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A universalistic perspective of national identity and nationalism

[journal article]

Tucă, Victor Iulian

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Abstract This article is based on the idea that the nation possesses no reality independent of its images and representation. On the contrary, classical discourse of modern liberalism implies that human beings are engaged in recurrently revising the forms of life and modes of experience which they have inherited and by which "human nature" itself is constituted at in any given time and place. Classical liberalism sees personal identity, not in terms of the mass manufacture of any one type of human being, but as the promotion of the growth of the powers and capacities of autonomous thought and action. In total contradiction with the classic liberalism, the Nazi vision asserts that each individual is a cell belonging to the giant organism that is the people. Nazism was based on the idea that the race is the most important element in defining a human being. Joseph-Arthur de Gobineau discovered that "the engine of history" is not the Marxist class struggle but race struggle. On the other hand, while in the liberal doctrine the individuals take theirs decisions in conformity with theirs own free choices, the communist utopia set up as a certain task, namely, the edification of the bright future of humanity. According to Marxism, nationalism is not a result of a popular movement but it is an action of the bourgeois or intelligentsia towards the masses. The central Marxist's claim that nationalism will not survive capitalism was not proved correct. The argument developed in this article, following the path of Benedict Anderson, is that a nation is more than a text or a discourse that can be understood and deconstructed and it is based on the central myths including symbols, common past, traditions, laws and institutions. The concept of myth is seen as a process through which the history functions as an almost non-conscious foundation for our perception of reality.
Keywords democracy; identity; liberalism; Marxism; myth; nation; nationalism; national identity
Classification Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture; Basic Research, General Concepts and History of Political Science
Document language English
Publication Year 2009
Page/Pages p. 453-470
Journal Studia Politica : Romanian Political Science Review, 9 (2009) 3
ISSN 1582-4551
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works