Coronavirus reveals how important the nation is to our daily lives
The coronavirus pandemic cuts across borders, cultures and political systems. As the virus spread across the planet, global institutions such as the World Health Organization (WHO) called for worldwide solidarity, arguing that “we’re all in this together and we can only stop it together”.
Despite the very obvious global nature of the pandemic and some of the more humanitarian responses to it, it has often been discussed in terms of national territories, priorities and communities.
Some have argued that nationalism is a worrying side-effect of the virus, pointing to the closure of national borders as a threat to globalisation or noting how some political leaders have tried to blame other countries. For instance, both the Trump administration in the US and the Bolsonaro administration in Brazil have courted controversy by blaming China for the coronavirus crisis.
The problem with these arguments is that they tend to view nationalism in very narrow, and very negative, terms. Often nationalism is associated with the actions of politicians or groups who are labelled as extremist, such as Hungary’s Victor Orbán or France’s Marine La Pen. But if we want to make sense of the continuing salience and power of the nation, particularly in times of crisis, we need a wider understanding of nationalism...
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