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Are there good and bad nationalisms?

Brown, D. (1999) Are there good and bad nationalisms? Nations and Nationalism, 5 (2). pp. 281-302.

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Writers on nationalism have continued to use the distinction between civic and cultural nationalisms; and to suggest that the former has liberal connotations while the latter is intrinsically illiberal and authoritarian. This rests in part on the argument that the civic bond is rational and voluntaristic while the cultural bond is irrational and ascriptive; in part on the argument that the presence of the middle classes is conductive to liberal politics; and in part on the argument that cultural nationalism is illiberal because of its reactive origins. These arguments are critically examined, and then are reformulated to suggest that the liberalism or illiberalism of nationalism might not be related to its cultural or civic basis, but might depend both upon whether the class articulating the nationalism is marginalised or upwardly mobile; and upon whether the wider society becomes focused upon ressentiment in relation to threatening others, or on developing a self-generated identity.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Politics and International Studies
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Inc.
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