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in political theory, the quality of belonging to a nation, in the sense of a group united by various strong ties. Among the usual ties are membership in the same general community, common customs, culture, tradition, history, and language. While no one of these factors is essential, some must be present for cohesion to be strong enough to justify the term nationality. Used in this sense, nationality does not necessarily denote membership within a specific political state. There are many examples of nations divided between several states and of states composed of several nations and parts of nations. Thus not all Albanians live in Albania, and, on the other hand, Switzerland has citizens whose native languages are German, French, Italian, and Romansh. In political theory the belief that a state should be identical with a nation is called the "principle of nationalities," or, more commonly, "self-determination." This view is a typical expression of nationalismnationalism,
political or social philosophy in which the welfare of the nation-state as an entity is considered paramount. Nationalism is basically a collective state of mind or consciousness in which people believe their primary duty and loyalty is to the nation-state.
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; it was advanced partly as a means of solving the problem of the national minorityminority,
in international law, population group with a characteristic culture and sense of identity occupying a subordinate political status. Religious minorities were known from ancient times, but ethnic minorities did not become an issue in European politics until the rise of
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 after World War I. Nationality in its specific legal sense is a very different concept; it is attachment to a state by a tie of allegiance. Nationals in this sense are fundamentally distinguished from aliens (see alienalien,
in law, any person residing in one political community while owing allegiance to another. A procedure known as naturalization permits aliens to become citizens.

Each nation establishes conditions upon which aliens will be admitted, and makes laws concerning them.
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) and in most, but not all, countries are identical with citizenscitizen,
member of a state, native or naturalized, who owes allegiance to the government of the state and is entitled to certain rights. Citizens may be said to enjoy the most privileged form of nationality; they are at the furthest extreme from nonnational residents of a state
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. Nationality gives the state the right to impose certain duties, especially military service. Some states will punish their nationals for crimes wherever committed; the United States, however, punishes only those crimes, except treason, that are committed within American territorial jurisdiction. States may tax the income and other assets of their nationals regardless of whether they reside abroad. The national owes duties to his government but is also entitled to diplomatic protection when in a foreign country. Such protection includes the assistance of consular officials when the national is accused of crime and the offering of refuge in emergencies. In many instances certain persons, particularly those who have undergone naturalizationnaturalization,
official act by which a person is made a national of a country other than his or her native one. In some countries naturalized persons do not necessarily become citizens but may merely acquire a new nationality.
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, will be regarded as nationals by two states at once. Such problems of dual nationality have been a frequent cause of international diplomatic disputes.


See P. Weis, Nationality and Statelessness in International Law (1956); B. Akzin, States and Nations (1966); C. Joseph, Nationality and Diplomatic Protection (1969).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(narodnost’), a historically formed linguistic, territorial, economic, and cultural community of people that precedes the formation of a nation.

A nationality emerges as tribal alliances are consolidated, and is expressed in the gradual blending of tribes and the substitution of territorial bonds for ties of kinship. The earliest nationalities were formed during the slaveholding period; among these were the ancient Egyptians and Hellenes. In Europe the formation of nationalities was basically completed in the feudal period; examples include the old (Kievan) Russians, Poles, and French. In other parts of the world, this process continued into still later historical periods.

Nationalities were ordinarily formed from several tribes of close common origin and language, as the Poles developed from such Slavic tribes as the Polanians, Vistulans, and Mazovians. Tribes with different languages that became intermingled as the result of conquest could also give rise to a single nationality, as the French developed from Gallic tribes, Roman colonists, and German tribes that included the Franks, Visigoths, and Burgundians. As ties among the ethnically separate elements of an emerging nationality grow stronger, the language of one of them, often the most numerous or best developed one, becomes the common language of the nationality. The remaining tribal languages are reduced to dialects and sometimes disappear entirely. A territorial, cultural, and economic community is formed under a common name. The establishment of a state may aid the consolidation of a nationality, but in the process of historical development, nationality need not coincide with the state either territorially or linguistically.

As capitalist relations develop and as economic and cultural ties are strengthened, the nationality is transformed into a nation. Nationalities that were divided by state boundaries may provide the basis of several national formations, as has been the case with the Portuguese and Galicians and with the Germans and Luxembourgers. The old Russian nationality became the common root of the Russian, Ukrainian, and Byelorussian nationalities, each of which subsequently became a nation. No less frequently, several nationalities have come to constitute a single nation. In the USSR, nationalities such as the Turkmen and Kirghiz have become nations while bypassing the capitalist stage of development. Many nationalities, particularly smaller ones, fall behind in their development for a number of reasons and do not emerge as nations. With time, they form close bonds with more developed nationalities and nations whose culture and language they assimilate, and gradually they merge with them.

The collapse of the colonial system of imperialism and the achievement of independence by many countries of Asia and Africa have accelerated the processes of ethnic consolidation and the growth of national self-awareness. New nationalities and nations are being formed from tribal-territorial ethnic groups in these countries.


Engels, F. Proiskhozhdeniesem’i, chastnoi sobstvennosti i gosudarstva. K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch.. 2nd ed., vol. 21.
Lenin, V. I. “Chto takoe ’druz’ia naroda’ i kak oni voiuiut protiv sotsialdemokratov?” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 1.
Alekseev, V. Rod, plemia, narodnost’. natsiia. Moscow, 1962.
Chislennost’ i rasselenie narodov mira. Edited by S. I. Bruk. Moscow,
Kozlov, V. I. Dinamika chislennosti narodov. Moscow, 1969.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
According to another source, the nationalities included those of the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and European countries.
On January 17, the apex court sought a list of judges and senior civil servants holding dual nationalities. The SC's three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, gave 15 days to the Establishment Division and the Supreme Court and high court registrars to submit a list of people holding dual citizenship.
Establishment Division Secretary Maroof Afzal was directed by the Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar to submit a report on civil servants holding dual nationalities from Grade 17 to 22 within a fortnight.
The court also asked the chief secretary to submit names of all officers of grade 17 and above who have dual nationalities. The CJP added that parliamentarians who were holding dual nationality have already been disqualified.
Islamabad -- The Supreme Court Wednesday again sought official certificate of surrendering the nationality of the England from Rehman Malik, while directed Secretaries of the Parliament and all the Provincial Assemblies to submit report regarding Parliamentarians having dual nationalities.
In his query, Imran asked the Minister In-charge of the Establishment Division to state the names of individuals who sought foreign nationalities over the said period.
ISLAMABAD, January 26, 2010 (Frontier Star ): Members National Assembly on Tuesday demanded of the Federal Government to do legislation to dismiss those Pakistani citizens having dual nationalities from their jobs on immediate basis while on the other hand the legislators of Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) staged a token walkout from the lower house against increasing incident of kidnapping for ransom in Sindh.
The NCLW's proposal does not make any exceptions for specific nationalities, but does propose a two-tiered system based on the age of the children.
To prevent this, they have to limit granting RoC nationalities to children of mixed RoC/TR marriages," researcher Hopman said.
The court's decision came after the Foreign Office submitted a report to the court stating that both Sarwar and Nuzhat Sadiq had permanently renounced their foreign nationalities.
Earlier this year, the apex court had taken a suo motu notice of the issue of civil servants holding dual nationalities.
It was worth mentioned here that the apex court had given judgment directed the federal and provincial governments to set deadline for those civil servants having foreign nationalities.