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.
Nationalism has had a complex relation with the discipline of political theory during the 20th century. Political theory has often been deeply uneasy with nationalism in relation to its role in the events leading up to and during the Second World War. Many theorists saw nationalism as an overly narrow and potentially irrationalist doctrine. In essence it embodied a closed vision of the world. This paper focuses on one key contributor to the immediate post-war debate—Karl Popper—who retained deep misgivings about nationalism until the end of his life, and indeed saw the events of the early 1990s (shortly before his death) as a confirmation of this distrust. Popper was one of a number of immediate post war writers, such as Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises, who shared this unease with nationalism. They all had a powerful effect on social and political thought in the English-speaking world. Popper particularly articulated a deeply influential perspective which fortuitously encapsulated a cold war mentality in the 1950s. In 2005 Popper’s critical views are doubly interesting, since the last decade has seen a renaissance of nationalist interests. The collapse of the Berlin wall in 1989, and the changing political landscape of international and domestic politics, has seen once again a massive growth of interest in nationalism, particularly from liberal political theorists and a growing, and, at times, immensely enthusiastic academic literature, trying to provide a distinctively benign benediction to nationalism.
A History of Richard Turner’s Eclipse and Resurgence
. Andrew Nash (1999) compellingly argued that Turner and the New Left failed to engage with the salience of nationalism. This article aims to give historical texture to this account, to qualify this criticism by pointing to other factors that led to
While the rise of populism in Western Europe over the past three decades has received a great deal of attention in the academic and popular literature, less attention has been paid to the rise of its opposite— anti-populism. This short article examines the discursive and stylistic dimensions of the construction and maintenance of the populism/anti-populism divide in Western Europe, paying particular attention to how anti-populists seek to discredit populist leaders, parties and followers. It argues that this divide is increasingly antagonistic, with both sides of the divide putting forward extremely different conceptions of how democracy should operate in the Western European political landscape: one radical and popular, the other liberal. It closes by suggesting that what is subsumed and feared under the label of the “populist threat” to democracy in Western Europe today is less about populism than nationalism and nativism.
African nationalism with a comparative analysis to that of the current political leadership in South Africa today. The question of education, land and race has been omnipresent in the South African narrative and therefore this research is important in
This paper argues that the two models of collective responsibility David Miller presents in National Responsibility and Global Justice do not apply to nations. I first consider the 'like-minded group' model, paying attention to three scenarios in which Miller employs it. I argue that the feasibility of the model decreases as we expand outwards from the smallest group to the largest, since it increasingly fails to capture all members of the group adequately, and the locus of any like-mindedness becomes too abstract and vague to have the causal force the model requires. I thereafter focus on the 'cooperative practice' model, examining various ways in which the analogy Miller draws between an employee-led business and a nation breaks down. In concluding I address the concern that my arguments have worrying consequences and suggest that, on the contrary, the rejection of the idea of national responsibility is a positive move.
Onions, Artichokes and 'The Debate' on the Nation and Modernity
Nationalism and Modernism, by Anthony D. Smith. London & New York: Routledge, 1998. ISBN: 0415063418.
Theories of Nationalism: A Critical Introduction, by Umut Özkrimili. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Macmillan, 2000. ISBN: 0333777123.
Understanding Nationalism, edited by Montserrat Guibernau and John Hutchinson. Cambridge: Polity. ISBN: 0745624022.
The Ariadne’s thread that runs through, and connects, the articles in this issue of Theoria is the modern state. How should the state approach welfare policy? Is the state’s power as absolute as once it had been? What is the importance of nationalism for states? What assumptions about the relationship between the state and civil society should be examined, and how? What, especially in a developing society such as South Africa, is—or should be—the relationship between the state and the poor? These are the overarching questions that knit together the contributions.
The Postsocialist Myth of Capitalism and the Ideological Suspension of Postmodernity
There is a widespread tendency to see the perils of postsocialism in the revival of the ghosts and myths from the past—namely ethnocentrism, nationalism, exclusiveness, bickering, collectivist-authoritarianism, expansionist chauvinism, and victimisation. I suggest that postsocialism's perils rest with a myth from the future, namely, the myth of capitalism. Those perils, I argue, are rooted in the fetishisation of capitalism by the postsocialist societies as a reflection of their deeply ingrained teleological way of perceiving the future. Political leaders are taking advantage of this situation by putting themselves in the position of those who would lead toward such a utopia. As a consequence, individual freedoms are sacrificed at the altar of communitarian bliss. I suggest that the only hope that we have to secularise the newly re-religiosised postsocialist societies rests with intellectuals.
Alexander Motyl, Slavoj Zizek, Glyn Daly, Will Kymlicka, Nigel Gibson, and G.A. Cohen
Revolutions, Nations, Empires: Conceptual Limits and Theoretical Possibilities, by Alexander J. Motyl. New York: Columbia University Press, 1999. ISBN: 0231114311. Imperial Ends: The Decay, Collapse, and Revival of Empires, by Alexander J. Motyl. New York: Columbia University Press, 2001. ISBN: 0231121105. Reviewed by Roger Deacon
Conversations with Zizek, by Slavoj Zizek and Glyn Daly. Polity: Cambridge, 2004. ISBN: 0745628974 Reviewed by Richard Pithouse
Politics in the Vernacular: Nationalism, Multiculturalism, and Citizenship, by Will Kymlicka. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. ISBN: 0199240981. Reviewed by Laurence Piper
Frantz Fanon: The Postcolonial Imagination, by Nigel Gibson. Cambridge: Polity, 2003. ISBN: 0745622615. Reviewed by Richard Pithouse
If You’re an Egalitarian, How Come You’re So Rich? by G.A. Cohen. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2001. ISBN: 0674006933. Reviewed by Ben Parker