National Identity

David Miller

in On Nationality

Published in print October 1997 | ISBN: 9780198293569
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599910 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Political Theory

 National Identity

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Nations must be clearly distinguished from states on the one hand and ethnic groups on the other. A nation is a community (1) constituted by shared belief and mutual commitment, (2) extended in history, (3) active in character, (4) connected to a particular territory, and (5) marked off from other communities by its distinct public culture. The modern idea of nationality is distinguished from older beliefs about cultural differences between peoples by its emphasis on collective self‐determination. Although national identities involve elements of myth, this does not show that it is irrational to embrace them. Nor do they prevent individuals making their own choices about how to live.

Keywords: choice; community; culture; ethnicity; myth; nation; national identity; personal identity; self‐determination; state

Chapter.  13218 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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