Chapter

Nation and Nationalism

Neil MacCormick

in Legal Right and Social Democracy

Published in print March 1984 | ISBN: 9780198255024
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681561 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198255024.003.0013
Nation and Nationalism

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This chapter administers a necessary corrective. The good society is one in which individuals — each individual — are taken seriously; in which each human person has that fair opportunity of material well-being and that just extent of civil liberty which are essential to the flourishing of each one's individuality as a person. There is a problem about this, though. It is the problem as to the concept of ‘an individual’ which is presupposed in the affirmation of such a principle. Among the concepts through which one can explore the connection between the individual and the social are those of ‘nation’ and ‘nationalism’. On one hand, the appeals to the nation and to nationalism have often served to legitimate the ruthless suppression of individuals and minority groups. On the other hand, it seems an arguable proposition that nations are among the preconditions of human individuality.

Keywords: civil liberty; nation; nationalism; minority groups; human individuality

Chapter.  7153 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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