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Civics Beyond CriticsCharacter Education in a Liberal Democracy$
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Ian MacMullen

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198733614

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198733614.001.0001

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Doing without love

Doing without love

(p.140) Chapter 5 Doing without love
Civics Beyond Critics

Ian MacMullen

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyzes and proposes a solution to the civic motivation problem, where that problem is understood as the gap that commonly exists between people’s moral reasons to contribute to the democratic polities of which they are citizens and their motives to do so. Patriotic love has been the traditional solution to the civic motivation problem, but such love is a severe impediment to critical civic judgment. Identification with the polity is a superior solution because it does not impair civic judgment as severely as patriotic love does. And, although achieving widespread and robust civic identification realistically requires the promotion of a shared civic identity with some culturally specific content, this identity need not be highly exclusive and ethnocentric. Finally, the case for civic identification is defended from the objection that it constitutes a psychological barrier to morally appropriate reconfigurations of political space.

Keywords:   civic motivation, patriotism, love, civic identification, civic judgment, critical thinking, citizenship, cosmopolitanism, nationalism

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