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chauvinism(shō`vənĭzəm), word derived from the name of Nicolas Chauvin, a soldier of the First French Empire. Used first for a passionate admiration of Napoleon, it now expresses exaggerated and aggressive nationalism. As a social phenomenon, chauvinism is essentially modern, becoming marked in the era of acute national rivalries and imperialism beginning in the 19th cent. It has been encouraged by mass communication, originally by the cheap newspaper. Chauvinism exalts consciousness of nationality, spreads hatred of minorities and other nations, and is associated with militarism, imperialism, and racism. In the 1960s, the term "male chauvinist" appeared in the women's liberation movement; it is applied to males who refuse to regard females as equals.
an extreme form of nationalism, involving the advocacy of national exclusivity. Chauvinists place the interests of their own nation above the interests of all others, promote national arrogance, and exacerbate national hatreds and animosities.
The term “chauvinism” first appeared in France. It derives from the name of an aggressive and bellicose recruit in the comedy The Tricolor Cockade (1831), by the brothers J.-H. and C.-T. Cogniard. The recruit, Nicolas Chauvin, was apparently based on a real Nicolas Chauvin, a veteran of the Napoleonic Wars who was known for his worship of Napoleon and his belief that the emperor had made France great.
The word “chauvinism” was eventually applied to many types of exaggerated nationalism. “Jingoism” came into use in Great Britain in the 1870’s as a synonym. Terms such as “social chauvinism” and “great power chauvinism” have been devised to identify particular types of chauvinism.
Chauvinism flourishes in imperialist countries. Its most extreme manifestation is the antihuman ideology and policies of fascist states. The struggle against chauvinist ideologies and their proponents has always been one of the most important tasks confronting Marxist-Leninist parties.
REFERENCESLenin, V. I. “Rabochii klass i natsional’nyi vopros.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 23.
Lenin, V. I. “Kriticheskie zametki po natsional’nomu voprosu.” Ibid., vol. 24.
Lenin, V. I. “O bor’be s sotsial-shovinizmom.” Ibid. , vol.
26. Lenin, V. I. “Prikrytie sotsial-shovinistskoi politiki internatsionalisticheskimi frazami.” Ibid., vol. 27.
Marksizm-Leninizm o proletarskom internatsionalizme. Moscow, 1969.
Leninizm i natsional’nyi vopros v sovremennykh usloviiakh, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1974.