Patriotism and pluralism: identification and compliance in the post-national polity

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Palumbo, Antonino (2009)
  • Publisher: Co-Action Publishing
  • Journal: Ethics & Global Politics (issn: 1654-6369, eissn: 1654-4951)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3402/egp.v2i4.2002
  • Subject: cosmopolitanism; communitarianism; identity; nationalism; governance; Europe | Political theory; Philosophy; Ethics; Social theory

The paper discusses the identity-building power and motivational force of patriotism. The basic idea underlying the discussion is that far from being a mere irrational and destructive force, patriotism is an expression of ‘existing human social identity.’ Thus, it argues that rather than dismissing patriotism altogether as an undesirable and/or irrational phenomenon, we need to understand how to discriminate between alternative forms of patriotism while investigating what constitutional reforms might be required to support those forms of patriotic identification that are morally desirable. I argue that to flourish, desirable forms of patriotism (what I call Ethical Patriotism) require a political milieu where forms of subsidiarity, functional representation and local participation combine to produce a more democratic and decentralized system of governance. Applied to a post-national polity like the EU, this conclusion invites to rethink the European constitutional project so as to make it less elitist and more open to influence and participation from below. Keywords: cosmopolitanism; communitarianism; identity; nationalism; governance; Europe (Published: 4 December 2009) Citation: Ethics & Global Politics, Vol. 2, No. 4, 2009, pp. 321–348. DOI: 10.3402/egp.v2i4.2002
  • References (7)

    Jean Jacques Rousseau's remarks on patriotism are mostly confined to the Discourse on Political Economy (1755), the dedicatory letter of A Discourse on Inequality (1754) and the Considerations on the Government of Poland (1772). French originals now in, The Political Writings of Jean Jacques Rousseau, ed. C.E. Vaughaned (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1915).

    Jean Jacques Rousseau, 'The Social Contract or Principles of Political Right', in The Social Contract and the Discourses, ed. J.H. Brumfitt and J.C. Hall, and trans. G.D.H. Cole (London: Everyman's Library, 1993), 198.

    Jean Jacques Rousseau, 'Discourse on Political Economy', in The Social Contract, 142.

    Jean Jacques Rousseau, 'The Social Contract', in 301.

    For a restatement of Hobbes' compliance problem in game theoretical terms, see David Gauthier, Morals by Agreement (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986); Jean Hampton, Hobbes and the Social Contract Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986); and Gregory Kavka, Hobbesian Moral and Political Theory (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1986).

    As Anthony Smith explains, for the counter-revolutionaries, This Durkheimian theme is at the center of Paul Hirst, 'Associative Democracy', Dissent, Spring 1994: 241 7, and 'Renewing Democracy through Associations', Political Quarterly (2002): 409 21. See also Reiner Eichenberger and Bruno Frey, 'Democratic Governance for a Globalized World', Kyklos 55, no. 2 (2002): 265 88.

    Cf. J.S. Dryzek, 'Transnational Democracy', Journal of Political Philosophy 7, no. 1 (1999): 30 51.

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