Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Today in the World Politics class I have been observing this semester, the professor talked about the difference between nations and states and what makes a nation-state. I was already familiar with the differentiation, and it reminded me of a discussion I had with my sister last week after Governor Schwarzenegger's inauguration speech. In the speech Schwarzenegger says:
And yet here in this nation-state of California, people from all over the world live in harmony. I call California a nation-state because of the diversity of our people, the power of our economy and the reach of our dream. Every race, every culture, every religion has been drawn to California.
When my sister told me what he said in the speech I responded with "that's ridiculous! It is obvious that the governor of California has no idea what a nation-state really is." (I then had to explain the difference to my sister.) Anyway, a state is a legally defined territory that has a government that is recognized by and can enter into diplomatic agreements with other states (there are other legal criteria, but I won't bore you with all the details.) A nation is defined by a homogeneous culture not a diversity of cultures as Schwarzenegger posits. A nation-state is when a state is made up of citizens that are all part of the same nation (as defined above). So technically speaking, California is neither a nation nor a state (in the international sense that the governor was alluding to) and is certainly not a nation-state. His argument simply illustrates his ignorance of terminology on the subject.

I would have mentioned that in class today if I were allowed to comment in class, but I'm not so I didn't.

I also would have said "not if it is held in place by art". I'll let the professor decide where that comment would have been interjected. :)

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