July 2, 2013
They may look simple, but each stage requires considerable knowledge and understanding, and all five stages are interrelated and provide a formidable vision of nation-building.
1. Identity: People must think of themselves first and foremost as citizens of the nation; original identification with a tribe, region, or subnational group must cease.
2. Legitimacy: A government becomes legitimate and its rule becomes rightful when its citizens respect it, obey its laws and commands, and keep it in power.
3. Penetration: A government must reach out to all people everywhere on the land and
get them to follow and obey its laws and commands.
4. Participation: People need to participate, or have a say, in the affairs of the state and in
5. Distribution: Who gets what, when, how.
An article by Dr. Gaffar Peang-Meth published by the Asian Human Rights Commission
CAMBODIA: Understanding nation building
I owe this article to a number of Cambodian participants at the May 18 Cambodian Leadership Conference (CLC) in Tacoma, Washington, where I gave a keynote address on Building Leadership for Young Khmers, and two lecture-discussion sessions on political socialization and political culture. After the day-long conference, participants raised the subject of nation-building to discuss with me this topic, which they saw as a natural follow up to the day’s activities.
I was enthused about their interest, but felt somewhat hard-pressed to engage a topic to which, as a professor, I would allot no less than a semester of classes and discussions. I told them a few things about nation-building and state-building, subjects that piqued their interest. When one participant pushed for my return to Tacoma for further conversation, the leader of the Cambodian Women Networking Association, sponsor of the CLC, said decisively the CWNA would shoulder the project.