(This is an edited version of an article originally published at The Council of European Canadians)
To most Westerners today, the words ‘nation’, ‘nationality’ and ‘law’ seem only to mean the state, citizenship, and legislation enacted by the state. But there are other meanings to these words, which were their primary and even sole meanings in the past. The nation was once the ethnic group, the tribe at large — nationality being one’s ethnicity. Likewise, the law was once the customs of the kin-group; in Europe. So how is it that kinship is ignored by Western states as the criteria for citizenship? And is there a future for the original understanding of these words?
Ricardo Duchesne points out that the rise of Western nation-states, including the US, was not based on civic nationalism, noting their ‘White-only’ immigration policies. He writes,
The nations of Europe were not mere “inventions”…
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