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This book discusses the justifications and limits of cultural nationalism from a liberal perspective. Chaim Gans presents a normative typology of nationalist ideologies, distinguishing between cultural liberal nationalism and statist liberal nationalism. Statist nationalisms argue that states have an interest in the cultural homogeneity of their citizenries. Cultural nationalisms argue that people have interests in adhering to their cultures (the adherence thesis) and in sustaining these cultures for generations (the historic thesis). Gans argues that freedom- and identity-based justifications for cultural nationalism common in literature can only support the adherence thesis, while the historical thesis could only be justified by the interest people have in the long-term endurance of their personal and group endeavors. The Limits of Nationalism examines demands often made in the name of cultural nationalism, such as claims for national self-determination, historical rights claims to territories and demands entailedby cultural particularism as opposed to cultural cosmopolitanism.
The Limits of Nationalism
Chaim Gans
Tel Aviv University
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Chaim Gans 2003
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Acknowledgements pageviii
Introduction 1
1. Nationalist ideologies – a normative typology 7
2. The liberal foundations of cultural nationalism 39
3. National self-determination 67
4. Historical rights and homelands 97
5. Nationalism and immigration 124
6. Nationalism, particularism and cosmopolitanism 148
7. Conclusion 169
Bibliography 174
Index 181
1 Nationalist ideologies – a normative typology
Cultural nationalism and statist nationalism
The terms ‘socialism’, ‘liberalism’ and ‘conservatism’ have been said to
be ‘like surnames and the theories, principles and parties that share one of
these names often do not have much more in common with one another
than the members of a widely extended family’.1The term ‘nationalism’
is even more complex, for it is the surname not only of one family of
ideas, but of two. One family is that of statist nationalism. According to
this type of nationalism, in order for states to realize political values such
as democracy, economic welfare and distributive justice, the citizenries of
states must share a homogeneous national culture. It must be noted that
the values in question do not derive from specific national cultures. Nor
are they aimed at their protection. The second family is that of cultural
nationalism. According to this nationalism, members of groups sharing
a common history and societal culture have a fundamental, morally sig-
nificant interest in adhering to their culture and in sustaining it across
generations. This interest warrants the protection of states. The two fam-
ilies of nationalism share a common name, and there are cases, as we
shall see below, in which members of both families were or could have
been happily married. Yet, their genealogies, at least their philosophical-
normative genealogies, do not share one common origin. Within statist
nationalism, the national culture is the means, and the values of the state
are the aims. Within cultural nationalism, however, the national culture
is the aim, and the state is the means. Moreover, within statist national-
ism, as I shall further clarify below, any national culture, not necessarily
the national culture of the states’ citizenries or a part of their citizen-
ries, could in principle be the means for realizing the political values of
the state. Within cultural nationalism, on the other hand, states are the
means or the providers of the means for preserving the specific national
cultures of their citizenry or parts thereof .
1Jeremy Waldron, ‘Theoretical Foundations of Liberalism’, The Philosophical Quarterly 37
(1987), 127–50.
8 The Limits of Nationalism
The nationalism I have here called statist expresses the normative
essence of a nationalism that historians and sociologists call territorial-
civic, while the type of nationalism I have here termed cultural expresses
the normative essence of the type of nationalism that historians and soci-
ologists call ethnocultural. The historian Hans Kohn, who was the first to
make this distinction in the literature after World War II, characterized
the territorial-civic nationalism as ‘predominantly a political movement to
limit governmental power and to secure civic rights’.2Kohn claimed that
‘its purpose was to create a liberal and rational civil society representing
the middle-class....
3He argued that it developed mainly in the advanced
countries of the West, England, the United States and France, during the
age of Enlightenment. According to Kohn, ethnocultural nationalism was
characteristic of less advanced countries, mainly in Central and Eastern
Europe (but also in Spain and Ireland). Because the middle class of these
countries was weak, he claimed that nationalism in these countries was
less political and more cultural. It was ‘the dream and hope of scholars
and poets’,4a dream and hope that was based on past heritage and ancient
traditions. Unlike the nationalism of the advanced West, which was in-
spired by the legal and rational concept of citizenship, the nationalism of
Central and Eastern Europe was inspired by imagination and emotions,
and by the unconscious development of the Volk and its primordial and
atavistic spirit. Kohn believed that the ethnocultural nationalism of the
Eastern European countries was a reaction of the elites of underdeveloped
societies to the territorial-civic nationalism of the advanced societies of
the West. A dichotomy similar to that between ethnocultural nationalism
and territorial-civic nationalism, that was adopted by many scholars after
Kohn,5was also used much earlier, for example, by Marx and Engels in
their accounts of the nineteenth-century nationalist movements. In order
to express their attitude towards these movements, they used Hegel’s
2Hans Kohn, Nationalism: Its Meaning and History (Princeton: D. Van Nostrand Company,
1955), pp. 29–30.
3Ibid.,p.29. 4Ibid.,p.30.
5While criticizing some of its details and developing it. See Anthony D. Smith, The Ethnic
Origins of Nations (Oxford and Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 1986); Anthony D. Smith,
National Identity (London: Penguin Books, 1991), pp. 80–4; Anthony D. Smith, Na-
tionalism and Modernism: A Critical Survey of Recent Theories of Nations and Nationalism
(London and New York: Routledge, 1998), pp. 177–80; John Hutchinson, The Dynamics
of Cultural Nationalism (London: Allen and Unwin, 1987), pp. 12–49, 30–6. Hutchinson
calls civic nationalism ‘political’. Deutsch suggests an analogous distinction between pa-
triotism and nationalism: ‘Patriotism appeals to all residents of a country, regardless of
their ethnic background. Nationalism appeals to all members of an ethnic group, regard-
less of their country of residence.’ See Karl Wolfgang Deutsch, Nationalism and Social
Communication: An Inquiry into the Foundations of Nationality (Cambridge, MA: Technol-
ogy Press of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1953), p. 232.
Nationalist ideologies 9
distinction between historical nations and non-historical nationalities.
The former, the main manifestations of which are England and France,
were led by strong middle classes which aspired and were able to bring
about the cultural unity which is required for consolidating the conditions
for capitalism. The latter, the main examples of which are the national
movements of the southern Slavs, lack a strong middle class. Marx and
Engels believed that the fact that such nationalities insisted on not as-
similating played a reactionary role, because it impeded the transition to
capitalism, which they considered a necessary stage in the progress of
In making the distinction between territorial-civic nationalism and
ethnocultural nationalism, Kohn and other historians and sociologists
have mixed geographical, sociological, judgemental and normative
parameters. Territorial-civic nationalism is Western and ethnocultural
nationalism is Eastern. The former involves a strong middle class whereas
the latter involves intellectuals operating in a society whose middle class
is weak or which lacks a middle class. The former is progressive and is
inspired by the legal and rational concept of citizenship while the latter
is regressive and is inspired by the Volk’s unconscious development. How
should the normative essence of this multidisciplinary distinction be inter-
preted? An attempt to answer this question has recently been undertaken
by the editors of a collection of essays called Rethinking Nationalism.7
They characterize territorial-civic nationalism as a type of nationalism
within which ‘individuals give themselves a state, and the state is what
binds together the nation...That concept of nation is subjective since
it emphasizes the will of individuals. And it is individualistic since the
nation is nothing over and above willing individuals.’8Voluntarism, sub-
jectivism and individualism thus characterize this type of nationalism.
Ethnocultural nationalism, which the editors choose to call ethnic rather
than ethnocultural, is based on a conception of the nation as the product
of objective facts pertaining to social life. These facts are that members of
the nation share a common language, culture and tradition. In this type of
nationalism, the nation exists prior to the state. It is also a collective that
transcends and is prior to the individuals of which it consists. Objectivism,
collectivism and a lack of individual choice characterize this form of
6Ephraim Nimni, Marxism and Nationalism (London: Pluto Press, 1991), chap. 1.
7Michel Seymour, with the collaboration of Jocelyne Couture and Kai Nielsen, ‘Intro-
duction: Questioning the Ethnic/Civic Dichotomy’, in Jocelyne Couture, Kai Nielsen
and Michel Seymour (eds.), Rethinking Nationalism (University of Calgary Press, 1998),
pp. 1–61.
8Ibid., pp. 2–3.
10 The Limits of Nationalism
If this formulation of the distinction is meant to convey its normative
essence, and if it attempts to represent the basic principles of each fam-
ily of nationalism at a level of abstraction that allows them to include
their many different and peculiar descendants, then it seems to fail. The
fact that the editors of Rethinking Nationalism have chosen to call the
nationalism which historians called ethnocultural ethnic without the fur-
ther qualification of cultural means that they regard common descent, or
the myth of common descent (as opposed to a shared history, language
and culture) as the most important component of this nationalism. This
is because common descent (or a myth of common descent) is an es-
sential characteristic of ethnic groups but not of national groups which
only share a common language, religion, customs, history or ties with a
particular territor y (none of which is necessary).9Many movements of
cultural nationalism did indeed grant the myth of common descent an
important practical role in their agendas. This perhaps justifies calling
the present nationalism ‘ethnic’ for purposes of historical classification.
However, from the viewpoint of the normative classification, ethnicity
certainly need not be the focal point of this type of nationalism. This
is the case particularly if one describes the nationalism introduced by
Herder, as the editors of Rethinking Nationalism do,10 as ascribing im-
portance to people’s belonging to groups that share language, culture
and traditions.11 For then it is language, culture and traditions, and not
common descent, which are the focal point of this type of nationalism.
Similar criticism can be directed at the characterization of cultural na-
tionalism as a nationalism that takes nations to ontologically precede
their members. The editors of Rethinking Nationalism here attribute to
the whole family a trait which characterizes only some of its members. It
9According to Max Weber, ethnic groups are defined by means of a myth of common de-
scent. According to him these groups are ‘those human groups that entertain a subjective
belief in their common descent . . .’ (Max Weber, Economy and Society, eds. G. Roth and
C. Wittich (New York: Bedminster Press, 1968), p. 389). In this definition, the origi-
nal meaning of the notion of an ethnic group, which according to Walker Connor is ‘a
group characterized by common descent’ becomes a matter of subjective belief. Connor
criticizes authors who used the concept of ethnicity in a broader and less accurate sense
(Walker Connor, Ethnonationalism:The Quest for Understanding (Princeton University
Press, 1994), pp. 100–3). Anthony D. Smith also acknowledges the loose meaning that
ethnicity has acquired in the writings of some recent writers, but says that the myth of
common descent is the sine qua non of ethnicity (Smith, The Ethnic Origins of Nations,
p. 24). It is a necessary feature of ethnic groups that does not necessarily character-
ize national groups. (Both immigrant nations such as the United States or Canada and
non-immigrant nations such as Great Britain exemplify this.) Thus, ethnic nationalism
means a nationalism that grants common descent a central role in its agenda.
10 Seymour, Couture and Nielsen, ‘Ethnic/Civic Dichotomy’, p. 3.
11 F. M. Barnard (trans. and ed.), J. G. Herder on Social and Political Culture (Cambridge
University Press, 1969).
Nationalist ideologies 11
is doubtful whether the prophets of cultural nationalism were all aware
of the question of whether nations precede their members or vice versa,
either morally or ontologically.12 The editors of the collection themselves
mention some contemporary writers whom they take to be advocates of
cultural nationalism who hold the opposite view, namely, that at least
morally, individuals are prior to their nations.13
The way the editors of Rethinking Nationalism represent the philosophi-
cal essence of territorial-civic nationalism suffers from similar drawbacks.
The editors chose Ernest Renan to represent the principles of civic nation-
alism. Renan emphasizes that nations are a matter of ‘daily plebiscite’. Yet,
as the editors note, Renan himself thought that nations are also ‘legacies
of remembrances’.14 This point is of great importance, because it stresses
the central role which culture has in civic nationalism. Some contempo-
rary writers, the most prominent among them being J ¨urgen Habermas,
argue for an entirely non-cultural and purely civic conception of polit-
ical communities. According to him, all that citizenries of states need
to share is loyalty to a set of political and constitutional principles.15 As
long as this is intended to specify one possible conception of the social
cohesion of states’ citizenries, I would concur.16 However, some writers
identify this conception of social cohesion with civic nationalism.17 They
speak of civic nationalism as if it were exhausted by loyalty to a set of
political principles. Habermas himself could be viewed as lending sup-
port to this usage by proposing to interpret German identity after the
reunification of the Federal Republic with East Germany on the basis of
such loyalty. Moreover, he suggests justifying this reunification not on the
basis of restoring ‘the pre-political unity of a community with a shared
historical destiny’, but on the basis of restoring ‘democracy and a consti-
tutional state in a territory where civil rights had been suspended .. . since
1933’.18 Bernard Yack comments that the latter justification of the reuni-
fication of West and East Germany would have applied with equal force
12 For example, I doubt whether Ahad Ha’am, the father of ‘spiritual Zionism’ thought
about this matter.
13 Specifically, they mentioned Tamir and Kymlicka. Seymour, Couture and Nielsen,
‘Ethnic/Civic Dichotomy’, sections 5 and 6.
14 Seymour, Couture and Nielsen, ‘Ethnic/Civic Dichotomy’, p. 3.
15 urgen Habermas, ‘Citizenship and National Identity: Some Reflections on the Future
of Europe’, in Ronald Beiner (ed.), Theorizing Citizenship (Albany: State University of
New York Press, 1995), pp. 255–81.
16 See Chapter 3, pp. 91–6, below.
17 Michael Ignatieff, Blood and Belonging: Journeys into the New Nationalism (New York:
The Noonday Press, 1993), p. 6.
18 Habermas, ‘Citizenship and National Identity’, p. 256. See also Seymour, Couture and
Nielsen, ‘Ethnic/Civic Dichotomy’, p. 26; Bernard Yack, ‘The Myth of the Civic Nation’,
in Ronald Beiner (ed.), Theorizing Nationalism (Albany: State University of New York
Press, 1999), pp. 107–8.
12 The Limits of Nationalism
to a possible unification of the Federal Republic with Czechoslovakia or
Poland.19 Without resorting to common culture and history, loyalty to
common political principles cannot be considered nationalism, not even
civic nationalism. This is demonstrated by the French and British na-
tionalisms which are the historical paradigms of civic nationalism. These
states did not merely attempt to inculcate constitutional principles, but
have insisted that their citizenries, who already shared a common religion,
should also share further complex cultural contours, such as language,
tradition and a sense of common history and destiny.20
As we shall see below, the philosophical rationale of civic nationalism
also implies the need to instil in citizenries of states a pervasive common
culture, and not merely a constitutional culture. However, ideas of the
sort expressed by Habermas, according to which the loyalty of the mem-
bers of political communities to constitutional principles is sufficient for
applying to them concepts which are typically associated with national-
ism, were expressed as early as the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
When they spoke of patriotism and love of one’s country, many thinkers
then did not necessarily refer to communities sharing specific cultures
and/or territories, but rather to specific sets of political ideals. ‘Patriotism
is the affection that a people feel for their country understood not as na-
tive soil, but as a community of free men living together for the common
good’, says Maurizio Viroli when discussing the principle of patriotism
as understood by Shaftesbury at the beginning of the eighteenth century,
following a similar interpretation expressed by Milton in the middle of
the seventeenth century.21 However, this sort of republican patriotism,
which is a form of patriotism without any cultural content, the sources
of which can be found in the ancient world22 and to which Habermas
19 Yack, ‘Myth of Civic Nation’, p. 108. See also Maurizio Viroli, For Love of Country: An
Essay on Patriotism and Nationalism (Oxford University Press, 1995), p. 175: ‘the very
story of unification seems to indicate that to be German meant something else beyond
allegiance to political ideals’.
20 On Britain see Linda Colley, Britons: Forging the Nation 17071837 (New Haven: Yale
University Press, 1992). On France see Eugene Weber, Peasants into Frenchmen: The
Modernization of Rural France 18701914 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1976). Some
writers believe that the US nationalism consists in loyalty to certain constitutional prin-
ciples and nothing else. See: Viroli, For Love of Countr y, pp. 178–82; Paul Gilbert, The
Philosophy of Nationalism (Oxford: Westview Press, 1998), p. 8. However, other writers
believe otherwise. See: Smith, National Identity, pp. 149–50; M. Lind, The Next American
Nation (New York: Free Press, 1995).
21 Viroli, For Love of Countr y, p. 57. Viroli discusses Shaftesbury in pp. 57–60, and Milton
in pp. 52–6.
22 Viroli, For Love of Country, especially chaps. 1 and 3; Charles Taylor, Reconciling the
Solitudes: Essays on Canadian Federalism and Nationalism (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s
University Press, 1993), pp. 41–2; Charles Taylor, ‘Nationalism and Modernity’, in
Robert McKim and Jeff McMahan (eds.), The Morality of Nationalism (New York: Oxford
University Press, 1997), pp. 40–1.
Nationalist ideologies 13
wishes to return, proved to lack sufficient appeal during the last few cen-
turies. Rousseau believed it was impossible without cultural unity.23 At
the end of the eighteenth century and during the nineteenth and most
of the twentieth centuries, the belief in the necessity of cultural unity
as a condition for the realization of political goals and values became
prominent, both among political thinkers and political activists.24 This
unity was sometimes achieved by establishing states around groups which
already enjoyed such unity. However, it was quite often achieved by as-
similating culturally distinct populations. Such assimilation was in many
cases brought about by methods which were far from civil and for which
politicians could draw support from the writings of political thinkers.25
These far from civil methods with which civic nationalism was imple-
mented brings us to another problematic characteristic which the editors
of Rethinking Nationalism attribute to territorial-civic nationalism. They
characterize this nationalism as based on the free will of the individu-
als who comprise the state’s population. However, it is not true that all
the historical instances of civic nationalism, namely, those in which the
state preceded the nation, were based on the voluntary acceptance of
the national culture by all the individuals living in these states. Further-
more, in many cases, states attempted to force individuals and groups
to assimilate into the majority. For example, in France at the end of the
nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth, individuals were
not asked whether they accepted French culture. The United States and
Australia tried to force their respective aboriginal populations that had
survived genocide to assimilate into the majority. Turkey has also re-
cently attempted to do this to its Kurd population, as have post-colonial
African states with respect to their populations.26 Moreover, the practices
under discussion were not only adopted by states that are identified with
civic nationalism but were also justified by many thinkers who could be
associated with this type of nationalism.27
23 Michael Walzer holds this view. According to him republican patriotism and politi-
cal participation ‘were the political expression of a homogeneous people’ and ‘rested
and could only rest on social, religious and cultural unity’ (Viroli, For Love of Country,
p. 85).
24 See the Neapolitan thinkers mentioned in Viroli, For Love of Country, pp. 108ff.; James
Tully, Strange Multiplicity: Constitutionalism in an Age of Diversity (Cambridge University
Press, 1995), pp. 161–2 about J.S. Mill and Lord Durham; Smith, The Ethnic Origins of
Nations, chap. 6; Smith, National Identity, pp. 40–1.
25 I already mentioned Mill in the previous note. Some texts by Hobbes and Locke could
also be interpreted as implying some support for such methods (Tully, Strange Multiplic-
ity, pp. 89–91).
26 See Smith, National Identity,p.41.
27 Viroli, For Love of Countr y, pp. 85, 108ff.; Tully, Strange Multiplicity, pp. 161–2; Smith,
The Ethnic Origins of Nations, chap. 6; Smith, National Identity, pp. 40–1; Will Kymlicka,
14 The Limits of Nationalism
In contrast to other ideologies such as socialism and liberalism, one of
the main sources of difficulty in characterizing the essence of both kinds of
nationalism is the scant philosophical treatment it has received compared
to the enormous extent of its political influence. As Benedict Anderson
observed, ‘unlike most other isms, nationalism has never produced its
own grand thinkers: no Hobbeses, Tocquevilles, Marxes, or Webers’.28
Isaiah Berlin made similar observations.29 The difficulty of abstracting the
tenets of nationalism is aggravated by the multitude of concrete historical
manifestations of nationalist movements. An abstraction of the tenets
of nationalism should not be completely divorced from these historical
A second difficulty in abstracting the essence of both kinds of national-
ism is moral. Great evils and atrocities have been committed in the name
of liberal and socialist ideals, but their scope and intensity do not equal the
evils and crimes that have been committed in the name of nationalist ide-
als. An abstraction of the tenets of nationalism based only on the texts of
nationalist writers risks ignoring this particular fact about nationalism as
a historical and social phenomenon. However, despite these difficulties, it
seems to me that it is both possible and desirable to abstract tenets of na-
tionalism from texts and from history that could but need not necessarily
lead to its monstrous manifestations. In order to interpret the dichotomy
between civic and cultural nationalism as a normative dichotomy suf-
ficiently abstract to apply to many specific historical cases of nationalist
movements and positions, it ought to be regarded as a distinction between
the two positions presented at the beginning of this chapter. According to
one position, the citizenries of any given state must share a homogeneous
national culture in order for each state to realize political values such as
democracy, economic welfare and distributive justice. According to the
second position, members of groups sharing a common history and soci-
etal culture have a fundamental, morally significant interest in adhering
to their culture and in sustaining it across generations.
Multicultural Citizenship: A Liberal Theory of Minority Rights (Oxford: Clarendon Press,
1995), pp. 49–74; Will Kymlicka, Liberalism, Community and Culture (Oxford: Clarendon
Press, 1989), pp. 206–19. Kymlicka mentions Mill, Durham and Marx as thinkers who
believed that people belonging to cultural minorities should be forced to assimilate.
28 Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Orig in and Spread of Na-
tionalism, revised edition (London: Verso, 1991), p. 5; Ernest Gellner, Nations and Na-
tionalism (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1983), p. 124; Ronald S. Beiner (ed.), Theorizing
Nationalism (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1999), pp. 2, 3, 17.
29 Though his complaints refer not so much to the fact that nationalism has never produced
its own grand thinkers, but rather to the fact that no grand thinker of the nineteenth cen-
tury predicted its powerful role in twentieth-century history and politics. Isaiah Berlin,
‘Nationalism: Past Neglect and Present Power’, in Isaiah Berlin, Against the Current:
Essays in the History of Ideas, ed. Henry Hardy (New York: Viking Press, 1980), p. 337.
Nationalist ideologies 15
The first position, according to which a common national culture is
a condition or means for the realization of political values which neither
derive from national cultures nor are intended for their protection, should
be called statist nationalism rather than civic. This might help to eliminate
the positive connotation of the term civic nationalism and would perhaps
highlight the fact that the process of the national homogenization of the
respective populations of nation-states has not always been justified by
liberal values and has often been carried out in ways that are far from
civil. With regard to the second position, I would like to suggest that it be
called cultural nationalism rather than ethnic, despite the fact that in most
cases, both in its historical manifestations and its philosophical versions,
there are elements that pertain to ethnicity.30 The term cultural would,
first, serve to discard the negative connotation of the term ethnic national-
ism. However, this form of nationalism should be called cultural first and
foremost because any serious justifications for it focus primarily on the
culture and history of the group in question. Common descent often goes
together with a shared culture and history but may not be required. As
noted above, however, in many cases in which cultural nationalism was
historically realized, common descent turned out to be the main focus of
attention. Yet this does not constitute a sufficient reason to make it the
central characteristic of the class from the normative point of view.
The social and historical phenomena of civic and cultural nationalisms
prompted and influenced one another. Sociologists, anthropologists and
historians are divided as to which of the two preceded the other. Some
scholars believe that civic nationalism came first, and was the main factor
in awakening ethnocultural nationalism. Others claim that the historical
process occurred in the reverse order.31 If either of these positions is cor-
rect, then from the historical and sociological viewpoint both nationalisms
share not just a name but also their origin. However, the interpretations
I have offered here show why, from the normative point of view, there
are in effect two different families of nationalism rather than one. Cul-
tural nationalism, according to which members of national groups have
a morally significant interest in adhering to their culture and preserving
it for generations, is not concerned with how a national culture can con-
tribute to the realization of the state’s values but rather with the support
which states should extend to national cultures. Statist nationalism,
according to which citizenries of states must share a homogeneous na-
tional culture in order for their states to realize political values, is not con-
cerned with the support which states should extend to national cultures.
30 See also pp. 26–9 below and Chapter 2 note 27.
31 Seymour, Couture and Nielsen, ‘Ethnic/Civic Dichotomy’, pp. 10–23.
16 The Limits of Nationalism
Rather, it is concerned with the support which national cultures should
extend to states. It is important to emphasize that calling the one type
of nationalism ‘cultural’, and the other nationalism ‘statist’, does not
mean that cultural nationalism is a-political, and that statist nationalism is
a-cultural. Cultural nationalism is political, for it seeks political protection
for national cultures. Statist nationalism is cultural, for as noted earlier
with regard to civic nationalism, it requires that citizenries of states share
not merely a set of political principles, but also a common language,
tradition and a sense of common history. In other words, the difference
between statist and cultural nationalism is not due to the fact that the
former is purely political and the latter is purely cultural but rather be-
cause of their entirely different normative and practical concerns. The
goal of cultural nationalism is for people to adhere to their culture. The
state is a means for achieving this purpose. Statist nationalism differs in
that the national culture is the means, while the realization of political
values that do not have anything to do with particular national cultures
is the goal. As noted above, statist nationalism could attempt to instil
a common national culture, whether it is the culture of the citizens of the
state or not. For in accordance with the logic of statist nationalism, if a
common national culture is important as a means of enabling everyone’s
participation in government, in assuring everyone their fair share and
in fostering everyone’s economic welfare, then it is not important which
national culture ultimately becomes the common culture. Of course, the
culture of the majority of the state’s citizens would normally be chosen as
the common national culture. However, this is not because the majority
has an interest in adhering to its own culture, but rather because, ceteris
paribus, it is more efficient that the majority’s culture be chosen as the
one to serve the ends of the state. (However, if, for example, the minority
in the state speaks a language used globally which serves as the language
of science and technology and international communications, and the
majority happens to speak a local and esoteric language, then it might be
best for the state to organize itself around the minority culture).32
If the map of the world’s states corresponded to that of its peoples,
or if such correspondence could easily be achieved, then distinguishing
between the two forms of nationalism would be of theoretical importance
only and would have no practical urgency. The two types of nationalism
32 This is in line with Mill who argues that assimilation is generally worthwhile for minorities
who are members of ‘one of the backward parts of the human race’. J. S. Mill, ‘Represen-
tative Government’, in Geraint Williams (ed.), Utilitarianism, On Liberty, Considerations
on Representative Government, Remarks on Bentham’s Philosophy (London: Dent, 1993),
chap. 16. If this is valid with respect to minorities, it must also be valid for majority
groups. See David Miller, On Nationality (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995), p. 86.
Nationalist ideologies 17
would complement one another. The state would satisfy the desire of all
its citizens to adhere to their common national culture and would pro-
tect this culture. Similarly, the common national culture of all its citizens
would benefit the state in its efforts to implement the values of self-rule,
distributive justice and solidarity. This is possible, for example, in Iceland.
The state of Iceland can serve all its citizens who wish to adhere to their
culture and preserve it for generations, for all its citizens share one culture.
At the same time, Icelandic culture can serve the state in implementing its
values, for it is the only culture in that country. However, Iceland is a rare
exception. The two maps, namely, that of the states of the world and that
of its peoples, do not correspond in most cases. This adds practical ur-
gency to the distinction between statist and cultural nationalism. Due to
the current geodemographic conditions in most parts of the world these
two types of nationalism are bound to clash, each impeding the realization
of the other. On the one hand, in most places, statist nationalism has been
interpreted as requiring the engagement of the state in ‘nation-building’,
whereby many people must relinquish their own culture. In effect, this
entails acting against cultural nationalism. On the other hand, acting in
the name of cultural nationalism has been interpreted by many states as
requiring them to assist the various cultures of their citizens and to re-
linquish the ideal of cultural homogeneity in the state, which, of course,
counters statist nationalism. Regardless of whether it is the first route
or the second that should be taken, and of whether some kind of com-
promise between the two should be found, it must be emphasized that
cultural nationalism and statist nationalism are two distinct ideologies
with different normative concerns, and that these concerns conflict with
each other in most places.33 I will return to this point, and to the
way some prominent contemporary writers treat it, at the end of this
Liberal and non-liberal nationalisms
The distinction between statist and cultural nationalism and the inter-
pretation proposed here for the main principles of these nationalisms
suggest that the term nationalism could be regarded as a homonym for
two different ideologies that lack a common normative origin and which
need not necessarily be compatible in their implementation. This inter-
pretation also allows us to see that each of them might and in fact did
33 Anthony D. Smith, ‘States and Homelands: The Social and Geopolitical Implications
of National Territory’, Millennium: Jour nal of International Studies 10 (1981), 194–5;
Walker Connor, ‘Ethno-nationalism in the First World’, in Milton J. Esman (ed.), Ethnic
Conflict in the Western World (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1975), p. 19.
18 The Limits of Nationalism
have various descendants that are very different from one another. For
example, cultural nationalism had various forms that included liberal and
fascist, socialist and conservative, humanist and anti-humanist versions
as well as chauvinist and egalitarian, collectivist and individualist, ethno-
centric and non-ethnocentric, state-seeking and non-state-seeking forms
of nationalism. As shown below, statist nationalism also had a variety of
versions, though not as rich as that of cultural nationalism.
John Stuart Mill’s famous arguments in chapter 16 of Representative
Government seem to be liberal-democratic arguments for statist national-
ism. Mill argues that a citizenry that shares one common national culture
is necessary for representative government. ‘Free institutions are next
to impossible in a country made up of different nationalities. Among a
people without fellow-feeling, especially if they read and speak different
languages, the united public opinion, necessary to the working of repre-
sentative government, cannot exist.’34 Similarly, it could be argued that
a common national culture is instrumental in furthering other aspects of
democracy. It increases the probability that a greater number of citizens
will be able to comprehend the issues that are on the political agenda
and in this way also enhances their own informed self-rule. It is possi-
ble to show that cultural homogeneity could contribute to the realization
of other state values such as distributive justice and economic welfare.
Cultural homogeneity is a prerequisite or at least a facilitator for the de-
velopment of the state’s economy.35 In fostering economic growth, it also
bolsters material welfare. A common national culture also contributes to
developing a sense of fraternity among citizens of the state, which then al-
lows the machinery of distributive justice to operate more efficiently. On
the basis of all or some of these points, liberal thinkers have concluded
that states should aspire for their citizenries to have a common culture –
a thesis that is the basic thesis of statist nationalism.36
However, it must be noted that non-liberal versions of statist national-
ism are also possible and have in fact been advocated by certain thinkers.
Like the liberal versions of this type of nationalism, such versions share its
basic tenet, namely, that the citizenries of states must have a homogeneous
national culture because such a culture contributes to the realization
of certain political values. These values are not derived from specific
34 Mill, ‘Representative Government’, chap. 16.
35 At least it was of help during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries under the
technological conditions of the time.
36 D. Miller, On Nationality, chap. 4. All these arguments may be supplemented by social
and historical explanations for the emergence of the nation-state. These explanations
focus on the instrumentality of national cultures to the industrial revolutions of the
nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth (Gellner, Nations and Nationalism).
Nationalist ideologies 19
national cultures and do not serve to protect them. Non-liberal statist
nationalisms would obviously select values that are not liberal as those
values to be promoted by the common national culture. Non-liberal ver-
sions of statist nationalism seem to be possible to the left of liberalism. If
a common national culture is conducive to the realization of the liberal
conceptions of participation in government, solidarity and distributive
justice, it might also be conducive for the realization of the socialist con-
ceptions of these values, especially the value of distributive justice.37 Such
versions of nationalism have in fact existed. The most prominent example
is that of Marx and Engels mentioned earlier. Of course, these thinkers
could hardly be classified as either nationalists or as supporters of the
state. Their ultimate ideal is the withering of both nations and states.
However, in order to facilitate the process which would lead to the with-
ering of states and nations, Marx and Engels supported statist nationalism
and repudiated cultural nationalism. They supported the cultural homog-
enization of states and the nationalist movements that could advance such
homogenization – mainly the nationalist movements of Western Europe.
They believed that these movements would pave the way to social progress
by consolidating the conditions for capitalism. They repudiated the na-
tionalist movements of small nationalities that hindered the achievement
of the national homogenization of large states. In the case of such small
nationalities, and for the reasons just mentioned, they held a view similar
to that of John Stuart Mill, namely, that such communities should as-
similate into the large national communities in whose vicinity they lived.
In other words, Marx and Engels ignored or even denied the thesis ac-
cording to which people have interests in adhering to their culture and
preserving it for generations. For their socialist reasons, they supported
the idea that the state should have one homogeneous culture.38
Is statist nationalism also possible to the right of liberalism? It seems
clear that right-wing individualist ideologies cannot support such nation-
alism. Their individualism is hardly compatible with the existence of the
state. They would therefore not support claims concerning the means that
would enable states to achieve their goals. It would also be difficult to at-
tribute statist nationalism to many collectivist right-wing ideologies. As
repeatedly emphasized above, statist nationalism presupposes that there
are political values that are not derived from the nation and are not aimed
at the preservation of the nation. Many right-wing collectivist ideologies
reject this presupposition. They define the state and the cultural nation
37 Kymlicka attributes this position to D. Miller within a socialist framework (Kymlicka,
Multicultural Citizenship, pp. 72–3).
38 Nimni, Marxism and Nationalism, pp. 17–43.
20 The Limits of Nationalism
in terms of each other.39 They believe that there are no political values
apart from those derived from the nation and aimed at its preservation.
Therefore, it seems that the proponents of such ideologies are not likely
to think of a common national culture as conducive to the implementa-
tion of political values that are independent of the ethnocultural nation.Iam
trying to be cautious here, because conservatism, for example, could in
some sense espouse a statist nationalism, since one of its central values
is stability. The validity of this value does not necessarily derive from the
values of particular nations or the need to preserve them. Conservatives
could in principle view the cultural homogeneity of the state as a means
to preserve its stability and therefore justify statist nationalism. However,
despite the centrality of the value of stability within conservative world-
views, and despite the possibility that this value might be valid without
being derived from the nation, it is still the case that conservatives define
the state in terms of the nation. The nation precedes the state, and the
latter is just an organ of the former and does not exist independently of
the nation.40 Conservative nationalism is therefore mainly cultural rather
than statist. Fascism is problematic from the viewpoint of the present dis-
cussion for different reasons. As it is not a very systematic and coherent
ideology and because demagogy often obscures its ideological essence, it
is difficult to determine if the state is conceived by fascism as a tool in
the service of the nation or if the reverse is the case. However, it does not
seem entirely groundless to associate fascism with a position close to that
of statist nationalism.41
Cultural nationalism is widely believed, or has been until recently, to
be possible only within collectivist right-wing ideologies. Cultural na-
tionalism is sometimes considered a synonym for such ideologies, or at
least to always coincide with them. Moreover, it was also widely believed
that liberal nationalism is necessarily civic (just as it was commonly be-
lieved that civic nationalism is necessarily liberal). The association of
cultural nationalism with collectivist right-wing ideologies and that of
civic nationalism with liberalism is demonstrated in the introduction to
Rethinking Nationalism, for the authors characterize civic nationalism as
individualistic and as depending on people’s choice, while characterizing
ethnocultural nationalism as collectivist and independent of individual
39 For example, Karl Schmitt defines the state as ‘a specific entity of the people’. See
Karl Schmitt, The Concept of the Political, trans. George Schwab (Chicago and London:
University of Chicago Press, 1996), p. 19.
40 On the precedence of the nation to the state according to conservatism, see Roger
Scruton, The Philosopher on Dover Beach (Manchester: Carcanet, 1990), chap. 28.
41 Benito Mussolini, ‘Fascism’, in Omar Dahbour and Micheline R. Ishay (eds.), The
Nationalism Reader (New York: Humanities Press, 1995), pp. 224–5.
Nationalist ideologies 21
choice. The characterization of nationalism by an influential intellectual
such as Isaiah Berlin constitutes another example of the view that cultural
nationalism is necessarily a right-wing collectivist ideology.42 According
to Berlin, nationalism is a doctrine according to which, first, ‘men belong
to a particular human group...thatthecharacters of the individuals who
compose the group are shaped by, and cannot be understood apart from,
those of the group defined in terms of common history, customs, laws,
memories, beliefs, language...ways of life...’ of the group.43 Secondly,
according to nationalism, ‘the essential human unit in which man’s na-
ture is fully realized is not the individual, or a voluntary association which
can be dissolved or altered or abandoned at will, but a nation...’
44 Berlin
further presents nationalism as including the view that nations are like
biological organisms the needs of which constitute their common goals,
which in turn are supreme goals. Berlin also maintains that according
to nationalism, the most compelling reason ‘for holding a particular be-
lief, pursuing a particular a particular life, is that these
beliefs, policies...lives, are ours’, namely, they are the beliefs, policies
and lifestyles of the nation to which we belong.45
Another example of an interpretation of cultural nationalism according
to which it is necessarily anti-liberal has been provided recently in Brian
Barry’s Culture and Equality.46 Barry characterizes cultural nationalism
mainly by ascribing to it the view according to which people belonging to
different nations are like animals belonging to different species. Accord-
ing to this view, what is common to human beings belonging to different
nations is of secondary importance. The differences among them, on the
other hand, are of utmost importance. This has anti-liberal implications
such as that universal norms for humanity as such are either almost im-
possible or of negligible value, that every national group needs a different
system of laws, or that national cultures must preserve their own pu-
rity because accepting influence from other cultures would not suit their
members, just as the behaviour patterns that characterize one species are
not necessarily appropriate for members of other species.
Berlin and Barry’s characterizations are undoubtedly consistent with
various ideas expressed by major proponents of cultural nationalism,
42 Berlin, ‘Nationalism’, in Berlin, Against the Current, pp. 341–3.
43 Ibid., p. 341. 44 Ibid., p. 342.
45 Ibid., p. 342. It must, however, be noted that Berlin distinguishes between what he calls
‘nationalism’ and which he describes by means of the four characteristics listed above,
and what he calls ‘national sentiment’, ‘the pride of ancestry’ (ibid., p. 341), ‘the need to
belong’ (ibid., p. 338). The latter, according to him, could be perfectly compatible with
46 Brian Barry, Culture and Equality: An Egalitarian Critique of Multiculturalism (Cambridge:
Polity Press, 2001).
22 The Limits of Nationalism
mainly proponents of the romantic versions of cultural nationalism. Ex-
amples are inherent in Joseph de Maistre’s famous saying that he had seen
Frenchmen, Italians and Russians, but that ‘as for man, I declare that I
have never in my life met him’,47 and Herder’s comment that ‘the Arab
of the desert belongs to it, as much as his noble horse and his patient
indefatigable camel’.48 There is also no doubt that if we accept these nar-
row characterizations of nationalism, a liberal cultural nationalism would
hardly be possible. However, these characterizations should not be ac-
cepted as exclusive characterizations of cultural nationalism. Many liber-
als throughout the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth
believed that people have interests in their national culture and that states
must protect these interests. They did so without holding views such as
that people’s national affiliation explains their character, and that their na-
tional affiliation is a source for the validity of views, policies or lifestyles.49
Furthermore, in the last few years many authors have attempted to show
that certain liberal values such as freedom and autonomy can serve as
bases for nationalism. Other scholars have tried to show that liberalism
can be reconciled with certain theses predominantly associated with na-
tionalism. For example, they believe that the thesis that nationality may
be considered an important part of personal identity does not necessarily
contradict liberalism. The same holds for the thesis that national com-
munities are those whose members are committed to each other more ex-
tensively than to other human beings as such, or that ‘people who form a
national community in a particular territory have a good claim to political
self-determination’.50 The authors who defend these propositions do so
without assuming the normative priority of the national group over its
individual members, and without assuming the normative priority of one
national group over others. On the contrary, these writers presuppose
individualistic assumptions concerning the relationship between national
groups and their members, and egalitarian assumptions concerning the
relationship among different national groups. The broad characterization
of cultural nationalism proposed here, that is, its characterization as a
nationalism attributing value to groups sharing a common culture and
history, to their existence across generations, and to the protection states
owe to such groups, makes it possible for these attempts to be included
within cultural nationalism.
47 Joseph De Maistre, Considerations on France, trans. and ed. R. A. Lebrun (Cambridge
University Press, 1994), p. 53.
48 J. G. Herder, quoted in R. R. Ergang, Herder and the Foundations of German Nationalism
(New York: Columbia University Press, 1931), p. 91.
49 For specific examples see Kymlicka, Liberalism, Community and Culture, pp. 206–19;
Kymlicka, Multicultural Citizemship, pp. 49–74.
50 D. Miller, On Nationality, pp. 10–11.
Nationalist ideologies 23
Nationalisms and the state
One of the most salient characteristics of contemporary liberal writing
on cultural nationalism is the complex position it takes with regard to
the way in which states should protect the interests people have in their
culture and in its existence across generations. Contemporary writers be-
lieve that this protection must be realized mainly by means of two types
of rights: rights to self-government, and polyethnic rights. The former
enable members of a national group to live their lives, at least major parts
of their economic and political lives, within their national culture. Multi-
cultural or polyethnic rights enable groups of common national origin to
express their original culture while integrating with another culture and
living at least their political and economic lives within that other culture.
Furthermore, many contemporary liberal proponents of cultural nation-
alism believe that from the perspective of the interests people have in
their nationality, independent statehood is the best way to realize self-
government rights. However, they also believe that from a wider perspec-
tive this is not the case. These writers believe that self-government rights
must at least sometimes take a sub-statist form, which is not easily rec-
onciled with one very widely accepted characterization of nationalism.
This characterization is expressed in Ernest Gellner’s definition of na-
tionalism. ‘Nationalism’, he says, ‘is primarily a political principle, which
holds that the political and the national unit should be congruent.51
If we take this definition seriously, then the liberal versions of cultural
nationalism that I have just mentioned are not really versions of nation-
alism. However, Gellner seems to ignore the fact that ‘nationalism’ is a
surname, as it were. His definition clearly applies to statist nationalism.
This follows from the basic tenet of this kind of nationalism, which fo-
cuses on how cultural homogeneity is instrumental in the implementation
of state values. According to statist nationalism, there is no doubt that
‘the political and the national unit should be congruent’. As a matter
of historical fact, it is also true that the aspiration to achieve congru-
ence between nations and states has also characterized many movements
of cultural nationalism.52 Ultimately, however, Gellner’s definition is
51 Gellner, Nations and Nationalism, p. 1. See also Anthony D. Smith, Nations and Nation-
alism in a Global Era (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1995), p. 112; John Breuilly, Nationalism
and the State, 2nd edition (Chicago University Press, 1992), p. 2; Eli Kedourie, Nation-
alism, 4th, expanded edition (Oxford: Blackwell, 1993), p. 1.
52 ‘There were national movements which developed the goal of independence very early –
for example, the Norwegian, Greek or Serb. But there were many more that came to it
rather late, and in the exceptional circumstances of the First World War – among them
the Czech, Finnish, Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian movements . . . ’ See Miroslav
Hroch, ‘From National Movement to the Fully-Formed Nation: The Nation-Building
24 The Limits of Nationalism
misconceived, for it is a fact that not all national movements and not all
versions of cultural nationalism aspired to bring about the convergence
of national and political units.53 Otto Bauer’s theory of nationalism, and
Ahad Ha’am’s ‘spiritual Zionism’, are prominent examples.54 Moreover,
if my abstraction of the normative tenets of cultural nationalism cor-
rectly represents its normative concerns, then state-seeking need not be
an essential component of this nationalism. This is so because institu-
tional arrangements can hardly be regarded as defining features of polit-
ical moralities. Such arrangements depend on the basic values of these
moralities on the one hand, and on the moral and empirical constraints
imposed by the circumstances within which these values have to be im-
plemented, on the other hand. Since such circumstances are fluid and
could change over time, the institutional arrangements following from a
given political morality could also change. If this is correct, the principle
of the congruence between states and national groups cannot be a defin-
ing feature of nationalism as a political morality.55 At most, it could follow
from the values of nationalism under certain empirical conditions. The
contemporary authors who defend principles that are associated with
cultural nationalism, and who do not insist on the convergence between
state and nation, can thus be said to concur with earlier exceptions to
the general aspiration that national movements did have to bring about
the convergence between state and nation. We thus need to give up the
claim that cultural nationalism necessarily seeks this convergence. Within
cultural nationalism one must distinguish between state-seeking versions,
according to which nations must aspire to have a state of their own, and
Process in Europe’, in Geoff Eley and Ronald G. Suny (eds.), Becoming National:A
Reader (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), p. 76.
53 Kymlicka, Liberalism, Community and Culture, pp. 206–19; Kymlicka, Multicultural Citi-
zenship, pp. 49–74. For doubts similar to those expressed here in relation to the centrality
ascribed by Gellner to the state in his definition of modern nationalism, see also Taylor,
‘Nationalism and Modernity’, p. 35.
54 On Bauer see Nimni, Marxism and Nationalism, chaps. 5–7. On Ahad Ha’am see Steven
J. Zipperstein, Elusive Prophet (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993).
55 See Brubaker, ‘Myths and Misconceptions’, pp. 235–41 for arguments demonstrating
that nationalism, not just as a political morality, but also as a social-historical move-
ment, is not in principle state-seeking. Let me also continue the quote from Hroch,
‘From National Movement to Nation’, p. 76, the beginning of which appears above:
‘the Slovene or Byelorussian – did not formulate [the goal of independence] even [in the
exceptional circumstances of the First World War]. The Catalan case provides a vivid
example of the way in which even a powerful national movement need not make the de-
mand of an independent state.’ See also Smith, National Identity, p. 74; Jeff McMahan,
‘The Limits of National Partiality’, in McKim and McMahan (eds.), The Morality of
Nationalism, pp. 108–9; Stephen Nathanson, ‘Nationalism and the Limits of Global
Humanism’, in McKim and McMahan (eds.), The Morality of Nationalism, pp. 177–8;
Judith Lichtenberg, ‘Nationalism, For and (Mainly) Against’, in McKim and McMahan
(eds.), The Morality of Nationalism, p. 165.
Nationalist ideologies 25
non-state-seeking versions, which at most regard states as desirable, but
not as necessary.
Incidentally, I would like to note that certain writers call the state-
seeking nationalism in this latter distinction political nationalism while
referring to the second nationalism as cultural.56 From the viewpoint of
the distinction I have suggested here between statist and cultural na-
tionalism, both the state-seeking and the non-state-seeking versions of
nationalism are cultural rather than statist versions of nationalism, for
they are concerned with people’s interests in adhering to their culture
and preserving it for generations. The difference between them lies in the
nature of the political measures they require for the protection of these
interests. As noted earlier, the distinction between what I have called
statist nationalism, and cultural nationalism, is a more fundamental one. It
is a distinction not between two descendants of one family, but rather
between two families whose normative genealogies cannot be traced to
one source. Cultural nationalism is concerned with the services that states
can and ought to provide for nations, while statist nationalism is con-
cerned with the services which a common national culture could provide
for states.57
What has been said so far could and perhaps should also be clarified in
terms of the ideal of the nation-state. Both families of nationalism have
produced this ideal. Yet it is important to stress that the notion of the
nation-state has an entirely different meaning within each of them. Ac-
cording to statist nationalism, the ideal of nation-states is that sovereign
political units should strive not only for legal but also for cultural unity.
According to cultural nationalism, the ideal of nation-states means that
56 On Alfred Zimmern, see Kymlicka, Multicultural Citizenship, p. 207. See also Avishai
Margalit, ‘The Moral Psychology of Nationalism’, in McKim and McMahan (eds.),
The Morality of Nationalism, pp. 74–87, and my remarks on Tamir on pp. 32–4 below.
Within the Zionist movement there was some debate between what was called Political
Zionism and Ahad Ha’am Spiritual Zionism. Most adherents of the former aspired to
establish a Jewish state in Palestine. The latter was content with much less, and is an
example of what Margalit calls cultural nationalism. However, within the framework
of the distinction between statist nationalism and cultural nationalism elaborated in
this chapter, most brands of Zionism belong to cultural nationalism rather than statist
nationalism. Most of them were motivated by the interests that Jews had in adhering to
their culture and in preserving it for generations. However, it should be noted that in
some sense Zionism had some characteristics of statist nationalism. For example, with
respect to the various cultural groups of Jews that immigrated to Israel, the state of
Israel has acted in accordance with statist nationalism, trying to mould them into one
57 The confusion is even further amplified by the fact that some writers use the terms
political nationalism or cultural nationalism not to designate the distinction between
state-seeking and non-state seeking nationalism, but rather the distinction between civic
nationalism and cultural one (Hutchinson, The Dynamics of Cultural Nationalism).
26 The Limits of Nationalism
cultural groups should have states of their own.58 One could hold the
latter position because it is a means for realizing the former position. In
other words, it is desirable that sovereign political units should also be
cultural units. However, this is not the only way to realize the latter ideal.
‘Nation-building’ and ‘melting pots’ are also means to turn sovereign
political units into cultural units. In any case, those who subscribe to
the thesis of cultural nationalism merely because it is a means for im-
plementing the ideal of statist nationalism, obviously subscribe to statist
nationalism rather than to cultural nationalism. Only those who adhere
to the ideal of the nation-state for the reason that this is the proper way to
protect people’s interests in their own national culture, subscribe to it as
a position of cultural nationalism. As noted, not all the manifestations of
cultural nationalism subscribe to this ideal. At least in some cases, some
of them support the ideal of multicultural states.
Nationalisms and ethnicity
I have so far sub-divided cultural and statist nationalisms, first, according
to the political ideologies with which they were or could be associated,
that is, liberal ideologies and those ideologies to the left and to the right
of liberalism, and secondly, according to their stance towards the state.
It might also be useful to comment on the different classifications of the
various nationalisms according to their position on ethnicity. Again, it is
important first to distinguish between historical and sociological ques-
tions concerning the actual motivation of any particular national move-
ment, and philosophical questions concerning what is implied by or is
compatible with the basic normative positions of statist nationalism on
the one hand, and cultural nationalism on the other. In considering the
historical and sociological issues regarding the relationship between na-
tionalism and ethnicity, three questions must be discerned. The first issue
is motivation: Was a given national movement or a particular nationalist
thinker actually motivated by the goal of preserving the culture of a given
ethnic group? Or were they perhaps motivated by the goal of preserving
a given ethnic group in the sense of keeping its blood ‘pure’? The second
question concerns the composition of a given population led by a
58 The ideal of the nation-state has perhaps a third meaning according to which the world
should be organized so that its sovereign units are not the size of entire empires or
continents. This position could result from attempts to implement one or both the other
positions. This is because most national groups are not the size of entire continents or
empires, and because nation-building is a project which has a better chance of succeeding
if it does not cover territories of such size. However, the present position can also be held
for reasons which have nothing to do with the other two positions.
... Such systematic inequality calls for redress. One way for multinational states to rectify such inequality is to give minority groups the right to self-government (De Schutter 2007, 2011Gans 2003;Kymlicka 1995;Norman 2006;Patten 2014). Before analyzing this argument, I should note that, as far as I know, no philosopher has actually appealed to the argument from inequality to defend cultural nationalism. ...
The principle of cultural nationalism holds that every national community, simply by being a national community, has a prima facie right to self-government. Given that only national communities enjoy this right, proponents must explain why this particular type of group is entitled to the right to self-government. In this paper, I analyze the strategies that a cultural nationalist may adopt to demand the right to self-government. We can distinguish between four types of arguments for cultural nationalism–the Argument from Historical Injustice, the Argument from Inequality, the Instrumental Value Argument, and the Intrinsic Value Argument. I consider the merits and limitations of each. After critically examining these arguments, I conclude that although under certain circumstances it is permissible for a national community to create its own state, none of the arguments successfully justifies the generalized claim that all nations enjoy a prima facie right to self-determination. At the end I consider three positive reasons to reject cultural nationalism. First, the principle lends moral support for colonialism. Second, cultural nationalism undermines inter-group cooperation. Third, it is incompatible with a deep and genuine commitment to multiculturalism.
... Kymlicka is regarded as a liberal nationalist here as there are sufficient similarities between his and other liberal nationalists' views on national identity and nationalism. Kymlicka (1995Kymlicka ( , 2001a and leading liberal nationalists like Miller (1995Miller ( , 2008Miller ( , 2020, Tamir (1993Tamir ( , 2019 (also others like Gans, 2003) often agree on the foundational role of liberalism (or social liberalism) and national identity for the liberal democratic states. They further concur that national identity is key to solidarity among citizens, which is vital for trust, social justice and social cohesion. ...
Full-text available
Rather than vilifying or rejecting it, an increasing number of scholars from two seemingly anti-nationalist cohorts, namely liberal political theory and multiculturalism, have come to argue that nationalism is not intrinsically illiberal or undesirable, but some forms of it (e.g. liberal, multicultural, pluralistic) can be a positive force to meet the demands for nation-building, national identity and national culture, on the one hand, and demands for recognition, respect and accommodation of diversity, on the other. This paper critically examines recent scholarly literature on liberal nationalism and multicultural nationalism. It argues that both projects have developed necessary responses to (1) growing diversity and (2) ethnonational and populist-majoritarian forms of nationalism and hence, are welcome. However, two substantial shortcomings need to be addressed. The first is the nation-building–education nexus and the limits of multicultural education (e.g. the teaching of history), and the second is the nationalism–transnationalism nexus or the normative desirability of dual nationalities. The paper concludes that a morally acceptable form of nationalism (e.g. pluralistic, inclusive or moderate) operating within multi-national and multicultural liberal democracies is theoretically possible, yet its viability is related to the extent to which it addresses the two issues raised, amongst others.
... Furthermore, the extent to which emotionally driven self-classification generates affiliation is unclear. Pro-nationalists sometimes argue that citizens are not emotionally close to the nation (Gans, 2003). Put to an extreme, all citizens perceive that they are the only ones who feel close to the nation and co-nationals. ...
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In this article, I explore whether, and if so how, national identity affects the level of formal democracy in a country. I theorize and then investigate four assumptions: (i) classical nationalist stances hold that national membership depends on the accident of origin and cultural markers learned by early socialization. This non-voluntary identity gives human beings a natural sense of belonging in society and fosters solidarity and trust that lead to better democracy; (ii) drawing on ideas about core values of ideal democracy, the non-voluntarist national identity exhibits an inherent contradiction between in-group bias and intrinsic equality, which leads to lower levels of democracy; (iii) homogeneity in belief about what constitutes national belonging eases the dynamics between majority and minority, which benefits democracy; (iv) the presence of an in-group identity, understood as a shared fellow-feeling, boosts trust and solidarity and thereby benefits democracy. Individual-level data about national identity comes from International Social Survey Programme (ISSP, 2013). Data about democracy comes from Varieties of Democracy (Coppedge et al., 2021; Pemstein et al., 2021). Results indicate that higher levels of non-voluntarist features of national identity are strongly negatively correlated with levels of democracy and heterogeneity in beliefs about what constitutes national belonging relating to a higher level of liberal democracy.
... Apart from the territorial frame (e.g., Dahl 1970;López-Guerra 2005), which questions external voting based on the-all affected principle, have identified two other types of demos-related frames from the literature. Ethnic frames (see e.g., Gans 2003) defend the extension of voting rights on the basis of ethnicity and ancestry and stakeholder frames that denounce the notion that citizens abroad are not affected by decisions taken in the home country (e.g., Bauböck 2007;Owen 2009). The latter is supported by the fact that migrants tend to maintain their ties to home even when their countries of origin are geographically distant (see e.g., Bauböck 2003;Burgess 2014;Jakobson 2014). ...
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The number of countries that have adopted policies allowing emigrants to participate in home country elections from abroad has increased greatly in the last few decades. The enfranchisement of non-resident citizens in home country elections is, nevertheless, somewhat controversial because it gives political influence to individuals who are unlikely to be affected by the outcome of an election. Despite an active debate on external voting rights among political theorists, little is known what the citizens themselves think of this practice. To examine how both non-resident and resident citizens perceive external voting rights, we use two surveys of Finnish citizens from 2019. The first survey was directed to Finnish citizens living abroad (n = 1,949), and the second was conducted using an online panel consisting of Finnish citizens living in Finland (n = 994). Both surveys included items with normative questions about external voting rights, which allows us to compare what resident and non-resident citizens think of the enfranchisement of external citizens. Our findings suggest that resident citizens view external voting rights more negatively than non-resident citizens. The factors associated with these attitudes are also quite different for the two examined populations. For resident citizens more education and ideological self-placement to the left is associated with more positive views of external voting rights, while experience of having voted from abroad and dissatisfaction with democracy in the host country is associated with more positive views among non-resident citizens.
... In cultural nationalism, the position of the state is very meaningful, and all national culture is the primary goal. Nationalism is identified by the claim that national culture is an essential component of people's identity and that the world must be regulated institutionally (Gans, 2003). ...
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This study aims to describe nationalism education for young Indonesian generation in the globalization era. This is descriptive qualitative research conducted in several Senior High Schools. The data were collected through interviews, observation, and documentation. The research subjects were Civic Education teachers in Yogyakarta Province and students who attended the Civic Education classes. The collected data were then analyzed with the inductive analysis technique. The results revealed two nationalism education models for the young generation in the globalization era: promoting nationalism through Civic Education and extracurricular activities. Teachers promote nationalism by developing learning methods, learning materials, learning media, and student worksheets incorporating nationalismvalues. Meanwhile, extracurricular activities in schools were carried out through activities that promote nationalism.
Hong Kong (a special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China) is promoted as “Asia’s World City” due to its interconnectivity, East-meets-West geopolitical orientation, and composition of migrants from both Asian and non-Asian countries. Hong Kong-based scholars have suggested that Hong Kong’s policy towards the social inclusion of non-Chinese communities is ambiguous. For example, the Race Discrimination Ordinance (RDO) lacks an informative description of racial discrimination, which may lead to shortcomings in ethnic minority protections under the current social policy for integration (e.g., ethnic minorities’ experiences related to religious discrimination). Most of the non-White ethnic minority population of Hong Kong consists of low-income South Asians and Southeast Asians, with some ethnic groups (e.g., Nepalese) reported to reside in socially segregated districts. Furthermore, scholars have highlighted that current social policy in Hong Kong appears to be partially or completely different from Western-based approaches to multiculturalism, necessitating further examination to promote social inclusion. To fill this gap, this study explores the perspectives of Chinese and non-Chinese individuals regarding multiculturalism in Hong Kong. The study adopts a qualitative research design and includes interviews with twenty ethnically Chinese and non-Chinese teachers serving minorities in Hong Kong. Three themes emerge in this study: 1) a general understanding of multiculturalism as diverse cultural/ethnic backgrounds, mutual understanding and acceptance, and inclusive social harmony and social justice; 2) perceptions of Hong Kong-based multiculturalism and the perceived hierarchy of ethnic groups; and 3) the main differences between Western and Hong Kong-based multiculturalism, including more acceptance of diversity in the West and geographic location. In sum, this study provides recommendations to ensure a respectful and ethical inclusion of non-White ethnic minorities in Hong Kong, such as developing a tailor-made policy.
Many democratic states provide supports for immigrants who are not fluent speakers of the majority or official language(s). For example, they provide interpreters in courts and hospitals, print administrative forms in multiple languages and employ bilingual staff to provide public services. This paper considers the justification of these policies from the perspective of normative political theory, makes some recommendations about what they ought to consist in and identifies some of their limitations. It argues that instead of appealing to rights, the best justification for these measures has to do with empowering immigrants and enhancing their capabilities. However, although some disadvantages experienced by immigrants for linguistic reasons can be reduced or even eliminated by public policy measures, some important ones cannot. Novel grounds are thus proposed in support of immigrant-receiving societies having a duty to provide meaningful opportunities to learn the majority or official language(s).
In this article, I argue that religious nationalism poses a unique challenge to the liberal theory of religious freedom. In arguing this, the article first develops and defines an ideal type of religious nationalism through an analysis of Hindu-nationalist and religious Zionist thought. I show that religious nationalism in states like India and Israel have the unique status of intimate rivals . They are intimate since they are able to successfully present themselves as the carriers of the authentic character of the nation-state and utilize modern political tools. As a result, they are free of much of the unifying pressures of state nationalism. And they are rivals because they promote a vision of society and politics that fundamentally challenges the political identity of the state. The paper then turns to the justifications and rationales of religious freedom—both in seminal cases and in political and legal scholarship—and applies them to religious nationalism. It argues that the status of intimate rivalry should, depending on which justification of religious freedom we adhere to, change the way in which we morally and legally understand religious nationalism. First, because religious nationalism is intimate— that is, acceptable and mainstream—it should be approached as a part of the culture of the majority. This implies that we should be less concerned about infringements of religious freedom in the case of the adherents and organizations of religious nationalism. Second, the rivalry of religious nationalism is in itself a good reason for the nation-state not to accommodate it.
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The review is devoted to the book by the professor of political science at Princeton University Anna Stilz “Territorial Sovereignty. A Philosophical Exploration” (2019). The main issues of the researcher's work are territoriality, sovereignty, and the system of territorial states. The author proposes a revision of this system from a philosophical point of view. Professor Stilz defends the concept of a state's territorial sovereignty against contemporary criticism. Her position is based on arguments of both cosmopolitanism and liberal nationalism. The researcher recognizes principles of open borders, aid to refugee, global cooperation and criticizes the nationalist interpretation of state sovereignty. However, unlike the view of the cosmopolitan school, A. Stilz believes that the implementation of these liberal principles is possible within the system of territorial states. Moreover, defending state sovereignty, the professor uses ideas of the philosophy of the Enlightenment, Kant's doctrines about the interaction between the individual and the state, and about state sovereignty. The main contribution of this work to the body of political science is three core values: occupancy right, basic justice, and collective self-determination. According to Anna Stilz, three core values can modify the current system of territorial states in accordance with new global challenges.
The Concept of the Political 40 On the precedence of the nation to the state according to conservatism, see Roger Scruton, The Philosopher on Dover Beach (Manchester: Carcanet, 1990), chap. 28. 41 Benito Mussolini The Nationalism Reader
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  • Karl Example
  • Schmittchicago
  • London
For example, Karl Schmitt defines the state as 'a specific entity of the people'. See Karl Schmitt, The Concept of the Political, trans. George Schwab (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1996), p. 19. 40 On the precedence of the nation to the state according to conservatism, see Roger Scruton, The Philosopher on Dover Beach (Manchester: Carcanet, 1990), chap. 28. 41 Benito Mussolini, 'Fascism', in Omar Dahbour and Micheline R. Ishay (eds.), The Nationalism Reader (New York: Humanities Press, 1995), pp. 224–5.
Herder and the Foundations of German Nationalism
  • G Herder In
  • R R Ergang
G. Herder, quoted in R. R. Ergang, Herder and the Foundations of German Nationalism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1931), p. 91.
Marxism and Nationalism, chaps. 5–7. On Ahad Ha'am see
  • Nimni Bauer See
Bauer see Nimni, Marxism and Nationalism, chaps. 5–7. On Ahad Ha'am see Steven J. Zipperstein, Elusive Prophet (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993).
The Morality of Nationalism
  • Judith Lichtenberg
  • Nationalism
Judith Lichtenberg, 'Nationalism, For and (Mainly) Against', in McKim and McMahan (eds.), The Morality of Nationalism, p. 165.
For doubts similar to those expressed here in relation to the centrality ascribed by Gellner to the state in his definition of modern nationalism, see also Taylor
  • Kymlicka
  • Liberalism
  • Culture Community
53 Kymlicka, Liberalism, Community and Culture, pp. 206–19; Kymlicka, Multicultural Citizenship, pp. 49–74. For doubts similar to those expressed here in relation to the centrality ascribed by Gellner to the state in his definition of modern nationalism, see also Taylor, 'Nationalism and Modernity', p. 35.
For doubts similar to those expressed here in relation to the centrality ascribed by Gellner to the state in his definition of modern nationalism, see also Taylor
  • Multicultural Kymlicka
  • Citizenship
Kymlicka, Multicultural Citizenship, pp. 49-74. For doubts similar to those expressed here in relation to the centrality ascribed by Gellner to the state in his definition of modern nationalism, see also Taylor, 'Nationalism and Modernity', p. 35.
On Bauer see Nimni, Marxism and Nationalism, chaps. 5-7. On Ahad Ha'am see
On Bauer see Nimni, Marxism and Nationalism, chaps. 5-7. On Ahad Ha'am see Steven J. Zipperstein, Elusive Prophet (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993).