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Two ideologies in the period of globalization: cultural imperialism and cultural nationalism

Make a tree good and its fruit will be good,
or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad,
for a tree is recognized by its fruit.

(Matthew 12:33)

The interpretation of complex phenomena of modern hermeneutic empirical reality is not an easy task, it is complicated, without taken into consideration other moments, by the absence of time border which prevents from natural to scientific or philosophical thinking abstraction from the object of investigation. However, there several ways out here too. One of them is the usage of surrounding life world of epistemological criteria which have been tested by time and proved their own non-controversy as well as efficiency in the assessment of phenomena and patterns.

For instance, one of the national, existential and verified principles of Christology Hermeneutics which has a universal epistemological importance belongs to such criteria. It can be observed in Jesus Christ’s admonishment against the following Pharisees of Pseudochristology, “false prophets”, concealed “wolves”: “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bush, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” 1 (Matthew 7:20-15). Thus, according to the methodology of Jesus Christ, one should behold neither man’s words nor his doings but the results of those doings – “fruit” 2 .

If one considers the topical processes of globalization taking into account this methodology, one may see that if he was not convinced by different apologists of these large “natural” and “inevitable” phenomena in their importance (dissemination of information, common authorization, economical benefits, world establishment of “human rights” and “democracy” etc.), they still cannot be positively assessed as the results of globalization processes –“fruit” are for all that “bad”. This “bad” can be related to the notion of denationalization as a direct and obvious result of globalization: “overcoming of nations and nationalism” 3 and “leveling of all cultural differences” in the name of strategic, economical interest of plutocratic transnational corporations (TNC) 4 – the creation of imperial “world market” 5 under the unofficial control of the leading world superstates (like the USA). Certainly, we will observe the presented malignity of the ideology and globalization practice unless we neglect the values of the main structures of the national entity: national existence, national ideology, national identity, cultural valuables and national country.

The said above helps to observe the theory of globalism as a “tree” that bears “bad fruit” and, thus allows to identify the originators of globalism who by means of different intellectual and communicative channels and Media “come to you in sheep’s clothing” of postmodernistic and colonialistic rhetoric. The investigators 6 some time ago observed that the “main component” of the imperial doctrine of globalism is only nationalism 7 . Thus, it would be relevant at least in common features to explicit our understanding for the ideological antinomy imperialism/nationalism on the interrelated (repeatedly actualized in different works) hermeneutical levels – methodology, theory of literature, culture and nationology. Our brief methodological representation without providing a complete specification of the conclusions is aimed at helping the following investigators in the essential aspects to interpret the methodological level of theory of globalization (imperial “tree”), to emphasize on the “neglectful” (M. Heidegger) essence of globalization processes (“fruit” – the consequences of colonization), to lead to the characteristic of the originators of globalism (modern “false prophets”) and oppose a theory and practice of nationalism (as a “good tree” compared to “bad fruit”) to them all.

The methodological level of interpretation allows us to consider imperialism and nationalist as two quiet opposite systems of ideas – ideology (in the broad sense of this notion) – antagonistic types of social consciousness (with numerous empirically conditioned transitional varieties) that form their corresponding two main types of human thinking, that is, they structure corresponding dialectical forms of human activity in different fields such as in politics, religion, art, economy, science etc. – every national culture.

Imperialism (also colonialism) arises as a heteronomy social consciousness and a social ideology of colonialist type. It is an intelligible strategy and its corresponding colonization practice – “totality of measures by means of which a colonizer takes over the power and establishes it over the colonized one, forcing it to act according to the resolution and to the interests of the colonizator” 8 . In Martin Heidegger’s point of view, a German hermeneutist, it is the very type of thinking which leads to the “existence negligence” – “negligence of human existence”, “transformation of everything – world, human, the Earth into a desert” 9 . The rehashed statement of an Australian theorist of the literary post-colonialism Simon During is that imperialism is a form of non-freedom (slavery), to be more concrete – it is a form of national slavery. The generalized thought of French semiotic (later poststructuralism) Roland Barthes towards liberalism points out that this political and mythological ideology “wants to lead down the category “to be” to the category “to have” and to make a thing aout of any object” 10 .

Oxidental, above all, historical experience of the 19th and 20th centuries allows to present three main modifications of the imperial experience in the New time: demo-liberal (liberalism, neo-liberalism), social and democratic (communism, socialism) and pseudotraditionalistic (national and social; national and national bolshevism) 11 . The typical feature of all three colonialist doctrines is a motivation for the world or at least, local dominance by means of the destruction of national countries of other nations and by means of creation of global supernational constructs, for instance, the world “proletarian” country for Russian Bolsheviks, “new order” in Europe for German national socialists as well as mondialist “global civilization” for modern neo-liberals.

Imperialism in the field of culture is called cultural (or culturological) imperialism 12 . It represents a methodological admonishment and its practical realization in the field of culture (as a system of national and moral valuables) which leads to the fraud of the reality according to the interests of the colonialist ideologies . In fact, imperialism produces in the terms of culture metronymic (foreign to the national existence or spirit) secondary semiotic systems – political myths 13 ,- which deform the reality by means of different in form but common in their chauvinistic and universalistic as well as denational essence of methods. For instance, racial method in national socialism, “proletarian” internationalization in Marxism (communism) or cosmopolitisation in classical liberalism or postmodernism (neoliberalism).

A relevant example of the liberal and cultural imperialism is provided by E. Said who cites the utterance of lord Cromer, the “ruler” of Egypt since 1882 – 1907. Cromer advises to cultivate cosmopolitism among the colonized by the English nations (Indians, Egyptians, Zulus etc.): “…though we will never manage to evoke in these people a sense of patriotism, related with the one which is based on the racial kinship or common language, we will manage , perhaps, to form a peculiar cosmopolitan devotion (our highlighted words.- P.I.), as well as based on a sense of respect which naturally emerges in the relationship towards people, endowed with supreme talents and prone to the disinterested behaviour and to the sense of gratitude for the done good, and to a sense of expectation.” 14 .

The bright examples of the cosmopolitisation method (except such poststructural methods as neofeminism, destructivism, pseudocomparativism, freudism etc.) in the field of modern Ukrainian Theory of Literature and journalism are vulgar “neomythologism” represented in the works of H. Hrabovych, O. Zabuzhko and their associates 15 , who fraud and in fact, culturally destruct Taras Shevchenko’s creative heritage and his personality or Pseudochristology which is represented in the terms of M. Marynovych’s controversial discourse and is less reflected in the works of Ye. Sverstyuk 16 , when in the interests of liberal doctrine a Christian tradition which is axial for Ukrainian religious culture is being formed.

If one considers cultural imperialism on the level of communication strategy between different nations, one may see that it is reflected here as a universalistic doctrine the essence of which lies in the suggestion of own cultural (or those that are regarded to be cultural) acquisitions such as a language, religion, political ideologies, philosophical views, artistic methods, fiction (or non-fiction) etc. to other nations.

The most effective respond to imperialism in all times and for different nations was, is and we hope will remain nationalism (Herder’s notion). Herewith, perhaps, it would be necessary to restrain from those falsified and labeled myths (they seemed to be xenophobic, outdated, primitive, bourgeois, zoological etc.), which were again and again imposed to nationalism, using the very practices of cultural imperialism, above all, various colonialist (and not only they) theories. It has studied well by Simon During: “I do not support the position which is taken over by the majority of humanists, modernists, Marxists, that is, nationalism is natural, “threatening ideological formation” 17 .

In fact, it is relevant to consider nationalism in its broadest sense, as a national consciousness and immanent ideology as its “roots, origin, genesis… - in the historical experience of the nation, but not in the sociological theories” 18 (V. Ivanyshyn). Namely on the level of common consciousness nationalism is defined as “consciousness of independence towards the nation with feelings and desires which are aimed at its security and prosperity” 19 , and this is pointed out by English sociologist and natiologist Anthony Smith but on the level of common ideology and politics – as an “ideological movement for gaining and establishing the independence, unity and identity of the nation” 21 . Generally, it is the level on which Ukrainian nationalism is considered by scholars as a “ideology, main element of which is the acknowledgement of cogency, simplicity of rights for existence and legitimacy of nations in general and Ukrainian nation in particular”21 (H. Kasyanov). It is a “form of freedom” (S. During) in particular or to be more concrete, it is a form of national freedom .

It seems that the very idea of nationalism is well reflected in T. Shevchenko’s letter of October, 1st in 1844 to P. I. Hesse, where the priority of the Motherland in the consciousness of every man is directly expressed (“… it seems to me that if my Motherland be the poorest, more miserable on the Earth, it would seem to be better than Switzerland and entire Italy”) and a duty for it is established: “… one must love and be proud of his beloved Motherland. I, as a member (Ukraine.- P.I.) of its large family, serve it not fro my own benefit but for its glory” 22 . Herewith another false imperial stereotype is opposed to nationalism as a common (also “sacred”) “egoism” 23 . In fact, it is difficult to call egoism , that is, selfishness as love to own “mother”, in general ontological and existential sense, to its existence as a supporting foundation of national things.

On the cultural level nationalism emerges in the form of cultural nationalism (or as nationalism in the culture). Herewith, nationalism is considered as a “ nation’s cultural doctrine and will” 24 . Hence, E. Smith’s conclusion seems to be regular as it represents nationalism as “not a style or political doctrine, but as a cultural form which has lead to a global effect, a nation is a type of identity whose importance and priority are caused by this form of culture.” “ In this sense,- continues the English scholar,- nation and national identity should be considered as nationalism’s and its followers’ creation; the importance and praise of nation and national identity are also nationalists’ creation” 25 . It is the very dialectics of the organic connection between the national existence, on the one hand, and national/nationalistic idea on the other hand 26 .

About nationalism on the cultural level and not only as a “form of culture” (according to E. Smiths) but as well as a strategy of cultural emancipation and establishment gives a good idea of natiological postcolonialism (S. During, H. Bhabha, A. P. Mukerji, partially E. Said and others) 27 . It may be testified by S. During’s thoughts. The Austrian scholar as well as E. Said proves out that the whole European cultural experience is influenced by imperialism 28 . And this is the reason why everything is pertained to nationalism which “is something quiet opposite than that what imperialism attributes to it” and the establishment of the notion “cultural nationalism” as nationalistic ideology’s powerful impact. In the investigator’s point of view, the dominance is caused by the fact that “the cultures can resist to each other more than nations; the hierarchy of cultures seems to establish the identity whereas the hierarchy of nations seem to belong to the history and politics” 29 . Thus, S. During works out the whole nationalistic doctrine in the field of Austrian culture, above all, the literary culture: “…I am convinced that nowadays the works of such a colony of the first world as Australia must be nationalistic. (…) Here nationalism can be closely related to freedom and enables us to resist the cultural and economical imperialism and not to participate in the technology of nuclear war which by means of modern systems of communication determines the contemporary internationalism” 30 .

Herewith it would be relevant to consider the critics of postmodernistic postcolonialism as a regular nationalistic one, which is represented by Arun P. Mukerji. The Indian scholar emphasizes on the fact that the postcolonial national cultures are not primarily based on critics of “imperial centre”, it is not their main distinguished feature. A. Mukerji understands the task of the national culture as a quiet national one: not as a permanent fight “against” colonialism but, first of all, as a fight “for” the establishment of its own national identity: “I would like to say that our cultural production is being made according to our needs, and we have many more needs except the needs of permanent “imitation” of the imperialists” 31 . In such a national sense another Indian scholar Homi Bhabha expresses his point of view: “The Earth’s demands, racial survival, cultural renaissance – all requires understanding and answers to the same concepts and structures which are defined in the language situations by the academicians of poststructuralism, and very few of them know about the political struggle of real people behind those discourse borders” 32 .

One of the remarkable natiologists of modernity American scholar Benedict Anderson while analyzing the nations as “imaginative communities” (O. Zabuzhko translated the notion as “imaginative”), emphasizes on the constructive content of nationalism which is clearly reflected in the example of “cultural products” of this ideology: “In the epoch when the progressive intellectual cosmopolitans (especially in Europe) point out the pathological character of nationalism, on that it is filled with fear and hatred to the other and in its connection with racism it would be relevant to remind that the nations evoke love, often deeply sacrificed love. The cultural products of nationalism is poetry, literary prose, music, art, - this love is clearly reflected in thousands of forms and styles. On the contrary, the very examples of nationalistic production is so rare and they expressed fear and hatred. Even if we take the colonized nations into consideration, those which had all the reasons to hate their imperial rulers; it is unbelievable how an inconsiderable element of hatred finds its realization in the national feelings.” 33

The leading Ukrainian thinkers and scholars of nowadays by no chance are anxious as much as their predecessors about the “eternal” for the colonized nation cultural and national oriented questions. Well, for instance, the academician Mykola Zhulynskiy pondering over the problems of “national country” and gaining for “national identity”, he claimed in 1907 that “the national factor or in a broader sense- nationalism nowadays plays a significant role for the formation of moral and ideological system of valuable orientations” 34 . The alike national and existential position (in any event close to the nationalism establishment in the culture) is observed in the works of other modern scholars: S. Andrusiv, O. Bahan, O. Vertiy, S. Hrechanyuk, I. Denysyuk, V. Donchyk, S. Kvit, H. Klochek, L. Moroz, M. Nayenko, T. Salyha, L. Senyk, H. Syvokon and others.

Thus, we can conclude that the cultural nationalism (or nationalism in the culture) is a constructive ideological position of the creators of national culture which motivates to cultivate and to establish the national identity based on the national idea, gives reasons for its true interpretation and literary expression and only though this resists the imperialism. It would be relevant to say about its narrower phenomenon – literary nationalism (or nationalism in literature) if we take into account not only modern nationally oriented postcolonialists and antiglobalists but also the thoughts of J. J. Rousseau, I. Herder, J. Fichte, F. Schleiermacher, T. Shevchenko, J. Grimm, I. Franko, Lesya Ukrayinka, W. Dilthey, M. de Umanumo, D. Dontsov, Yu. Lypa, F. Kafka, Ch. Maurras, V. Zhabotynskiy, M. Heidegger, Ye. Malanyuk, S. Weyl and others who one way or another addressed this issue.

For instance, in such a way early Yuriy Shevelyov-Shereh understood “nationalism” “in literatures”: these “all ideological trends, movements and slants which define a man as a determined in his deeds, admonishments, preferences, in all their spirituality take it for a positive factor.” 35

The main method of cultural nationalism is finely defined as a nationalization which is similar to the organic national and existential man’s “absorption” (M. Heidegger) or “obnubilation” (S.Weyl) as a motivation to look for the answers to the fundamental issues in the terms of national tradition – its own but not a “foreign” one historical and cultural “field” (T. Shevchenko). For instance, it is about those always topical Shevchenko’s hermeneutic questions in the terms of the Ukrainian “realizing thinking” (M. Heidegger): “who are we?”, “whose sons are we?”, “who are our parents?”, “who neglected us and for what?” or “whom am I writing for?”, “what am I writing for?”, “what do I love the Motherland for?” etc.

Cultural nationalism emerges as the most effective strategy and practice for the formation of national and moral (cultural) immune system (through the absorption into your own existence) namely, a spiritual protection or liberation from the cultural imperialism. Thus, in terms of a cultural dialogue one must use it as a methodology of moral dominance this or that nation. The moral dominance unlike cultural imperialism does not have a suggestive effect but a suggestion of its own cultural properties to other nations . It seems to be the only possible methodology of cultural dialogue – not aggressive, immanent form of association between nations and not only during the period of globalization. And here a cultural politics of the national country should have played an important role, which Ukrainians still have not established, what a pity, they do not have it. Thus, our nation at present is an object of foreign cultural imperialists (for instance, Americam or Russian) but it is mostly never a subject of its own moral dominance – expansion of its incredible spiritual “Ego” in the world.

The choice set before Ukrainian intellectual as a spiritual leader of the nation during the period of globalization, thus, the same as he used to be or will always be. One may form his own national (nationalistic) ideology (“grow a good tree”) that will help to establish and protect our own nation in the time and space (bring “good fruit”) but one may accept foreign colonialist ideas and form his antinational, imperial ideology (“to plant a bad tree”). It would not be surprising, perhaps, if the results of the creative work predetermined by such an ideology will be global “bad fruit” – nihilistic, universalistic and harmful for the man and the nation. “For a tree is recognized by its fruit” (Matthew 12:33).

Petro IVANYSHYN


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(1883 – 1973)













Науково-ідеологічний центр імені Дмитра Донцова
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