Theorizing Nationalism

Edited by Ronald Beiner

Subjects: Political Theory
Series: SUNY series in Political Theory: Contemporary Issues
Paperback : 9780791440667, 338 pages, December 1998
Hardcover : 9780791440650, 338 pages, January 1999

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Table of contents


Introduction: Nationalism's Challenge to Political Philosophy
Ronald Beiner

Chapter 1 Nationalism
John Dunn

Chapter 2 Theorizing Nationalism (Normatively): The First Steps
Wayne Norman

Chapter 3 Theoretical Difficulties in the Study of Nationalism
Yael Tamir

Chapter 4 Nationalism and the Narcissism of Minor Differences
Michael Ignatieff

Chapter 5 The Myth of the Civic Nation
Bernard Yack

Chapter 6 Cultural Nationalism, Neither Ethnic nor Civic
Kai Nielsen

Chapter 7 Misunderstanding Nationalism
Will Kymlicka

Chapter 8 Modernity and Cultural Vulnerability: Should Ethnicity Be Privileged?
Brian Walker

Chapter 9 How Liberal Can Nationalism Be?
Judith Lichtenberg

Chapter 10 Nation and Nationalism
Neil MacCormick

Chapter 11 The New Tribalism: Notes on a Difficult Problem
Michael Walzer

Chapter 12 Nationalism and Modernity
Charles Taylor

Chapter 13 Self-Government Revisited
Brian Barry

Chapter 14 The First Person Plural
Roger Scruton

Chapter 15 The Incoherence of Nationalism
Bhikhu Parekh



Presents some of the best work by political theorists on themes concerning citizenship, national identity, and the philosophical meaning of political membership.


Theorizing Nationalism directly addresses the normative dimensions of nationalism. A sequel to Theorizing Citizenship, this volume brings theoretical and philosophical clarity to an examination of the political appeal and normative status of nationalist claims. Some of the themes it discusses are the following: whether there is a "right" to collective self-determination, the relationship between nationalism and modernity, whether nationalism and liberalism can be reconciled, whether there is a theoretically legitimate distinction between so-called civic and ethnic versions of nationalism, and the "existential" attractiveness of nationalism.

Ronald Beiner is Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto. He is the editor of Theorizing Citizenship, also published by SUNY Press, and the recipient of the Canadian Political Science Association's Macpherson Prize for What's the Matter with Liberalism?


"It is exceptional to have so many of the leading figures in the debate all together in one volume. Unlike most volumes of collected essays which are the proceedings of a conference where the papers are often of very different quality, all these essays are strong. With the rise of ethnic and nationalist movements in the former Soviet bloc at the same time that globalization is supposed to be taking place, there is a great deal of interest in nationalism and its civic appeal. Furthermore, in academic circles the issue of whether or not nationalism can be benign (liberal), which is covered wonderfully in this book, is very important in the debate about liberalism, communitarianism, and civic republicanism. " — Simone Chambers, University of Colorado at Boulder

"Beiner has selected some of the best, most thoughtful discussions in political theory on nationalism. There is a lot of work on nationalism by sociologists and historians, but this volume incorporates work by political philosophers and political theorists. It therefore performs a valuable, and much needed, service. " — Margaret Moore, University of Waterloo

"Theorizing Nationalism is an excellent collection of essays on a topic that is highly significant, to say the least. Beiner has done us a favor by drawing into one volume thought-provoking essays that previously were scattered in many places. Besides the virtue of its high quality, this book stands out for highlighting political theoretical and philosophical reflections on the national question. Few if any other collections have this disciplinary bent. " — Joan Cocks, Mount Holyoke College