8.8 The Contestation of Nationalism
If society is a social construct or a myth, this is even more so in the case of nationalism. Nationalism arose in the late eighteenth century and played a central part in a legitimatory ideology by new state elites seeking new sources of legitimacy (Brown 2000:31). Anderson defines the nation as "an imagined political community - and imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign", whereas nationalism "is not the awakening of nations to self consciousness: it invents nations where they do not exist" (Anderson, 1983:15). Brown considers nationalisms as nationalist ideologies that, especially in countries with a large indigenous population such as Mexico, contain two myths which are potentially in tension with each other. These are the ethno-cultural nationalist myth of common ancestry and the civic nationalist myth of common commitment to the residential homeland (Brown 2000:34). This tension has become manifest in the discursive struggle studied in this paper. Nationalism figures as a nodal point in the articulation of two competing discourses: the hegemonic civic nationalist approach versus the counter hegemonic ethno-cultural approach. Key concepts within the dominant discourse of nationalism are: defence of sovereignty, freedom, justice, and unity (III,76-80). The civic national discourse situates sovereignty in the realm of the state. The ethno-cultural discourse claims that sovereignty resides in the people (based on article 39 of the Constitution). Central to this struggle on nationalism is the issue of equality present in the dominant discourse. The EZLN reveals a significant paradox in the dominant discourse: the inclusive discourse presents a myth of unification, which makes it implicitly exclusive in the sense that it suppresses cultural difference and serves the needs of the dominant elite.
In the Fourth Declaration they dissolve the unification constructed by the government again in a different way: they mention the
different indigenous groups and absorb these in their own discourse. The struggle of the EZLN will lead to a pluralist nationalism
in which there is place for "many Mexico's".
Índice general I Siguiente
Volumen 22 (2005)