From the Berlin wall to the West Bank barrier
how material objects and psychological theories can be used to construct individual and cultural traits
The rise of nation-states in the nineteenth century was based on the assumption that diverse populations aspired to be part of ethnically and culturally homogenous groups; however, instead of national identities preceding state formation, states mostly preceded shared cultural identities. Indeed, the historian Eric Hobsbawm points out that the French state paved the way to the formation of the French people: consequently, only after a state and its borders become established does its population become more homogenous and culturally uniform. At the same time, cultural divergences at the borders increase and notions that surrounding nations are different, including members of the same nation living on the "wrong side" of state lines, become increasingly prevalent.2 The rise of nation-states thus not only consolidated national identities, but their borders also became powerful dividers between supposedly different cultures.
Leuenberger, C. (2011)., From the Berlin wall to the West Bank barrier: how material objects and psychological theories can be used to construct individual and cultural traits, in K. Gerstenberger & J. Evans Braziel (eds.), After the Berlin wall, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 59-83.
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