Chapter

Identity

Stephen Backhouse

in Kierkegaard's Critique of Christian Nationalism

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780199604722
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729324 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199604722.003.0006

Series: Oxford Theological Monographs

Identity

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The chapter looks at personhood and identity formation. It considers both the accusation (Adorno, Lukács and others) that Kierkegaard has no sense of society, as well as the counter‐arguments (especially Bukdahl), which attempt to paint Kierkegaard as primarily a communitarian thinker. Instead, Kierkegaard's category of the ‘single individual’ [den Enkelte] offers a fresh account for the relationship between persons and groups. The chapter focuses on Point of View and Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits, showing how Kierkegaardian identity formation rivals commonly accepted models. In light of Kierkegaard's Christological commitments, ‘the individual’ cannot be squared with a merely socio‐economic materialist view and it resists attempts to ground personhood primarily in a group or nation. The civic application for this Christian conception of identity is further explored with reference to Works of Love. Here, love for ‘the neighbour’ stands opposed to that which underwrites patriotism: neighbour love precludes nation love.

Keywords: Kierkegaard; Adorno; Lukács; Bukdahl; personhood; identity; single individual; den Enkelte; Point of View; Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits; Works of Love; neighbour; philosophy of identity

Chapter.  18050 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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