Chapter

The Jacobin Project: The Nation‐State and the Enemy Within

R. D. Grillo

in Pluralism and the Politics of Difference

Published in print July 1998 | ISBN: 9780198294269
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599378 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198294263.003.0006
 The Jacobin Project: The Nation‐State and the Enemy Within

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With the French Revolution, modernity proclaimed that a nation state should organize itself through a powerful state that would assume responsibility for directing society's affairs and moulding its citizens: the Jacobin project. Nonetheless, there were two contrasting visions of how the French nation state might be constituted. For much of the nineteenth century, the view that it should include all those who shared its values encouraged French Jews, emancipated by the Revolution, to embrace assimilation. In the late nineteenth century, however, they were confronted with an alternative vision of France, one from which the Jews were excluded. The wave of anti‐semitism culminating in the Dreyfus Affair posed questions about the nation state that returned in late twentieth century debates in France and elsewhere about the right to difference and the desirability or otherwise of pluralist conceptions of society.

Keywords: anti‐semitism; assimilation; difference; Dreyfus Affair; France; French Revolution; Jacobin project; Jews; modernity; nation state

Chapter.  11119 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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