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This article is pretty far from the neutral point of view right now. Use of the word "fatherland" (or rather, its cognates in languages like German and Russian--though Russia also has "motherland") certainly does not by itself imply that anyone using it is an ethnic nationalist or even slightly supports ethnic nationalist views. The claim that it does imply that is, frankly, silly.

I'm not sure how to fix the article, because I'm not sure why we need an article about this term. --LMS

So delete it. I merely thought it was interesting to note which nationalities see their homelands as masculine or feminine. If that interest is biased, blow this article (and Motherland) away. However, I would appreciate it if you would tell me what non-neutrality I am showing -- am I for or against fatherlands?

Well, maybe there is a good reason to have an article called "fatherland" (and "motherland"? Didn't see that one); I'm waiting to hear one, and that's why I didn't just delete it.

What struck me as biased is the simple declaration, without further ado, that use of the word "fatherland" necessarily reflects an ethnic nationalist view. Why think so? It's not obvious to me. The fact that nationalists have used cognates of the term does not mean that only nationalists use the term or that its use indicates deeply-felt nationalism. Perhaps it often does; but surely, sometimes it doesn't.

And then, if you're not going to declare that, or if you're going to say that sometimes the use of the term reflects nationalism, that just by itself seems like pretty slender material on which to construct an encyclopedia article.

But! Surely there is a lot that can be said about the very notion of a fatherland and a motherland, and surely there has been a great deal of research into that by political scientists, historians, and/or linguists. Maybe you could do some research into that and report the results? --LMS

I'm pretty sure this is not right -- after all, what about the Latin patria, patriae? Maybe it's just that throughout human history humans have referred to their ancestors, hence lands of their ancestors? The fact that these terms were coopted in new ways by ethnic nationalists is hardly a reason to start a page. JHK

As a Russian, I will have to note that there is a small problem with translation here. Russian does have a term Otchizna, which can be translated as "father-place." However, the more often used term is Rodina, which means "birth-place". Both of these words are of the female "gender" (nouns have a gender in Russian - male, female or neutral.) There is no word that literally means "motherland," although such terms as "Mother Earth" are sometimes used.

"Fatherland" is a nationalist concept? I still don't see it.

Here's the article that Cunctator restored (and which I moved here):

A fatherland is a nationalist concept that sees the nation to which one belongs as a paternal figure.

Groups that refer to their homeland as a "father" or associate it primarily with paternal concepts include

  • Romans, as patria, the rootword for patriotism
  • the Basque, particularly the Basque Fatherland and Liberty (Euzkadi Ta Askatasuna , ETA) organization
  • the Germans, as das Vaterland
    (Note, however, that "das" is grammatically neuter; das Vaterland is "the land of my father," not "the land that is my father." Die Heimat (the homeland) is grammatically feminine, as is "die Muttererde" (Mother Earth).

"Fatherland" is a nationalist concept?

The term "fatherland" is used, like "homeland" and "motherland" to refer to nations. It is thus a nationalist concept.

How is it not a nationalist concept? --TheCunctator Cunc -- chill out and think about the fact that the concept existed before the rise of the kind of nationalism you're talking about. It was a fairly neutral term until the 19th century or so, which is why the article just didn't work as written. --JHK

Sorry, I´m to lazy to read throug Nationalism rigth now. But "nationalist" usually has a negative touch, whereas "fatherland" sometimes only refers to your origin or alike. --Vulture

The fact that "fatherland" is used to refer to nations surely does not imply that it is a "nationalist" concept. One might just as well infer that, since "Satan" is used to refer to Satan, it is therefore a Satanic concept; or, by the same token, that "God" is a divine concept, that "slug" is a slimy concept, or that "butterfly" is a pretty concept.

My response was not meant to imply that I was heated in any way. The italicization of "not" (which I did worry about, by the way) was meant to merely imply that it wasn't clear to me what the arguments against that claim were.

When you say "fairly neutral", what do you mean?

Was "fatherland" actually used before the 19th century? (I don't have an OED account, so I can't just check. If someone can check "fatherland", "homeland", and "motherland", that would be great.)

We should also check the word "nation".

The nationalism entry currently refers to the concept developed in the 19th century--that doesn't mean that nationalism didn't exist before them, in some sense.

Any use of the terms "fatherland", "motherland", "homeland", etc. are now inflected, whether deliberately or not, by the theories of nationalism laid out over the last 150 years.

I'd think it would be uncontrovertial to say that "fatherland" is "nationalist"--after all, both refer to geo-socio-political entities, using words associated with heredity--"father" and "natus" (birth). (But I understand your point.)

I'm thinking that the "nationalism" entry would benefit from a discussion of precursors to the formalized nationalism of the 19th century.

The [[nationalism], ethnic nationalism, romantic nationalism entries attempt to carefully explain why "nationalist" has negative implications. Just because the term has negative implications in vernacular use should not preclude its use.

For many people, "fatherland", "motherland", and "homeland" have negative implications. They are certainly not neutral terms--any terms that refer to social constructs cannot be. --TheCunctator

According to my dictionary, the german "Vaterland" is used since the 12th century with the meaning "native country". An adjective "vaterländisch" is used since the 18th century, meaning something like patriotic or nationalistic. By the way, german "Mutterland" (motherland) refers to a mother country in contrast to it´s colonies. --Vulture

This article probably should have been left deleted: it continues to be, as far as I can tell, original research on the part of some complete nonexperts from Wikipedia. I would, by the way, enjoy being proven wrong: find some scholarly source for any information about the notion of a fatherland (or a motherland). --LMS

Larry, it's certainly a difficult concept and one which is going to be difficult to deal with adequately from a coherent NPOV. I don't however think we should shy away from the task. It is precisely this difficulty which should make it (ultimately) a valuable addition to Wikipedia. sjc

Your point is very well taken. But, sjc, I'm not saying that we should shy away from the task. Re-read what I wrote: no one has responded to that point yet! It seems to me that we are, collectively, attempting to formulate a theory and do some research on the meaning of the concept, and on the linguistics of cognates of the word "fatherland." Wikipedia is not set up to do such research. Now, I have no doubt that dissertations have been written about the linguistics of "Vaterland," and socio-linguists, or whomever, have really studied this sort of thing in depth. But I don't see that this article has benefitted in the slightest from such research. --LMS

Equally your points are taken,Larry. And I do see that this is into the realms of the (largely) unfathomed. But this is for me what makes Wikipedia such an interesting project, that often large and unshapely miasmas of information and misinformation can coalesce into something strange and beautiful. With work we will get there! sjc

no one has responded to that point yet!

Which point? Is it

"Fatherland" is a nationalist concept? I still don't see it.

That's not a point, that's an assertion. It seems to be based on the conception that "nationalist" means "anyone using it is an [ethnic] nationalist or even slightly supports [ethnic] nationalist views", where "ethnic nationalist" and "nationalist" are derogatory terms. Am I correct?

That conception is a misconstrual. "Nationalist", in this context, means "of nationalism", where "nationalism" is "the political ideology in which the state derives political legitimacy in some way from its population."

In the same way, "hard drive" is a computing term and "transcription" is a linguistic or genetics term.

Is it disputable that "nation" is a nationalist concept?

It is certainly the case that "fatherland" is in line with that ideology. "Fatherland" only has meaning in the sense that a country can be defined by its ethnic population (the forefathers). There's a reason that the United States is never refered to as the fatherland. Note that the United States may be refered to as the homeland, which denotes a difference in the forms of nationalism in the United States and Germany.