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The Multiculturalism of Fear$
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Jacob T. Levy

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198297123

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198297122.001.0001

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The Impossibility of Universal Nationalism

The Impossibility of Universal Nationalism

(p.69) 3 The Impossibility of Universal Nationalism
The Multiculturalism of Fear

Jacob T. Levy (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Arguments for universalized nationalism, for a nationalism of all nations, must fail. In such a universal argument, ‘nation’ must be a descriptive concept, and it must be one that allows for a world of neatly separated and mutually exclusive nations. But the only accurate sense of ‘nation’ as a descriptive concept includes the observed identification and loyalty that persons feel. Arguments that one ought to be loyal to a particular nation, e.g. to a linguistic nation (Quebec) rather than to a civic nation (Canada), therefore cannot escape circularity. They cannot argue for loyalty to a group that is defined by loyalty in the first place. Moreover, the lack of any criteria that consistently demarcate nations from one another, the fact that some nations are linguistic groups, some are religious groups, some are state‐citizenship groups, and so on, makes universalization impossible.

Keywords:   civic nations, generalizability, identity, linguistic nations, loyalty, membership, nationalism

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