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Human And Ethnic Rights In Democratic Transition, Vol. 7 - 2000, No. 1

The Relevance of Nationalism for Democratic Citizenship

, pages: 5-14

The article argues that the theoretical discourses concerning democracy underestimated the relevance of the relationship between nationalism and democratic citizenship and are thus largely responsible for leaving these two crucial concepts up in the air. Understanding of citizenship in democratic theory was never limited to the legal or formal status of a person(s) or his/her (their) full membership in a particular community. Citizenship contains a dimension of wider cultural identity along with the political one. The early classical theory of citizenship, unfortunately and for obvious reasons, did not pay much attention to the cultural dimension of citizenship. Most common critiques of the classical approach already pointed out that the passive acceptance of citizenship should be replaced by an active role, which would include civic responsibilities and civic virtues. This article elaborates the broader understanding of the concept of citizenship, which also includes the complex notion of cultural pluralism which is at the disposal of modern societies. Further effort is directed toward identifying different historically conditioned constructs of democratic citizenship and nationality, in particular, in Europe and their implications for the potential unfolding of global and European citizenship, respectively. The argumentation that follows rests on contemporary liberal arguments focused on the view that citizens in a democratic society share culturally defined responsibilities toward other citizens and that a consistent concept of democratic citizenship will have to accommodate this relevant fact.

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