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Mobilizing Meanings

Translocal Identities of the Far Right Web

Patricia Anne Simpson

of National Socialism and its appeal to subsequent generations of Germans have kept a vice-like grip on the construction of national identity and the German political imaginary. 1 Weiss, a director, citizens’ rights activist, and former

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Valentina Mitkova

limited public visibility. The reason these problems are topical is the continued absence of women writers in the canon of Bulgarian authors/literary texts considered representative in terms of national identity and culture. This absence is even more

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The Making of a Fundamental Value

A History of the Concept of Separation of Church and State in the Netherlands

Mart Rutjes

by national developments. The late nineteenth century witnessed an organizational boom of religious groups—Opzoomer had mentioned that it had become impossible to speak of one church in the state, and that there were many religions that the state

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Vincent Martigny

The 2007 Presidential election has been the occasion of a fierce debate between Nicolas Sarkozy and Segolène Royal on the issue of national identity. The victory of Nicolas Sarkozy has led to the creation of a Ministry of National Identity and Immigration, linking in a controversial way the management of newcomers and their acceptance of allegedly historical national "values." This article examines the debate during the campaign. It provides an analysis of the reasons why the definition and defense of national identity was discussed in the course of the election, and outlines the viewpoints of the two candidates on this issue. Finally, it argues that the temptation to fix politically the content of national identity is an ancient one in France. What has been presented as part of Nicolas Sarkozy's "rupture" with the past in this domain is in fact the latest development of a form of "state nationalism" that has been prevailing in France in recent decades.

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Mark A. Wolfgram

Bill Niven, Facing the Nazi Past: United Germany and the Legacy of the Third Reich (London: Routledge, 2002)

Siobhan Kattago, Ambiguous Memory: The Nazi Past and German National Identity (Praeger: Westport, Conn., 2001)

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Textbook Revision and Beyond

New Challenges for Contemporary Textbook Activities

Basabi Khan Banerjee and Georg Stöber

Whereas “classical” textbook revision involved two or more nation-states, this article explores current challenges in this field which are internal or go beyond the level of nation-states: textbook activities after internal wars, the search for a “European textbook,” immigration, international schools, and examinations. All of these challenges touch upon the question of identities which are distinct from “traditional” national identities. The article sketches the respective backgrounds of these current challenges as well as practical aspects that need to be considered. We also question whether solutions can be found by replacing constricted identities with more comprehensive ones.

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Richard Child

Statists claim that robust egalitarian distributive norms only apply between the citizens of a common state. Attempts to defend this claim on nationalist grounds often appeal to the 'associative duties' that citizens owe one another in virtue of their shared national identity. In this paper I argue that the appeal to co-national associative duties in order to defend the statist thesis is unsuccessful. I first develop a credible theory of associative duties. I then argue that although the associative theory can explain why the members of a national community should abide by egalitarian norms, it cannot show that people have a duty to become or to continue as a member of a national community in the first place. The possibility that citizens might exercise their right to reject their national membership undermines the state's ability justifiably to coerce compliance with egalitarian distributive norms and, ultimately, the statist claim itself.

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Bruce Mazlish

Identity is a key concept in psychoanalytic psychology and, consequently, in psychohistorical studies. My task here is not to say anything further about the concept itself – my use of it will be in generalised and unrigorous terms – but to extend its use in psychohistory from its normal attachment to personal, ethnic, religious, and national contexts to the global.

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Arielle Fridson Bikard

In what way does national history shape the interpretation of international events in that country's media? Germany has always had a particularly sensitive and complex relationship with Israel. The Holocaust left such a scar on German identity that the country cannot consider Israel without confronting its own history. In Israel, Germany sees a “reflection“ of its own historical and symbolic space. In this article, I draw together a close reading of major German newspapers with more interdisciplinary theoretical perspectives in order to illuminate the mechanism of what I call “mirror reading,“ and especially to reveal its workings during what I consider a key shift in the discourse on German identity. The German print media, which I treat as the activating agent in German narration of national identity, plays a central role in this reflection by projecting national symbols onto Israel. In particular, I identify the initial reception of the Israeli wall (2003-2004) as a turning point in the debate on German self-understanding after the Holocaust. I establish that there are two extremes in a continuum of how German national history can frame the Israeli wall, one making Germany an active agent and the other a passive one. Employing national symbols in the media distorts the domestic perception of foreign events. My study casts a first light on this little understood—but nonetheless crucial—phenomenon.

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Margit Sinka

Launched in 1998 on the eve of the eighth Day of German Unity, the Denk ich an Deutschland television film series was intended to reframe discourses on national identity formation in a positive light through documentaries focused on the present rather than on the dark German past. While Andreas Kleinert's Niemandsland (No Man's Land, 1998) and Andreas Dresen's Herr Wichmann von der CDU (Vote for Henryk!, 2003), the first and last films televised, do center on the present, they highlight dissonances between personal and national concerns. Still, Kleinert deconstructs the dissonances and artificial syntheses he himself invents in order to reveal them as constructs to be reconfigured by viewers. By showing the inability of politicians to bridge the gap between personal and national concerns due to the erosion of their private identities, Dresen also appeals to viewers to initiate needed societal changes themselves.