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'THE MOST NATURAL STATE': HERDER AND NATIONALISM

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Abstract:

Herder is often considered a cultural nationalist rather than a political nationalist. Although there is a measure of truth in this assessment, it overlooks the important passages in Herder's writings where he did make political claims about the nation. The article explores the basis of these claims, and tries to articulate what is theoretically interesting and plausible in Herder's account. Herder defended the nationally bounded state (as opposed to the nation-state) with an argument that rests on an individuality principle and a nationality principle. Together these principles inform a variant of nationalism that is liberal and democratic in orientation and that remains relevant for contemporary normative theorists working on a range of problems.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Politics, Princeton University, 246 Corwin Hall, Princeton University, Princeton NJ 08544-1013, USA., Email: apatten@princeton.edu

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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