Where Do I Come From: Your Personal Thoughts on National Identity
Where do I come from? That is a question to which I have been aching to know the answer. Physically, I am from Macedonia. However, I am not sure where I am from mentally.
Whenever I am abroad for longer periods of time I seem to miss my nation, culture and language. Nevertheless, when I come back home, I am not as happy as I had thought I would be. I seem to be stuck in limbo: on the one hand, I am becoming more and more estranged from my own nation, and on the other hand I cannot familiarize myself with any other nation.
Rupert Emerson (1960) defined national identity as “a body of people who feel that they are a nation” (p. 102). Nonetheless, my feeling of belonging to a nation fluctuates. I love my nation with all its perks and flaws, but oftentimes I find it hard to integrate in social groups because of my likes and dislikes. I deviate from the established national norm, which dictates what the representatives of the nation should like and dislike.
This deviation goes deeper down in the cultural aspect of my national identity. My refusal to follow certain cultural national customs has rendered me a stranger to my own culture. However, one thing always keeps me close to my nation and culture – my national language. According to Spolsky (1998) “one of the most common ways of identifying a person is by his or her language” (p.57).
So, even if I cannot integrate in every national social group, I will always have my language, which will always be a reminder of where I come from.
Emerson, R. (1960). From empire to nation: The rise to self-assertion of Asian and African peoples. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Spolsky, B. (1998). Sociolinguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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