Constitutional Patriotism

Constitutional Patriotism

Jan-Werner Müller
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 186
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  • Book Info
    Constitutional Patriotism
    Book Description:

    Constitutional Patriotismoffers a new theory of citizenship and civic allegiance for today's culturally diverse liberal democracies. Rejecting conventional accounts of liberal nationalism and cosmopolitanism, Jan-Werner Müller argues for a form of political belonging centered on universalist norms, adapted for specific constitutional cultures. At the same time, he presents a novel approach to thinking about political belonging and the preconditions of democratic legitimacy beyond the nation-state. The book takes the development of the European Union as a case study, but its lessons apply also to the United States and other parts of the world.

    Müller's essay starts with an engaging historical account of the origins and spread of the concept of constitutional patriotism-the idea that political attachment ought to center on the norms and values of a liberal democratic constitution rather than a national culture or the "global human community." In a more analytical part, he then proposes a critical conception of citizenship that makes room for dissent and civil disobedience while taking seriously a polity's need for stability over time. Müller's theory of constitutional patriotism responds to the challenges of the de facto multiculturalism of today's states--with a number of concrete policy implications about immigration and the preconditions for citizenship clearly spelled out. And it asks what civic empowerment could mean in a globalizing world.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-2808-1
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[vi])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [vii]-[x])
    (pp. 1-14)

    “CONSTITUTIONAL PATRIOTISM”: the expression will sound in many ears like a contradiction in terms. Constitutions serve, by definition, to limit political power and to render power impersonal; patriotism is about mobilizing men and women for personal political sacrifice. Constitutions are, for the most part, settlements that emerged from interest-based bargains, they are the “autobiography of power”;¹ while patriotism, on the other hand, makes an appeal to transcend self-interest. Constitutions, ideally, articulate not just norms and wider social aspirations, they also protect individual rights; patriotism, however, tempts citizens with illiberal forms of “group-meaningfulness” (George Kateb) and can make them ride roughshod...

    (pp. 15-45)

    NEITHER CONSTITUTIONALISM nor patriotism were invented by Germans. Yet, constitutional patriotism, as a theory distinct from liberal nationalism, traditional republican patriotism, and cosmopolitanism, was elaborated most clearly in post-war West Germany. This does not mean that it constituted a response to exclusively German problems, as critics have never tired of claiming. After all, various countries in Western Europe—even undivided ones—were facing challenges of “integration” and social cohesion. How was one to establish stable democracies and avoid repeating the political breakdowns of the interwar period? How was one to foster civic solidarity in countries segmented into different classes and...

  5. Two NATIONS WITHOUT QUALITIES? Toward a Theory of Constitutional Patriotism
    (pp. 46-92)

    THE PREVIOUS CHAPTER has suggested that critics who see Habermas’s (and, by implication, Sternberger’s) conceptions of constitutional patriotism as an answer to particular German challenges do indeed have a point. Yet to claim that a concept was forged in a particular place and at a particular time is of course not to invalidate it or to suggest that it’s unfit to travel.

    In this chapter, I’d like to broaden the discussion and see whether there can be anything like a general account of constitutional patriotism. I first want to sketch an outline of the elements that, in my view, any...

  6. Three A EUROPEAN CONSTITUTIONAL PATRIOTISM? On Memory, Militancy, and Morality
    (pp. 93-140)

    OVER the years a number of politicians and intellectuals have openly expressed the wish to see the formation of a constitutional patriotism centered on the European Union (EU). To understand the reasons behind this wish (or, in the eyes of some, wishful thinking) I’ll start this chapter with a few words about the development of the EU, at once an “unidentified political object” and, at least for some observers, “an empire in many respects the most interesting in the world.”¹

    From its inception in the 1950s, European integration has been a political end pursued by economic and administrative means. The...

    (pp. 141-148)

    ADVOCATES of constitutional patriotism have to walk a fine line: unlike most of its philosophical competitors, the theory of constitutional patriotism tries to come to terms with the complex nature of contemporary societies. But it denies that social complexity erases the need for liberal democratic attachment. It preserves republican intuitions, in particular about the right of citizens not to be subject to arbitrary power, but it insists that this intuition has to be translated into civic practices for a world in which political attention and political care are scarce resources. Put otherwise, we can’t step back into Florence, but we...

    (pp. 149-152)
  9. NOTES
    (pp. 153-174)
  10. INDEX
    (pp. 175-177)