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The Limits of Nationalism


  • Page extent: 202 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.449 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 320.54
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: JC311 .G255 2002
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Nationalism
    • Liberalism

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521808644 | ISBN-10: 0521808642)

This book discusses the justifications and limits of cultural nationalism from a liberal perspective. Chaim Gans presents a normative typology of nationalist ideologies, distinguishing between cultural liberal nationalism and statist liberal nationalism. Statist nationalisms argue that states have an interest in the cultural homogeneity of their citizenries. Cultural nationalisms argue that people have interests in adhering to their cultures (the adherence thesis) and in sustaining these cultures for generations (the historic thesis). Gans argues that freedom- and identity-based justifications for cultural nationalism common in literature can only support the adherence thesis, while the historical thesis could only be justified by the interest people have in the long-term endurance of their personal and group endeavors. The Limits of Nationalism examines demands often made in the name of cultural nationalism, such as claims for national self-determination, historical rights claims to territories and demands entailed by cultural particularism as opposed to cultural cosmopolitanism.

• An innovative new discussion of cultural nationalism versus statist nationalism from a liberal perspective • An extremely topical and controversial subject with a special focus on nationalism in Israel • Of interest and importance to specialists, international lawyers, international relations theorists, sociologists and historians


Introduction; 1. Nationalist ideologies - a normative typology; 2. The liberal foundations of cultural nationalism; 3. National self-determination; 4. Historical rights and homelands; 5. Nationalism and immigration; 6. Nationalism, particularism and cosmopolitanism; 7. Conclusion.


'The Limits of Nationalism contains stimulating ideas on some of the normative challenges posed by nationalism.' Nations and Nationalism

'A great strength of The Limits of Nationalism is the conceptual clarity of Gans' discussion. He makes a series of enlightening analytical distinctions that contribute to existing debates as well as creating the space for his own particular version of liberal nationalism.' Contemporary Political Theory

'… ranks among the best recent works of liberal nationalist philosophy.' Ethnic & Racial Studies

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