This chapter investigates the idea of national character deriving from Herder. This, it contends, is the now discredited forerunner of the notion of cultural identity but plays a similar role in securing identification with fellow group members and justifying political claims, in the case of national identity to separate statehood for the nation. Both subjectivist accounts like Renan's and objectivist ones, as in Social Darwinism, are examined, together with the idea's relation to racism and the reasons for its subsequent decline after World War 2.
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