In this paper, I want to investigate the collective action on the level of nation. I will try to show 1) Why the nation has characteristics which impede social scientists to grasp its nature. 2) I will try to offer a first definition of nation 3) I want to see the relation between nation, person and globality. 4) Finally, to lay out some elements for a democratic approach to nation.
NATION: THE UNGRASPABLE REALITY?
One of the most tantalizing issues in social sciences is the definition of nation. (nation-ethnicity-national identity will be used as interchangeable terms in this paper) The reasons are similar with these that Melucci points out as regards the approach of social scientists to collective action. One the one hand it has been perceived as “the sum of atomized events, which due to one circumstance or another, come together to form a collective reality.” (Melucci, paper,45) One the other hand, nation has been tried to be identified with various structures. I think that Hobsbawm has pointed out clearly this impasse: “ People can identify themselves as Jews even though they share neither religion, language,culture, tradition, historical background, blood-group patterns nor an attitude to the Jewish state. Nor does this imply a purely subjective definition of the ‘nation’.” (Hobsbawm,1990, 8)