What is your research essay about?
My research essay is about majority and minority nationalities struggling to define their national identity and values amongst the effects of globalization, such as global media, borderless information exchange, global migration and a world economy. We are seeing more and more nation-states put up an almost automatic resistance to change regarding cultural and national values. I research the idea of cultural maintenance as the creation of particularity or sense of community through cultural production, whether virtual or real, often in opposition to the narrow heterogeneous ideals of the nation-state.
In my research essay, I explore how this important issue of national maintenance historically developed by determining which forces in the rise of nation-states gave way to this conflicting yet unconscious feeling of nationalism. Further I explore the difficult balance and structure of maintaining locality and global values in cultural production, the role of new media in nationalism today, and how locality is produced through global media.
Which findings do you consider most important?
The most important finding in my research was that national consciousness is no longer a basis for stable integration. I found that the nation-state is far too narrow a framework to be able to sustain such increasingly diverse and numerous identities of contemporary countries. However, it is exactly the fragmentation of national cultures that provide the necessary conditions for the production of locality on which ultimately a national identity, although fragmented, survives.
Secondly I found that the production of locality is, as opposed to nation-states and its large-scale projects of national maintenance, a naturally-occurring, flexible, time-based phenomena. Thus, the maintenance of a national culture is unconsciously dependent on the local and global choices of individuals both in their spatial and virtual environments.
What was your personal experience in doing the research and writing the essay? Do you use the research findings?
Because my research topic is so broad and relatively unknown, I was constantly re-defining and narrowing my research question throughout the research phase. I wanted to explore the purpose and existence of modern nationalism, without focusing on one particular nation or a specific example of national maintenance. Thus one of the most challenging aspects of doing the research was to maintain a logical trajectory in accordance with my research question. Although I struggled throughout the research phase, when it came to writing my essay, I found that thorough research and a well-defined research question ultimately gave way to a structured essay.
How do you look back at the year at MaHKU?
It was a challenging and inspiring year with a good balance of individual thesis research and a wide variety of theoretical and class-based projects. I met a lot of interesting people from different professional and cultural backgrounds, some of which I have the opportunity to work with today. Because the MaHKU faculty aims to sharpen both your theoretical and visual skills, the program provides a unique foundation on which to begin your professional career.