Patriotism and pluralism: identification and compliance in the post-national polity

Ethics and Global Politics 2 (4):321-348 (2009)

Abstract

The paper discusses the identity-building power and motivational force of patriotism. The basic idea underlying the discussion is that far from being a mere irrational and destructive force, patriotism is an expression of ‘existing human social identity.’ Thus, it argues that rather than dismissing patriotism altogether as an undesirable and/or irrational phenomenon, we need to understand how to discriminate between alternative forms of patriotism while investigating what constitutional reforms might be required to support those forms of patriotic identification that are morally desirable. I argue that to flourish, desirable forms of patriotism (what I call Ethical Patriotism) require a political milieu where forms of subsidiarity, functional representation and local participation combine to produce a more democratic and decentralized system of governance. Applied to a post-national polity like the EU, this conclusion invites to rethink the European constitutional project so as to make it less elitist and more open to influence and participation from below. Keywords: cosmopolitanism; communitarianism; identity; nationalism; governance; Europe (Published: 4 December 2009) Citation: Ethics & Global Politics, Vol. 2, No. 4, 2009, pp. 321–348. DOI: 10.3402/egp.v2i4.2002

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