Philosophy and Social Criticism 42 (4-5):351-356 (2016)

The aim of this article is to identify the main factors of the current crisis of the nation-state and to demonstrate how many of the voids left by this crisis are filled by religions. The main characteristic of the nation-state is the principle of sovereignty. The apogee of the nation-state is the political form of industrialization. National identity is possible only when the state proves to its citizens that the fact of being a member of it carries benefits and privileges and will always bring more. Today, the majority of nation-states, in particular the oldest great powers, no longer have this capability. The weakening of the nation-state began at the end of the 19th century. The first wave of globalization multiplied the cases of reciprocal interferences and trespassed on the theoretical impermeability of the sovereign states. The outcome of the First World War, with the creation of the first supranational body, and much more the outcome of the Second World War, were two important steps of this crisis. The birth of the United Nations, and of other supranational bodies, as well as the creation of the first court called to judge an entire political class, were an assault on the principle of sovereignty. The second wave of globalization, characterized by the free circulation of goods, money, people and cultures, did the rest. Moreover, the countries that ‘invented’ the principle of sovereignty are today in relative decline as new powers are emerging. The nation-state is no longer able to keep its promises. The less effective states become at offering their citizens both meaning and social services, the more do religions tend to reoccupy the public stage. The less national and political legitimacy they have, the more powers use the religious tool against one another
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DOI 10.1177/0191453715625440
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