This chapter examines the significance of cities as privileged sites for nation-building. Capital cities can be seen as representing a psychological community and are thus a privileged site of nation-building. An analysis which privileges the dynamic, pulsating nature of city life can read cityscapes as a microcosm of soldered states. The chapter explores the myths and meanings associated with Hanoi as a colonial and Vietnamese capital, and Berlin's iconic status as a symbol of German division. Hanoi's noisy and bustling street life is one instance of the private sphere evading state control and encroaching upon public space, as commercial, leisure and domestic activities spill onto pavements, parks and squares. Like Hanoi, Berlin was a showcase for competing ideologies. In Cold War Germany, however, they confronted each other simultaneously on either side of the Berlin Wall, rather than holding sway consecutively.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book sets out from the premise that within the 'nation-state' construct, the hyphen linking nation and state represents legitimacy. It traces the discourse of national unity propounded by the two rival Vietnams and Germanies during the Cold War, and their impact on the nation-building ideologies of both unified states. The book looks at how nation-building in unified Germany and Vietnam set about overcoming decades of division by 'forgetting' one-half of that experience. It examines the interplay of nationalism and communism. The book focuses on the history textbooks to examine the construction of national heroes and anti-heroes as a nation-building tool. The study of cityscapes and museums is complemented by an investigation into selected history textbooks as examples of national narratives in two nation-states chosen for both their unexpected similarities and substantial differences.
This chapter explores two ideologies, communism and nationalism, with reference to two countries Germany and Vietnam. It begins by tracing some of the conceptual difficulties in reconciling communism and nationalism and how these were addressed in practice. By helping to repudiate communism in contemporary Germany and consolidate it in Vietnam, museums make a significant contribution to shaping nation-building in each case. Differing conceptions of the museum's role in socialist and capitalist, contemporary and traditional settings provide the context for a comparative analysis of the German Historical Museum in Berlin and the Vietnamese History Museum in Hanoi. Germany and Vietnam's national history museums help to propagate a nation-building ideology through myths of longue durée and national unity. In performing a legitimating function for soldered states, the museums create a link between ancient artefacts and contemporary communities, which also has wide-ranging implications for collectors and curators.
This chapter explores the contention that Germany and Vietnam were both divided states and divided nations before their respective (re)unification in 1990 and 1976. Politically, mountain passes marked Vietnam's seventeenth-century division into rival regions and twentieth-century schism into two republics. Nation-building in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) and Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) revolved around their competing claims to be the sole legitimate representative, or 'rightful political embodiment' of the German nation. Vietnam's accession to Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1995 signalled its readiness to pursue regionalism as part of its continuing nation-building project. The chapter argues that it was primarily in Vietnamese and German national interests to take part in regional integration, for historical, political and strategic reasons. Accordingly, regionalism is an integral part of their nation-building ideologies.
This book examines nation-building ideology in the soldered states of Vietnam and Germany. Official nation-building ideology is understood here as the government-led construction of national identity, memory and history in order to promote an 'imagined community'. This ideology aims to maintain legitimacy within territorial limits, those of the state, and defines the limits of national belonging accordingly. The German and Vietnamese experiences are similar in using regional integration not only to improve their international standing, but also their domestic legitimacy. Comparison of Vietnam and Germany shows that despite contextual disparities, common trends emerge in governments' handling of advantages and obstacles to nation-building. Both soldered states face the same challenge of post-unification state legitimation. Their governments also use both nationalist and regionalist narratives in pursuit of that goal, offering insights into the ideological construction of communities in the context of past, divergent development. In sum, the German and Vietnamese cases have been chosen for their shared experience of national division, communism and participation in regional integration projects, namely the European Union (EU) and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). These themes are examined through empirical examples of nation-building ideology - namely selected cityscapes, museums and textbooks - with an analytical focus on national icons, heroes and myths as nodal points of nation-building.
The anthropologists James Ferguson and Akhil Gupta identify two aspects of a phenomenon they call state spatialization: verticality and encompassment. Ferguson and Gupta destabilise the spatial assumptions underlying Westphalian notions of state sovereignty. The concept of popular sovereignty exists in Vietnam, expressed in terms of the Marxist-Leninist doctrine of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Within the broad theoretical approach, this chapter examines the key concepts of regionalism, sovereignty, legitimacy, discourse and ideology, as well as the possible methodological pitfalls of 'conceptual travelling'. Any analysis of the articulation of sovereignty and legitimacy in contemporary nation-building should include the regionalist dimension. The chapter explores the way in which governments conceptualise supranational governance. It offers a critique of the multilevel governance framework derived from European integration studies, and proposes an alternative better suited to the relational flows which characterise regional and global exchanges.
Education was recognised and pursued as a key means of nation-building in nineteenth century German states, prompting one historian to comment that 'Germany became a land of schools'. This chapter focuses on contemporary depictions of national heroes, with reference to school textbooks. National heroes are understood as a product of nation-building, or the government-led construction of national identity, memory and history in order to promote an 'imagined community'. The chapter sets out to show how heroes function as the embodiment of national unity and pride. The veneration of Vietnamese heroes has a, spiritual dimension, which is closely linked to the worship of guardian spirits in village communal houses, or dình. The chapter concludes that Vietnamese Communist Party (VCP) nation-building does indeed systematically disseminate nationalist ideology by perpetuating a patriotic discourse through symbolic and didactic information channels.
Paradoxically, as much as Africa’s current problems are often rooted in the past, the continent today finds itself squarely at the forefront of new security thinking. Although the international community historically has played a critical role in shaping the African security agenda, true security—and solutions—begins at home. The often misappropriated mantra of ‘African solutions for African problems’ has taken on real and significant meaning in recent years with the development and implementation of new national, sub-regional, and regional approaches to advancing peace and security. This chapter examines these approaches, past shortcomings of the modern African state and its limitations, and looks at ways the African Union, regional NGOs, and civil society are seeking to fashion a cooperative security culture for 21st century needs. Without doubt many obstacles and challenges still remain, but these efforts are already proving useful in recasting the continent’s security priorities and, moreover, in establishing a direction for future engagement by Africans and non-Africans alike.
This book explores the evolving African security paradigm in light of the multitude of diverse threats facing the continent and the international community today and in the decades ahead. It challenges current thinking and traditional security constructs as woefully inadequate to meet the real security concerns and needs of African governments in a globalized world. The continent has becoming increasingly integrated into an international security architecture, whereby Africans are just as vulnerable to threats emanating from outside the continent as they are from home-grown ones. Thus, Africa and what happens there, matters more than ever. Through an in-depth examination and analysis of the continent’s most pressing traditional and non-traditional security challenges—from failing states and identity and resource conflict to terrorism, health, and the environment—it provides a solid intellectual foundation, as well as practical examples of the complexities of the modern African security environment. Not only does it assess current progress at the local, regional, and international level in meeting these challenges, it also explores new strategies and tools for more effectively engaging Africans and the global community through the human security approach.
States are the only contemporary political organizations that enjoy a unique legal status under international law—sovereignty—and are deemed to possess an exclusive monopoly on the legitimate use of force within their borders. A central feature of the state is to provide for the delivery of public goods (such as security) to its citizenry, and states fail to function as states when they can no longer do this. While the concept of “state failure” or “failing states” is much debated, the consequences of such failure are all too real, especially in Africa. Endemic violence, ethnic and religious tensions, rampant human rights abuses, rising terrorism and crime, along with a lack of legitimacy and political inclusion, as well as an inability to exercise effective control over territory are hallmarks of failing states.