State and nation in Mazzini's political thought

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Abstract:

This paper focuses on Mazzini as an ‘exemplary’ liberal nationalist, whose theory depends upon the difficult marriage of distinct ideological positions. The contention is not that liberalism and nationalism are necessarily incompatible, only that neglect of close textual analysis in specific cases has led to claims that are both theoretically untenable and historically misleading. By concentrating on Mazzini's theory of the state, I aim to highlight an area of his thought where he might have been expected to take full advantage of available liberal argument. His failure to recognize the significance of liberal constitutional theory for a national polity should lead us to modify the conventional characterization of his view. On the wider question, a liberal nationalism may still remain a possibility; clinching arguments, however, cannot be drawn from Mazzini.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Dept. of Politics, University of Wales, James Callaghan Building, Singleton Park, Swansea, SA2 8PP.

Publication date: January 1, 1999

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