The world is constantly changing, from prehistoric times to the present , but it was not until a few hundred years ago that the concept of Nation emerged , a concept full of its own characteristics and elements that call for a sense of belonging. What is a nation? What elements compose it? What are the differences between a nation, a government and a state? In this article we will provide you the definition of Nation in political science.
A nation can be defined as a set of people identified by a territory, a race, a language and some customs in common , generally they constitute a town or country. This word has its origin from the Latin natio, which in turn is derived from nascor, which means to be born, so it could be taken as meaning “birth” with respect to a people, species or class.
What characterizes a nation is the cultural, historical, social and political identity of a group of people. Following the same sense, it can be said that the feeling of a nation is the shared thought of a group of people who are united by cultural ties.
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Elements of a nation
In order to consider a territory as a nation, three elements are necessary, which will be mentioned below:
- Territory : this is the geographic space where the group of people is established.
- Population : is the group of people who are in the geographic space and make up the nation.
- National consciousness : this is the unit resulting from the elements that the group of people have in common, such as: customs, religion, race, language, among other elements that make them share the same goals and ideals.
The political nation
When we speak of a political nation, we refer specifically to the geopolitical and legal delimitation in which a State exercises its sovereignty . This means that the political nation has certain similarities with the state.
There must not necessarily be a correspondence between the political nation and the cultural nation. That is to say that not in all cases a political nation has correspondence with the meeting of a cultural nation that belongs to a government , in a State there can be several nations and form a “multinational” policy.
An example of the aforementioned is the case of Spain, its political nation brings together different cultural nations that have their own language and traditions, such as the Basque Country and Catalonia. On the other hand, an example of the opposite would be all those States that encompass unified nations in terms of culture and language, such as Portugal.
Throughout history, an attempt has been made to make the political nation and the cultural nation coincide, and this has generated many international conflicts. This has started with the intention of unifying all the elements that constitute a cultural nation under the political order.
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The cultural nation
The cultural nation is defined as the cultural and historical organization that starts from the written and shared memory throughout different generations. A cultural nation is called by those individuals who feel they belong culturally and socially in a comfort or a group that possesses the three elements that constitute a nation, that is to say: the territory, the population and the national conscience. This nation is not necessarily organized by a state.
When speaking of a cultural nation, reference is made to the collective life, memory and cultural identity of a group of people, in this nation the same language, ethnic group or religion is not necessarily shared.
In South America, a clear example of a cultural nation is the indigenous communities, this is because they share the same identity, a history and also the collective exchange is constant. After the discovery of America , and with the mixture of races, the inhabitants of Latin American soil speak different languages and the beliefs are not the same, but they coexist in a space without the need to be formally delimited.
What is a state?
The political-territorial divisions of a country are also called a state. Each of these divisions are autonomous and have their own government governed by the local administrative structure, usually made up of municipalities, such as the state of Jalisco in Mexico or the state of Aragua in Venezuela.
When the word “state” is used to talk about the political organization of a country , it is written with a capital letter, otherwise it is written with a lowercase letter and in this way it is differentiated which type of state is being referred to. In the same way, the capital letter is used for when referring to military structures.
What is a government?
The government has the task of being an authority capable of governing a political entity , therefore its objective is to control, administer and direct the institutions that the State owns, such as the regulation of political society and the exercise of authority. The government will depend on the state, this can be regional, local and national . In order for a government to function, it has to establish certain powers:
- The executive branch : it is in charge of coordinating and approving the laws.
- The legislative branch : responsible for creating laws.
- The judiciary : has the task of enforcing these laws.
The government represents the highest level of management and executive administration, since it is recognized as the most important part of a nation or a State, and is made up of the executive directors of the State such as the president and ministers.
The objective of a government is to create a social protection system that is self-sustaining , that provides long-term security, that is free from corruption and that, in addition, provides a good quality of life to the community that lives in the State.
The government has an obligation to ensure benefits such as health, education, housing and work . This must be achieved through the collection of taxes that all citizens belonging to the State must pay in order to also guarantee the maintenance and development of public services and infrastructures.
Nation, State and Government… Do they depend on each other?
Once the definitions of each have been known, it is easy to see that they have similar concepts to some extent, however they have their differences. It could be said that each of them has evolved through history to become what they are today . In previous centuries there had always been nations, because customs and language were shared and transmitted for generations, however there was no state or government proper.
In any case, for a State to exist, there must previously be one or more nations that compose it, since this is a more formal structure where politics and economics are discussed in addition to a specific delimitation of the geographical space.
Finally, a government cannot exist without an already established State, so it would not exist without a nation, since this is in charge of maintaining order and enforcing the laws in the territory where the state develops, which It is where the members of the nation or the nations that make up the population live together.
Therefore, it can be concluded that the three complement each other, although a nation may exist without a state or government , the coexistence between its members becomes more bearable with the existence of the State and the government, so it is advantageous that they exist.