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Nationality, Patriotism and Nationalism in Liberal Democratic Society

Nationality, Patriotism and Nationalism in Liberal Democratic Society
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Edited book , Notes
$24.95 (18.71)
Since the American and French Revolutions, the nation-state has come to be considered the normal form of political organization. National self-determination was a key to the programs of the liberals who campaigned for constitutional government in the first half of the nineteenth century. Statesmen and political philosophers of the previous century championed the idea that a Europe constituted by sovereign nation-states was to become a nucleus of world peace. In 1945 the United Nations was established upon these principles. By and large, we still act upon them in international affairs.

However, the older position which associated the national idea with a liberal political system based upon self-determination was gradually pushed into the background. Instead, almost from the start the various national groups tried to extend their sphere of control, and the boundaries of their nation-state, as far as possible; the liberal principle of respecting the legitimate interests of other ethnicities or national groups, fell into disregard.

The popular enthusiasm for national self-determination was not so much concerned with the desire to create the essential political conditions for a free and unhindered enfolding of one’s own national culture, but rather with the desire to be part of a strong national state capable of imposing the national will, if need be, upon other peoples.

It was the hope of many that, since 1945, a metamorphosis of the nation-state was underway, with a return to a more modest, democratic notion of nation and nationality which has nothing in common with the aggressive varieties of the previous decades. Indeed, the export of the Western democratic notion of the nationstate was long considered an essential to modernization which Western social scientists and politicians recommended to the peoples in the Third World.

Today many doubt whether the Western idea of nationality by the non-Western world was well-suited to the politics of these regions of the world; in many cases the older multinational politics might have done much better. Certainly, the new non-Western nations were not spared any of the distortions of nationalism.

The re-emergence of national conflicts in many parts of the world indicates that nationalism has not lost any of its explosive power, and in some regions, notably in the territories of the former USSR or in the Balkans, it flared up again with unabated vigor. The bloody civil war in Yugoslavia and the splitting-up of Czechoslovakia into two national units are examples of the present trend which points to a fragmentation of large parts of Eastern Europe along national lines, with most undesirable consequences. These developments may threaten the fabric of Western liberal societies, if they continue unabated.

This book examines the relationship of nationalism and liberalism in the modern world. Sometimes nationalism assists the growth of liberal democracy and sometimes it is a most potent foe. This struggle is one of the significant features of modern political life.

Wolfgang J. Mommsen, one of the leading scholars on the subject of nationalism, was the force behind the treatment of nationalism in this book. Contributors were carefully selected by Professor Mommsen, Edward Shils, and Roger Michener. Included are: John Breuilly, whose Nationalism and the State is in its second edition; Steven Grosby, who examines the creation of the United States, Peter Alter, who discusses modern German history; and Eugene Kamenka, who looks at Australia.

In the analysis beyond Western culture, Ian Nish shows how national unity contributed to creating a modern liberal state in Japan. Serif Mardin discusses how nationalism contributed to constitutional movements in the emergence of modern Turkey from the Ottoman Empire; Andrzej Ajnenkiel emphasizes the importance of nationalism in fostering the regrowth of liberal institutions in Poland after communism; and Megnad Desai explains the challenge of establishing liberal democracy in multi-ethnic India.

This book should be of value to anyone seeking to understand problems of nationalism, patriotism and nationality in the modern world.

Table of Contents

Series Editors’ Foreword
Introductory Note
Roger Michener
Chapter 1. Nationality, Patriotism, Nationalism
Wolfgang J. Mommsen
Chapter 2. Nationalism and the State
John Breuilly
Chapter 3. The Nation of the United States and the Vision of Ancient Israel
Steven Grosby
Chapter 4. Nationalism and Liberalism in Modern German History
Peter Alter
Chapter 5. Nationality, Patriotism, and Nationalism: The Polish Case
Andrzej Ajnenkiel
Chapter 6. Nationality, Patriotism, and Nationalism in Australia
Eugene Kamenka
Chapter 7. Nationality, Patriotism, and Nationalism in Japan
Ian Nish
Chapter 8. Patriotism and Nationalism in Turkey
Serif Mardin
Chapter 9. Constructing Nationality in a Multinational Democracy: The Case of India
Meghnad Desai
Notes on Contributors

ROGER MICHENER has been professor of law and social thought at the University of Chicago, at Princeton University, and at Tokyo University.

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