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Today, we identify a person's "nationality" as French, English, Czech, etc ("I'm French" / "I'm from France" being the grammatical form of its use).

But in a future World Government, "nationality" is not really the right word for that because those aren't "nations" anymore. And maybe the big "cultural union" ones like "French" or "Indonesian" or "British" or "Italian" might go away entirely.

But I imagine people might still want to identify with a specific geographical and/or cultural and/or linguistic heritage in such a way that people might want to say, "I'm Beaujolais/Javanese/Breton/etc" or insist that "Tuscan" wines are better than "Burgundian" wines.

Now, some of those can just be called "ethnicities" (such as "Jewish"). But "ethnicity" tends to refer more to race and religion while many like "Tuscan" will be primarily geographical, cultural, linguistic, etc.

I'm considering "regionality."

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  • $\begingroup$ I would think such terms would become outdated and useless in a post-national world. What's the use is calling someone French if there is no France? Could you add a few examples of how you want these terms to be used, or what useful information you hope them to convey? $\endgroup$ – ApproachingDarknessFish Jul 3 '16 at 1:54
  • $\begingroup$ The terminology (depending on how this world government operates) would be "Citizen", or perhaps "Subject" or in a Dystopian future "Serf". $\endgroup$ – Thucydides Jul 3 '16 at 2:47
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks, guys, I rewrote the question better to clarify that I was thinking more about a historical or heritage thing than an official designation. $\endgroup$ – Lee Saxon Jul 3 '16 at 4:41
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Simple: there is no need to replace it.

See the difference.

Countries: France, United Kingdom ... Nationalities: Breton, Corsican, French, English, Scots, Welsh, Irish, Cornish? Most countries have several national groups inside their borders.

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  • $\begingroup$ But I'm not sure all of those are "nationalities" even today. English, Scots, Welsh, and [North] Irish ("Irish" refers to the Republic of Ireland, not the part in the UK) all work because those are nations (the UK is more a union than a country/nation). And "French" is obvious. But I would argue Breton, Corsican, Cornish, and others like Javanese, Burgundian, or Tuscan, already aren't "nationalities." $\endgroup$ – Lee Saxon Jul 3 '16 at 4:36
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    $\begingroup$ @JosephLeeSaxon: Even if they aren't nationalities the way we understand the term now, that doesn't mean they are not nationalities as the term will be used in times of the world government. $\endgroup$ – celtschk Jul 3 '16 at 8:51
  • $\begingroup$ @celtschk Yeah, that's a very good point $\endgroup$ – Lee Saxon Jul 3 '16 at 19:19
  • $\begingroup$ There is a lot of discussion in political science about the distinction between the nation which is a coherent group of people that share a culture and have political identity, and a state which is an organization that conducts governments. In true "nation-states" the nation and the state coincide, but many areas have nations that do not coincide with national borders (e.g. the Kurdish people) who may aspire to statehood but could struggle to attain it. Often nations precede nation-states. $\endgroup$ – ohwilleke Oct 20 '16 at 7:03
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Globality

The term Nationality is a historically recent one, comming into usage with the rise of the idea of the nation state. It is a term pregnant with the idea of belonging to a coherent group of people with a common locality and culture.

The idea of nation was among other things a tool of shaping identity in a world where states had grown large enough to encompas several groups of people who had historically had their own seperate and strong regional identities.

To me then a term that replaces nationality at the time of a world government would be a one that serves a similar function. Namely to nurture a commen strong identity for the people the new unified earth.

As such I propose "Globality."

Globality would similarly to how Nationality entered usage not replace it, but rather supersede it in importance to how people identify themselves. Like how being English once became more important than being from f. ex. Wessex. Now being global, being a Gaian would be more important than either.

The world government would most probably invest a lot of resources in bringing this shift in identity about, similar to how European nation states did in the 19th century. It would be a good investment long term as a feeling of common history, culture and language would make the peoples of the world a lot more easy to govern in a stable way.

And similar to how people still say that they are from Wessex when they need to identify where they are from in the UK, people of the new world would still use the names of the old nation states to signify where in the world they are from when appropriate. They just wouldn't think of it as a nationality anymore.

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  • $\begingroup$ If i am not mistaken, unless humanity spreads to multiple planets, there is only one "globality", rendering the term somewhat useless. $\endgroup$ – Burki Oct 20 '16 at 12:25
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Perhaps you could use terms such as culture or background. It's enough to convey where they're from, but it's still capable of being used across ethnicities and nationalities alike.

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During the Roman Empire, people were more or less loyal to their individual city states or civitates and to the Roman Empire as a whole, as well as to one or more levels of regional identity in between those extremes.

In the later empire there were six levels of government. Pagi, or small rural districts, civitates, provinces ruled by various types of governors, (secular) dioceses ruled by vicars, prefectures ruled by praetorian prefects, and the empire ruled by the emperor. And a person could be more or less loyal to the region at each level of government that contained his home.

In medieval Ireland, a much smaller region, there were four levels of kingship from a ri, the basic king of a small tuath, to the high king of all Ireland.

In most parts of the USA there are four levels of government: municipal, county, state, and Federal.

Thus a world government is likely to have many levels of government administrative divisions, with democratically elected governments in some of the levels.

And it would certainly be possible for a person to identify with many progressively larger regions and groups of people up to the world as a whole regardless of whether those regions or groups correspond to actual administrative divisions.

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'National' identity won't die

Why would anyone think that people are eager to give up their nationalities, even if those nationalities no longer have any political power?

Wales is a great example, it was the first territory subsumed into England 1282, then incorporated into the English legal system (and governance) in 1535-1542. At that point, there was effectively no more Wales. The people had English rulers, English laws, etc. Wales was no more as a political entity.

Yet people had no interest in giving up on Wales. They kept the Welsh language alive, and by the 19th century, the tide of integration with England was rolling back in the opposite direction. In 1998, the National Assembly for Wales was formed by referendum, restoring to the Welsh people a measure of political independence.

How could Wales have come back into being after tens of generations of not being? How could it have come back into being without revolutionary violence?

Because group identity is important to people, even if it has to be 'invented'. Just because the world gets into one big happy government, that doesn't mean that people aren't going to want to find a tribe to associate with. And with democracy, the people's drive to associate into tribes becomes the MOST powerful force in electoral politics. A quick look at the progress of the US election this year should convince you of that.

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Maybe ethnos? Ethnos literally means "nation" in Greek. Distinguishable from ''genos'', which is more akin to the modern sense of race or ethnicity, implying kin relation. Ethnos could be a euphemistic way of referring to national identity in a world where nationality is scorned as backwards and tribalistic. (The status and nature of tribes in this world would be interesting to look into, maybe nations that don't want to shed their nationhood would form tribes of sorts)

Or if you're taking a Westphalian perspective of nations as entities with the right to sovereignty over a specific geopolitical area, it would be accurate and sufficiently euphemistic to refer to nationalities as territorial units or polities. Along the lines of regionality I'd propose sectionality for nationality, section for nation state, sectionalism for nationalism, and sect for something, maybe a peoplehood. I'm curious, is this a dystopia or a utopia? I'm wondering if distinct cultures and languages would be snuffed out.You might need to create an entire Newspeak vocabulary in that case.

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In the former Soviet Union and its satelite states, there was a differentiation between citizenship and nationality, both were marked in the passport. Nationality mainly referred to the first language of the citizens, but if I remember right, Jews were counted as a nationality of their own (independent of their language).

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Two simple paths come to mind.

First, when multiple companies merge and an employee wants to identify which culture/group they came from (which can often be an issue of pride and politics) they use the term "heritage." Such as "I'm heritage Phillips" or "I'm heritage Conoco." So you could use "I'm heritage American" or "My heritage is Amercia."

Second, assuming your government needs subdivisions of some sort (states, regions, districts) you can simply adopt these terms. After all, it might be more important to somebody that they're from "Dixie" or "Appalachian" or from the "Great Lakes" instead of just "American."

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