Nations beyond nationalism

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 50 (4):378 – 394 (2007)
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Abstract

Is the project of liberal democracy dissociable from nationality? In this paper I outline and defend the main components of a recent and emerging answer to this question, which I term the "national pluralism" approach. I distinguish national pluralism from both national neutrality and liberal nationalism. In contrast to national neutrality, national pluralism holds that there is an important link between liberal democracy and nationality. In contrast to liberal nationalism, it pleads for pluralistic ways of accommodating multiple national identities within the same political community. Moreover, national pluralism accords no special standing to existing nations. If new national identities emerge, such as an overarching national identity in multinational states or a European national identity, then these should be accordingly recognized. In addition, it can be argued from within this approach that there are also non-identity reasons for pursuing nation-building practices at supranational levels.

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