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Cultural Identity and Political Ethics$
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Paul Gilbert

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780748623877

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748623877.001.0001

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National Character

National Character

Chapter:
(p.16) 2 National Character
Source:
Cultural Identity and Political Ethics
Author(s):

Paul Gilbert

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748623877.003.0002

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.

Keywords:   Character, Herder, Nation, Renan, Social Darwinism, Statehood

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