Nationalism is a political ideology which holds that: 1) a nation exists with identifiable members and unique collective characteristics; 2) the nation is the chief source of political authority; and 3) the individual's highest loyalty must be to the nation's core interests or mission. The term "nation" refers to a concept or category that connotes kinship based on any number of criteria, including race, ethnicity, language, religion, territory, or citizenship. As an ideology, nationalism has become the hallmark of modern states–i.e., states where political authority has been reconstituted in the name of the people or nation, and has ceased to be an endowment of God or noble birthright. In the last 150 years, in particular, nationalism has served as a powerful legitimizing and mobilizing tool for political actors seeking to exercise, maintain, or seize political power.
Contrary to common assertions, nationalism is not a uniformly malevolent ideology. In fact, its power to create and consolidate a collective identity and to posit common goals is one that can be harnessed toward propitious ends. Nationalism can help create an emotional foundation for political community and can inspire impulses toward economic development, collective welfare, and political stability. […]