Nationalism, political community and the representation of society: Or, why feeling at home is not a substitute for public space

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69 Scopus citations

Abstract

Discussion of political and legal citizenship requires attention to social solidarity. Current approaches to citizenship, however, tend to proceed on abstract bases, neglecting this sociological dimension. This is partly because a tacit understanding of what constitutes a 'society' has been developed through implicit reliance on the idea of 'nation'. Issues of social belonging are addressed more directly in communitarian and multiculturalist discourses. Too often, however, different modes of solidarity and participation are confused. Scale is often neglected. The model of 'nation' again prefigures the ways in which membership and difference are constructed. The present paper suggests the value of maintaining a distinction among relational networks, cultural or legal categories, and discursive publics. The first constitute community in a sense quite different from either of the second and third. Categories, however, are increasingly prominent in largescale social life. But the idea of the public is crucial to conceptualizing democratic participation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-231
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Theory
Volume2
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 1999
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • citizenship
  • community
  • identity
  • nationalism
  • public space

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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