What Are the Threats to National Sovereignty in a More Globalised World?

National Identity

  • National identity is the sense of a nation as a cohesive whole, represented by distinctive traditions, cultures and language. Each nation has an identity unique to them.
  • Nationalism remains a powerful force which is reinforced through education, sport and by political parties stressing the importance of loyalty to both the institutions and the ideas of nation states.
  • Education is perhaps the most powerful aspect of reinforcing nationalism as it provides a history and reasoning behind a country’s success and previous triumphs.
  • For instance, we are taught about the British Empire which, accordingly, reinforces the previous ideologies of the Britain’s power and success, creating an identity.
  • Identity and loyalty may be tied to distinctive legal systems, methods of governance, national ‘character’ or a landscape, such as The English Countryside or The Taj Mahal.
  • For example, North Korea has a national identity based upon their political communist regime whilst Russia is identified by its previous political ideologies before the cold war.
  • Most countries are multi-national, made of contrasting ethnic groups which poses questions on national identity and loyalty.
  • Understanding national identity is thus a complex concept, especially in an era of globalisation. Since the world has become interconnected, is there such a thing as traditional national identity?


Challenges to National Identity

  • Many UK based companies are foreign owned, such as Jaguar Land Rover, making ‘Made in Britain’ an increasingly complex idea. Additionally, globalisation has meant that manufacturing is now more commonly done in the east, such as within China, meaning less is made in the UK.
  • ‘Westernisation’ is dominated by US cultural values through the operation of large TNCS, international organisations, retailing and entertainment. This, consequently, promotes a distinctive view of the benefits of the dominant capitalist model.
  • Ownership of property, land and businesses in countries is increasingly non-national. For instance, properties in London are now being owned by wealthy citizens of Russia and Qatar. This impacts on national identity.


Consequences of Disunity within Nations

  • As nations begin to disintegrate, there are strong nationalist movements seeking to create independent, smaller states whilst remaining within larger trading groups. For example, after BREXIT, Scotland deliberated on leaving the UK so that they could remain part of the European Union. Further news of this is yet to follow.
  • There are significant political tensions in the BRICs and other emerging nations resulting from the uneven pattern of the costs and benefits of globalisation.
  • For instance, China is becoming increasingly dominant on the world stage, but some argue that the politics of China are showing signs of change and becoming more capitalist.
  • This hinders their national identity as they are known for their communist principles.
  • The role of the state varies, and national identity is not always strong. For instance, in failed states there are differences between the political and economically powerful elites, foreign investment groups and the wider population.