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neighbourhood nationalism


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Term used to refer to a form of identity politics that can embody both local and national discourses on race and nation. Common language and culture, and often a shared political cause (e.g. anti‐colonialism, anti‐racism, anti‐establishment), can assist in generating a feeling of neighbourhood ‘belonging’. The politics of neighbourhood nationalism can be inclusive but also can exclude those who are constructed as the ‘others’. For example, the political goal of anti‐colonial nationalism may influence mobilization for the ‘nation’ at the local level, which in specific contexts may override class, caste, and religious divisions in the neighbourhood. Similarly, national discourses (for example multiculturalism, or legislation on terror in the UK) can include or divide communities along ethnic and religious lines. What is unique about this form of nationalism is its ordinariness and embeddedness in everyday living patterns. In times of civil strife, simple acts such as communal cooking or eating, or looking after each other's homesteads, provide security and a sense of community identity. Neighbourhood nationalism also engenders many risks, so it is not uncommon to witness entire neighbourhoods and communities being implicated in certain traditional practices (such as female genital mutilation, honour killings, witchcraft, or political connivance) or subject to brutalities (as in Rwanda) and becoming targets for a range of acts.

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