Nationalisms and ‘national interests’ get in the way of solving pressing global problems—e.g., global warming, mass ecological extinction, extreme poverty, and proliferation of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. Searching for a renewed narrative that could allow us to escape this gridlock, I argue here that our current inability of acting is, to a large extent, caused by the obsolescence of how we conceive, experience, and ultimately enact our cultures of national affiliation.
Scholars of nationalism have explained the origins of nations and how the affiliation to these abstract entities drive people to live and die, to kill and sacrifice themselves. Cultural anthropologists studying cultures within nations found very limited empirical support to the notion of national cultures. Together, these reinforce the perspective of nationalisms being socially constructed narratives that often become discourses of difference that foster violence, oppression, and destruction.
Moreover, I argue that our increasing impacting to nature at a planetary level makes views of culture defined in the narrow spatial terms of nations urgently inadequate. And I propose that our contemporary, more global way of live should allow a new cultural narrative that is defined in terms of belonging to the same time, not to the same place.
In summation, I posit that co-temporality, instead of co-territoriality, provides better means to circumvent the discourses of difference that unavoidably reinforce imaginations of otherness. I believe that more positive and peaceful collaboration is to be built upon the cultural narrative that the experience of living in the same era makes us similar.
This media entry was a contribution to the special session „From a cultural narrative of co-territoriality to one of co-temporality“ at the 5th International Degrowth Conference in Budapest in 2016.