A civic profession of faith: Rousseau's and nationalism

Mads Qvortrup

in The Political Philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print December 2003 | ISBN: 9780719065804
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700495 | DOI:
A civic profession of faith: Rousseau's and nationalism

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Previously unrecognised by scholars of nationalism, Rousseau was, in fact, the founder of the modern doctrine of nationalism. This chapter shows how Rousseau succeeded in developing a case for social cohesion and the necessity of having a common culture in a society. In developing a case for nationalism as a ‘civic profession of faith’ he continued—and redeveloped—a doctrine begun by Machiavelli, which was later to be further elaborated by Alexis de Tocqueville and present-day theorists and practitioners of social capital, like the political scientist Robert Putnam and the English politician David Blunkett. It is argued that Rousseau accomplished the feat of developing a new doctrine of civic religion (i.e., nationalism) and that he succeeded in combining a defence for this doctrine with a new place for Christianity (which was consistent with the original apolitical teachings of Christ). The chapter also presents an account of Rousseau's thinking on international politics, including something as timely as an account of his opposition against the establishment of a European superstate.

Keywords: Jean-Jacques Rousseau; social cohesion; common culture; Machiavelli; Alexis de Tocqueville; social capital; civic religion; Christianity; international political; European superstate

Chapter.  9196 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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