Ernest André Gellner
~ The Independent as a "one-man crusade for critical rationalism".
(9 December 1925 – 5 November 1995)
|political philosophy, philosophy of science, anthropology, nationalism|
Gellner's theory of nationalism
- Shared, formal educational system
- Cultural homogenization and "social entropy"
- Central monitoring of the polity, extensive bureaucratic control
- Linguistic standardization
- National identification – the abstract community
- Cultural similarity as a basis for political legitimacy
- Anonymity, single-stranded social relationships
- It is too functionalist. Critics charge that Gellner explains the phenomenon with reference to the eventual historical outcome: industrial society could not 'function' without nationalism.
- It misreads the relationship between nationalism and industrialisation.
- It accounts poorly for national movements of ancient Rome and Greece, since it insists that nationalism is tied to 'modernity' and cannot exist without a clearly defined modern industrialisation.
- It fails to account for nationalism in non-industrial society and resurgences of nationalism in post-industrial societies.
- It fails to account for nationalism in sixteenth-century Europe.
- It cannot explain the passions generated by nationalism: why should anyone fight and die for his country?
- It fails to take into account the role of war and the military in fostering both cultural homogenisation and nationalism, ignoring in particular the relationship between militarismand compulsory education.
- It has been compared to technological determinism, as it disregards the views of individuals.