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Old 15.11.2012, 11:58
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Re: Do we emphasize nationality more nowadays?

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I was shocked again during the presidential election campaign in the USA about that brand of nationalism which always reminds me of "old" Europe
American nationalism and European nationalism(s) are poles apart, one being about an idea, the other(s) being predominantly about ethnic identity.

Switzerland, bizarrely, manages to combine the two. I'm still trying to get my head round that...
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Old 15.11.2012, 12:07
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Re: Do we emphasize nationality more nowadays?

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American nationalism and European nationalism(s) are poles apart, one being about an idea, the other(s) being predominantly about ethnic identity.

Switzerland, bizarrely, manages to combine the two. I'm still trying to get my head round that...

Do not forget that in Switzerland you first of all, legally AND philosophically, are a citizen of the Canton(s) and then of your home town(s) and only in the end a citizen of the Confederation. Even in military service, you first of all have to report to the military command of your Canton, and your unit is either an Aargauer unit, or a Bernese unit, or a Graubünden unit, which means subordinate to the military command of that Canton. This in spite of the whole bunch being under Federal command.
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Old 15.11.2012, 12:12
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Re: Do we emphasize nationality more nowadays?

The reason nationality may seem more emphasized nowadays is because there's a much higher prevalence of people from various corners of the world mingling in one space, especially in Switzerland. When meeting a stranger, the number one thing I feel that would tell you the most about that person would be his/her nationality. Along with that might come a bunch of unfair biases or judgements, but it is what it is.

I've got a "Gangnam Style" Korean mother, which is why I look Asian. I find it annoying that Swiss or non-American people always think I'm from somewhere in Asia and I have to actually iterate that I'm American, whereas in the States people know I'm not fully Asian. Random people usually ask me what else I am. What's more is that I've been asked on more than one occassion, is your mom South or North Korean? I've never met a North Korean in my life, maybe because uhh..if you're North Korean you're not allowed to just leave the country, because if you did it'd be a capital crime punishable by death, so no what kind of stupid question is that? In the States, your heritage gives you a sense of cultural identity but it does not define you. We are all Americans above all else. In Switzerland, I don't know whether people see me as a true American or some sort of warped version of it. Most people here don't realize the diversity that exists within the US and how much the face of America has changed in just the past 5-10 years. They still see America as it is portrayed in TV and movies. According to the NY Times this year, "Hispanics, blacks, Asians and those of mixed race — reached 50.4 percent, representing a majority [of births in the 12-month period that ended last July] for the first time in the country’s history."

And I will punch anyone who asks me " where are you reaally from" because if you're born and raised in one place then you cannot beee from somewhere else. Just try me.
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Old 15.11.2012, 12:18
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Re: Do we emphasize nationality more nowadays?

And if you are from a small country, many people dont know where it's located and the whole conversation turns to be a history/geography lesson. I'd rather talk about arts, politics, music all this time, there is no value for me in explaining again and again where the blooody country is located and that our language has nothing to do with neighbour country languages. Somehow whenever I try to change the subject it never works. Blame on me?
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Old 15.11.2012, 12:19
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Re: Do we emphasize nationality more nowadays?

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Do not forget that in Switzerland you first of all, legally AND philosophically, are a citizen of the Canton(s) and then of your home town(s)
Which may be places you've never been in your life, and don't even speak the language of!

(which is the case with my wife, who is a citizen of two towns in two German-speaking cantons)

Tom
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Old 15.11.2012, 12:24
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Re: Do we emphasize nationality more nowadays?

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That's because the USA is a nation. Europe is not. Simple.
is it not?

europe has a flag, president, parliament, army, currency, territory. its laws and its courts have supremacy over country laws, it has a seat at the united nations, the EU even pushed for a seat at the UN security council.
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Old 15.11.2012, 12:48
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Re: Do we emphasize nationality more nowadays?

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Not something that disturbs me personally, since I'm always quite interested in different cultures/nationalities, but does anyone else feel that there seems to be a lot of emphasis on it nowadays (or maybe it's just me noticing it more).

At work when people give speeches or presentations, they seem to invoke their cultural background quite often.

Again, I don't think it's a bad thing as such, but I do wonder why we do it so much. I've noticed it happening with myself as well, where sometimes I may be asked a question about myself but I somehow end up bringing my nationality into the answer.

Any thoughts on this?

I think this is just a perception when you are in a foreign country. I always think that Germans (like me) are more German in foreign countries (like here in the UK) than at home. I sometimes think that other nationalities expect you to be like the stereotype of your country and are surprised when you are not.

When you are back home you will realise that nationality is not more emphasised (if not less) than 10 years ago.
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Old 15.11.2012, 13:12
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Re: Do we emphasize nationality more nowadays?

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And if you are from a small country, many people dont know where it's located and the whole conversation turns to be a history/geography lesson. I'd rather talk about arts, politics, music all this time, there is no value for me in explaining again and again where the blooody country is located and that our language has nothing to do with neighbour country languages. Somehow whenever I try to change the subject it never works. Blame on me?
OMG, are you Romanian? I get this kind of questions all the time. It stopped bothering me though and I usually give the really short speech of how we are a latin country, etc.

I think we talk more about our nationality here, as we are foreign. Back home we don't need to, people assume we are from there, and that's it
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Old 15.11.2012, 13:25
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Re: Do we emphasize nationality more nowadays?

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is it not?

europe has a flag, president, parliament, army, currency, territory. its laws and its courts have supremacy over country laws, it has a seat at the united nations, the EU even pushed for a seat at the UN security council.
The difference is that Chicago isn't a country whereas France is.
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Old 15.11.2012, 13:28
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Re: Do we emphasize nationality more nowadays?

I make it quite clear I'm not Canadian.
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Old 15.11.2012, 13:34
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Re: Do we emphasize nationality more nowadays?

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American nationalism and European nationalism(s) are poles apart, one being about an idea, the other(s) being predominantly about ethnic identity.

Switzerland, bizarrely, manages to combine the two. I'm still trying to get my head round that...
I am really not sure whether Swiss nationalism has much of an ethnic component. I grew up with a few classmates in primary school who were adopted (Africa, Asia) but since they grew up in the village it was never a topic among the locals, as far as I know they still live there and are as Swiss as it gets. It was only outsiders who doubted their Swissness. But as soon as they open their mouths and behave/talk typically Swiss the question is off the table.

Perhaps you thought so because a lot of Swiss with foreign backgrounds are not accepted as being fully Swiss, but that is more a cultural question in my opinion. As soon as they talk perfect Swiss-German (many second generation immigrants don't, despite growing up here), act Swiss (no flashy clothes), and are mostly in the company of "real" Swiss they are considered Swiss.

So rather than a national or ethnic question I would say the Swiss have a cultural understanding of being Swiss.
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Old 15.11.2012, 13:35
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Re: Do we emphasize nationality more nowadays?

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OMG, are you Romanian? I get this kind of questions all the time. It stopped bothering me though and I usually give the really short speech of how we are a latin country, etc.

I think we talk more about our nationality here, as we are foreign. Back home we don't need to, people assume we are from there, and that's it
Every time I say I am from Romania , people suddenly lighten up and say what a nice country it is, they say the name of the towns they visited and specific museums/squares/ mountains. Luckily most people know what is the capital name and don't confuse it with Budapest. Some ask me if I speak Russian, I do speak a bit but this is not my country's language or second language....but they still find it weird we don't speak this language in my country and they keep saying about Russia's influence ...
When it comes to finding a jobs it is another story - they don't look past your family name because you are from Eastern Europe and in their opinion you don't worth much ( Oh, another one from EE...they are sooo many here and then start discriminating....I understand Schweizerdeutsch but I don't speak, I've heard many things) or you don't have the working permit (even if you have it , they don't see it because your last family name) eventhough you have a great amount of experience and studies ...here it is all about luck it seems.

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Old 15.11.2012, 13:59
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Re: Do we emphasize nationality more nowadays?

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is it not?

europe has a flag, president, parliament, army, currency, territory. its laws and its courts have supremacy over country laws, it has a seat at the united nations, the EU even pushed for a seat at the UN security council.
Europe has the Council of Europe which includes most countries
Europe has a flag
-
But none of the European organisations has a "president"
There is a kind of parliament of the Council of Europe
There is a pan-European currency, but many important countries like
Britain and Russia still have their separate currencies
- territory ? which one ?
- national laws in most things are those of relevance
- each European country has its seat at the U.N.
- neither the Council of Europe nor the EU nor EFTA have a seat at the UN as they all three are NOT countries
- and neither has a U.N.-ambassador
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Old 15.11.2012, 14:03
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Re: Do we emphasize nationality more nowadays?

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The reason nationality may seem more emphasized nowadays is because there's a much higher prevalence of people from various corners of the world mingling in one space, especially in Switzerland. When meeting a stranger, the number one thing I feel that would tell you the most about that person would be his/her nationality. Along with that might come a bunch of unfair biases or judgements, but it is what it is.

I've got a "Gangnam Style" Korean mother, which is why I look Asian. I find it annoying that Swiss or non-American people always think I'm from somewhere in Asia and I have to actually iterate that I'm American, whereas in the States people know I'm not fully Asian. Random people usually ask me what else I am. What's more is that I've been asked on more than one occassion, is your mom South or North Korean? I've never met a North Korean in my life, maybe because uhh..if you're North Korean you're not allowed to just leave the country, because if you did it'd be a capital crime punishable by death, so no what kind of stupid question is that? In the States, your heritage gives you a sense of cultural identity but it does not define you. We are all Americans above all else. In Switzerland, I don't know whether people see me as a true American or some sort of warped version of it. Most people here don't realize the diversity that exists within the US and how much the face of America has changed in just the past 5-10 years. They still see America as it is portrayed in TV and movies. According to the NY Times this year, "Hispanics, blacks, Asians and those of mixed race — reached 50.4 percent, representing a majority [of births in the 12-month period that ended last July] for the first time in the country’s history."

And I will punch anyone who asks me " where are you reaally from" because if you're born and raised in one place then you cannot beee from somewhere else. Just try me.
You want to say that "Americans" no longer look like THIS

?
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  #35  
Old 15.11.2012, 14:07
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Re: Do we emphasize nationality more nowadays?



'nuff said
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Old 15.11.2012, 15:24
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Re: Do we emphasize nationality more nowadays?

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You want to say that "Americans" no longer look like THIS

?
Halloween like scary. Here's the modern day family portrait.
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  #37  
Old 15.11.2012, 15:39
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Re: Do we emphasize nationality more nowadays?

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I've just wondered if this could contribute to the fact that the States is so racially divided? You know, focus on heritage rather than culture. For most Europeans this going back to the roots is probably a bit strange, when an American guy wanders through some Swiss/African/Irish/Chinese village because that's where he's from (or rather, his grand-grand-father on the mothers side)
I wish that the racial division could be attirbuted in this manner, but unfortunately we brought that entirely on ourselves.



as for wandering foreign villages, it's important to remember that Europe was not a terribly friendly place for much of the 20th Century. my grandfathers left Sweden and Germany, respectively, and all of the tea in China could not have compelled them under pain of death to return even to visit. this had nothing to do, however, with their not being proud of being Swedish or German, but rather to do with what was happening in their home countries and in much of Europe at the time (which any study of history makes pretty clear). each of their families came from areas in Germany and Sweden that were much closer to each other than Minnesota and Michigan in the US, and their families had been there for hundreds of years (much longer than the US has even been a sovereign nation), so it's not like they or their children ceased being Swedish or German just because they jumped off a boat across the Atlantic. so for many Americans, wandering foreign villages is an important reminder as to some of what makes us what we are (since, as much as it hurts to admit, a fair amount of each of us is hard-wired), as well as an important reminder as to why ol' grandpa risked his life crossing the Atlantic to go fend off Injuns.

of course, for most Swiss this is a much simpler equation, finding your roots is usually a 10 minute stroll across to the other side of the village.

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Old 15.11.2012, 17:13
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Re: Do we emphasize nationality more nowadays?

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...wandering foreign villages is an important reminder as to some of what makes us what we are (since, as much as it hurts to admit, a fair amount of each of us is hard-wired), as well as an important reminder as to why ol' grandpa risked his life crossing the Atlantic to go fend off Injuns.
I would have groaned you, but I agree with some of what you said.

However, sorry but I find this (bolded) statement offensive. Your grandpa, whether he was Swedish or German, did not need to cross the Atlantic to fend off "Injuns." They were not coming to invade his village. He could have stayed right where he was and they would not have harmed him a bit.
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Old 15.11.2012, 18:59
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Re: Do we emphasize nationality more nowadays?

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I wish that the racial division could be attirbuted in this manner, but unfortunately we brought that entirely on ourselves.



as for wandering foreign villages, it's important to remember that Europe was not a terribly friendly place for much of the 20th Century. my grandfathers left Sweden and Germany, respectively, and all of the tea in China could not have compelled them under pain of death to return even to visit. this had nothing to do, however, with their not being proud of being Swedish or German, but rather to do with what was happening in their home countries and in much of Europe at the time (which any study of history makes pretty clear). each of their families came from areas in Germany and Sweden that were much closer to each other than Minnesota and Michigan in the US, and their families had been there for hundreds of years (much longer than the US has even been a sovereign nation), so it's not like they or their children ceased being Swedish or German just because they jumped off a boat across the Atlantic. so for many Americans, wandering foreign villages is an important reminder as to some of what makes us what we are (since, as much as it hurts to admit, a fair amount of each of us is hard-wired), as well as an important reminder as to why ol' grandpa risked his life crossing the Atlantic to go fend off Injuns.

of course, for most Swiss this is a much simpler equation, finding your roots is usually a 10 minute stroll across to the other side of the village.

the roots of possibly a majority of Swiss is between 50 and 200 kilometers away from the place of residence. And emigrants from Switzerland were not forced to leave by mad dictators but by economic misery (until the 1860ies and 1870ies and 1880ies) . And even in the first two or three decades of this century, many Swiss left the country in the hope to have a more promising future in countries like USA, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Australia or New Zealand.
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Old 15.11.2012, 20:49
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Re: Do we emphasize nationality more nowadays?

I do notice a nationalistic trend - almost everywhere I've been. Even in the developing world you see a form of nationalism emerging. In the UAE, there's a move to getting more locals in the work force (currently 75% or more expat); India saw the rise of Hindustan-for-Hindus type of party i.e. the BJP in the mid-90's and they did come to federal power eventually although they've lost out since; I needn't mention Greece, Portugal, Spain and obviously Switzerland with the right-wing gaining popularity here over the past 7 years or so. I'm not sure what drives it but it's probably heavily economy related and in some cases (India for instance) culturally (species survival) driven.
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