What Is A Nation?
A nation is a political unit of inhabitants usually grouped together based on a specific language, culture, history, identity and, more often, a common historical culture. Within a nation, there are usually many cultural groups with different traits, values and interests. A nation has an identity but this identity is rarely static and is rather fluid. Concepts of nationhood and nation-state have been around for centuries and are still an influential part of political thought. A nation as a political entity exists to provide a group of citizens with a sense of social, cultural and economic superiority over other groups of citizens of the same nation. It provides a sense of accountability and patriotism.
Nations have different boundaries and one can find a nation stretching from the frozen wastes of the north poles to the islands of the Pacific Ocean, although there is no conclusive definition of what a nation looks like. A nation has no fixed borders and its borders may be loosely defined by ethnicity or political affiliation. Nations are sometimes at war and other times are at peace, although borders are often used as the indicator of one state oppressing another or as a bargaining chip in international negotiations. A nation’s identity is not based on concrete borders but rather on shared cultural identity and a sense of history and identity that is rooted in the nation-state. In some cases, nations are forced to unite against their common enemy, but this usually does not last.
Nation-states are states with their own government structures that exist within a union of nations or are independent states in relation to other nations. The relationship between a nation state and its citizenry is that of a nation with a large national group of citizens and a smaller, more autonomous group of citizens who live in the nation-state. A nation-state has the ability to act like a sovereign nation with respect to other states and their citizens because it controls its territory and has the power to set its own laws. Nation-states are able to maintain and respect their national identities because they face no external threats and are not bound by international law unlike the citizenry of a nation.