. a crucial parameter in the calculation of expected utility. Institutions.As North suggests. more formally. Whereas Green offers a dichotomous choice between conventional politics and cultural nationalism. They prevail to the extent that 'individuals usually act in a certain way and are often punished when seen not to be acting in this way'.72 MITRA attitude to risk. the average level of boldness rose again. p. The equivalent of the high-risk stocks here is the new political structure. 'An Evolutionary Approach to Norms'.' See Douglas North. 3. 1109. .44 North also points out that institutions change in an incremental and evolutionary fashion. North makes an importantcontribution to the analysis of political transaction by emphasizing the role of rules and constitutions in the allocation of benefits. Institutions. The domain of the utility function can now be seen to encompass both a policy outcome and an institutional 43 'Institutions are the rules of the game in a society or. 'An Evolutionary Approach to Norms'. and ideologies'. Moreover. in actual practice. both appear to co-exist in various measures of complex combination.ideas.45Established norms command great power because of the fact that norms exist in the context of a given social setting. 44 North.47On the basis of a computer simulation Axelrod demonstrates how rational actors perceive rules of the game as a political resource and manipulate them as and when it suits their interest. 'In a dynamic world characterized by institutional increasing returns. whether political. the amount of vengefulness also fell because there was no direct incentive to pay the enforcement cost of punishing a defection. 45 Robert Axelrod. 'An Evolutionary Approach to Norms'.
are perceived by both the protagonists and adversaries of the movement as a source of institutional guarantee for the protection of cultural identity of the respective groups. Banalization and the Fragmentation of Subnationalist Movements The natureof political competition and the ideological posture of the movement change once an autonomous political arena. using the machinery of the government and mobilizing a section of social elites for the purpose. Political choice then reverts to the more mundane issues of material benefits for competing groups. The Penalty of Success: Power. The willingness of the central state to be accommodative may vary from one situation to the other. politics in Madras became increasingly Tamilized. Neither is it to suggest that the likelihood of the outbreak of separatist movements asserting their right to a homeland is the same in all countries. These new states. one can identify other factors.But. was forced to use the regional cultural symbols. in the course of the quickening of the pace of electoral competition following the introduction of universal adult franchise. Thus. the important question was no longer the status of Tamil culture but which group of Tamils would rule. In terms of the historical chronology of subnationalist movements. Once again. Looking beyond South Asia. Tamil nationalism provides a good illustration for the last stage of banalization of any cultural ideals that become enshrined into the core values of the political arena. when Tamil nationalism becomes the dominant politics of Tamilnadu (the change of the name of the State from Madras is itself significant). These include the historical sequence in . provides an appropriate example. At that point. thus. an importantvariable in the life cycle of a political movement based on cultural nationalism. however. Equally. conventional parties have to acquire nationalist garbs or face extinction. Indeed. however. a national secular party. which led to the secessionist war and the creation of Bangladesh in 1971. All this is not to argue. the two-trackers and the risk averse will perceive this as well. based on the values espoused by subnationalists is created. The state may resort to extreme repression. 4. that all subnationalist movements will necessarily go through all the stages described above. for example the regional State of Tamil Nadu. The violent oppression of Bengali cultural nationalism by the Pakistani government and a coalition of West Pakistani elites and their Urdu-speaking Bihari collaborators from East Pakistan. In the changed macro-political context. The reaction of the central state is. when two sections of the nationalist movement challenge one another. that would correspond to the stage where the main objective of attaining political autonomy within a specific territory is attained. as information spreads. the solidarity elements cancel one another out.The Rational Politics of Cultural Nationalism 73 component. the political success of the nationalist alternative will become compelling enough not to have to be tested politically. Even the Congress. The full extent of choices will become more evident to the more adventurouspolitical actors at first.
In the first category of states . morality or outright force. caused by constitutional exclusion of some social groups and 49 Green. having championed the industrial revolution. such as the vastly different experiences of India and Sri Lanka in handling their respective 'Tamil' problems. The six hypotheses discussed above can be seen in the context of this typology. Subnationalism in this type of political system could become a major problem for the national state but the availability of democratic institutions provides a bridge between adversaries keeping alive the hope of a negotiated solution. The second variable distinguishes between liberal democratic countries. leaving little scope for the expression of subnationalism in opposition to the state. 'Rational Nationalists'. In the fourth group are countries such as Pakistan where the pent-up separatistfeelings. The first helps stratify countries into two broad groups. In the first category are countries where social change.which would include countries such as Japan . itself took on some of the symbolic aspects of cultural nationalism. after the initial resistance from dominant social groups. In the third category of cases such as India and Sri Lanka. mass political participation and integration with the international market economy occurred. culture. were eventually incorporated into the national agenda. mass participationpreceded industrialization empowering social groups with long lists of grievances into staking a claim for a homeland. and authoritarian regimes. . where all social forces are political actors. Where subnationalism survived. Their interests. The strength and resilience of democratic institutions explains the internal variation of this category. In the second category are countries where traditionalsocial groups have acquired the status of political actors even before their internal structures and the norms governing them have been transformed by the forces of the capitalist market.the state. This can be formulated in terms of two main factors that influence the nature and trajectory of cultural nationalist movements: the relationships between (a) the society and the economy and (b) society and the state. where some social forces have a legitimate role in politics and others are excluded through the manipulation of the constitution. The two variables yield four broad ideal types.which would include the United Kingdom. for example . it did so only by latching on to the nostalgia of a unique cultural past rather like Breton nationalism in France or Irish nationalism in Northern In Ireland. induced by the transition from the agrarian to the industrial economy succeeded in substituting new institutions in the place of traditional social relations before the introduction of mass participation. The norms of political transactionhad already acquired widespread acceptance when new social groups entered the political arena.74 MITRA which transformation of the agrarian economy to the industrial.integration of the society with the national and international market caused by the industrial revolution took place prior to the introduction of universal adult suffrage.49 the second category of cases .
American Political Science Review. cultural nationalism increasingly appears as a 'tool in the struggle to achieve political goals rather than simply as a comforting environment for the anomic individual. 'communal formation and conflict are not merely the reflection of cultural "givens" and "primordialsentiments" . 456.'53 Under the broad rubric of cultural nationalism. 54 Newman. 1974). are kept on the boil until the weakening of the 'tyrannical' central rule.'52 Seen from this perspective. Rather than characterizing cultural nationalism as the unfolding of a vital and substantive collective identity. Tiryakian and Regwoski cite a range of cases over the past fifty years including Nazi Germany. Quebec. liberal-democratic systems which industrialized before the introductionof universal suffrage will experience the least.5' The analytical grid presented here should also help solve the difficulty encountered by students of nationalism in the West to apply their theoretical framework to non-Western cases and vice versa. 52 Paul Brass. India. 5) Ronald Rogowski. at p. p.50These conjectures should help provide a theoretical and comparative framework to the rather broad range of cases that have been cited in some recent studies of cultural nationalism. the analysis undertaken here has examined the importance of a range of factors including deeply held values and the opportunities for combining agitational politics with conventional participation. 27. p. 51 In their rational choice models. 'Modernization and the Politics of Communalism: A Theoretical Perspective'. Religion and Politics in North India (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. cultural nationalism. seen here as a special case of cultural nationalism. [They are] an inherent aspect of social change in all culturally heterogeneous societies. Scotland and Africa. Thus. 1985). In a general move away from 'melting pot modernization'. New Nationalisms of the Developed West (Boston. p. The theoretical statements made here are complementary to the empirical findings of several scholars of the politics of ethnicity. 347-87. we can conjecture a relationship between the intensity and endurance of cultural nationalism and the spatio-temporal context of the political system. ethnic identities are 'created and re-created anew to suit particular economic and political dimensions'.. in Edward Tiryakian and Ronald Rogowski.. an attempt has been made in this article to develop a broadly comparative approach to the politics of subnational movements in South Asia. 64 (1970). . Brass comments as follows on the use of community for the purpose of political mobilization: 'objective differences between people acquire subjective and symbolic significance [which are then] translated into group consciousness and become the basis for political demand. 'Conclusion'. 'Does Modernisation Breed Ethnic Conflict?'. and authoritarian late moderizers the most. Hypothetically. Mass.The Rational Politics of Cultural Nationalism 75 regions from power. 1112-30. 383.: Allen & Unwin. 1129.'54 SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS In contrast to single-country historiography. 53 Robert Melson and Howard Wolpe.
In order to explain the rise of subnationalist movements. The institutional context and political process are crucial factors that influence the mobilization of cultural identities into political movements. It is here that the state remains central to any analysis of the political and cultural identities within South Asia and in other parts of the world facing communal strife. For empirical support. (b) for political mobilization. even ordinary people end up doing things beyond their station in life. In that sense. The clarity with which political actors recognize the transactional and non-transactional aspects of cultural nationalism and the salience they attach to them depends on their psychological orientations to risk and their perception of the responsiveness and vulnerability of the macro-political structure. which draw upon both considerations.1950s through a constitutional amendment which solved India's 'Tamil' problem. Culturalnationalism has been conceptualized in this article as not merely one element among the set of policy alternatives available within the political arena but as a complex variable thatcontains. this analysis has supplemented existing rational choice models by conceptualizing time.76 MITRA Particular stress has been placed on the importance of the non-transactional politics of symbols and values. an attempt has been made here to conceptualize the dimensions of the political personality in terms of attitudes to risk. far from writing the obituary of the post-colonial state in Asia. I have tried to demonstrate the means through which the institutional fabric of the state could broaden its social base. This can be achieved by providing constitutional guarantees for the political expression of subnational sentiments and the exercise of autonomous power by subnationalists through the normal political process. . one needs only to look at the creation of linguistic states in India in the mid. being perceived alternately as political vehicles and a striving towards a shared cultural identity. Rather than partitioning the set of all actors into ideologues and other 'rational' people. in contrast to Sri Lanka where the state is still locked into a deadly battle with its Tamil adversaries. The hiatus between doing things for their own sake and doing them because they might bring other desirable things in their trainhas been the source of much puzzlement for rational choice theories of collective action. It has been postulated that these movements typically self-destruct once their objectives are achieved. a normative and a policy aspect to it. Under a combination of circumstances. simultaneously. constitution-making and two-track strategies as political resources available to both subnationalists and their adversaries. have to that extent remained enigmatic. Subnational movements. The political conditions under which that might happen are neither vague nor indeterminate. Cultural nationalism is seen here as a politically convenient self-classification that is used by its proponents (a) for the creation of a sense of collective identity. and (c) as an ideological device of counter-hegemony. The emphasis contrasts with studies which view cultural nationalism as fundamentally idiosyncratic. This study has identified some of them in the six hypotheses specified above.
the old fires of cultural nationalism will burn again. . or when a section of the imagined community in a neighbouring state is locked into a fight for survival (Sri Lanka. their adversaries) have to bear. If the central state reneges on its commitment to respect regional cultural autonomy. it is unrealistic to suggest that costs can be avoided altogether. while prompt decision making based on political foresight can lower the costs. Cultural identity is unlikely to have the same political salience that it had prior to the attainment of power in a state that is created out of a successful subnationalist movement.either through the creation of a new autonomous territoryor through their constitutional recognition within the framework of the national state . identity. simultaneously. Northern Ireland). Finally. community and dignity) issues. However. by demonstrating the rationality of cultural nationalism.The Rational Politics of Cultural Nationalism 77 Once the values espoused by a subnationalist movement are accommodated within the political arena . alerting all involved to the full costs of the transaction through effective law-and-order management. The analysis undertakenhere is intended to help the decision-makers of the central state to minimize some of these costs by entering into negotiations at an early stage with the subnationalists and.the normal politics of 'who gets what and how' replaces the complex interplay of transactional (material benefits) and transcendental (values. to be dusted up and paraded on ceremonial occasions. The very fact that political movements of cultural nationalism are seen by their protagonists as rational is enough proof of the tragic inevitability of their recurrence. politics in the nationalist state will revert to the familiar groove of material benefits. watched over benignly by the fathers of cultural nationalism from public parks and office buildings. Instead. or if central authority weakens to a point where more autonomy for cultural nationalism becomes both realistic and desirable. mean that cultural nationalism would thereafterleave the political arena forever. the main issue is likely to be the competition for power among former comrades who will justify their claims to power in terms of the advocacy of specific interests. starting a fresh cycle of agitational politics. just as often. That does not. the analysis presented here has attempted to identify the source of its vitality and not necessarily to justify the unfortunate costs that nationalists (and. however. In normal times.
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