Why Nationalism
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Why Nationalism

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Why nationalism is a permanent political force-and how it can be harnessed once again for liberal ends

Around the world today, nationalism is back-and it's often deeply troubling. Populist politicians exploit nationalism for authoritarian, chauvinistic, racist, and xenophobic purposes, reinforcing the view that it is fundamentally reactionary and antidemocratic. But Yael (Yuli) Tamir makes a passionate argument for a very different kind of nationalism-one that revives its participatory, creative, and egalitarian virtues, answers many of the problems caused by neoliberalism and hyperglobalism, and is essential to democracy at its best. In Why Nationalism, she explains why it is more important than ever for the Left to recognize these qualities of nationalism, to reclaim it from right-wing extremists, and to redirect its power to progressive ends.

Far from being an evil force, nationalism's power lies in its ability to empower individuals and answer basic human needs. Using it to reproduce cross-class coalitions will ensure that all citizens share essential cultural, political, and economic goods. Shifting emphasis from the global to the national and putting one's nation first is not a way of advocating national supremacy but of redistributing responsibilities and sharing benefits in a more democratic and just way. In making the case for a liberal and democratic nationalism, Tamir also provides a compelling original account of the ways in which neoliberalism and hyperglobalism have allowed today's Right to co-opt nationalism for its own purposes.

Provocative and hopeful, Why Nationalism is a timely and essential rethinking of a defining feature of our politics.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 224 pages
  • 140 x 216 x 25.4mm | 430.91g
  • New Jersey, United States
  • English
  • 7 b/w illus. 1 table.
  • 0691190100
  • 9780691190105
  • 335,407

Review quote

"[Tamir] courageously defends moderate and universal nationalist outlooks, masterfully distinguishes between these and the murky populist wave washing over societies worldwide and endangering the Western democratic order . . . . [Why Nationalism] is outstanding in that it combines her background as a political philosopher with her many years of hands-on political experience, something that can't be said of many scholars in the West who are now focusing on these issues."---Shlomo Avineri, Haaretz "Interesting and provocative. . . . Highly ambitious."---Jonathan Derbyshire, Financial Times "Tamir's work makes an important contribution by forcing us to recognize that national feeling, however defined, isn't going away. Her argument is that the resurgence in nationalism derives in part from a reaction against an economic structure whose benefits flow mostly to those at the top, those who have rejected any responsibility for helping their fellow members of the national community. That is an argument progressives can and should incorporate into their presentation. But we can't do that if we reject the very idea of a national community, what Tamir defines as the 'political we.'"---Ian Reifowitz, Daily Kos "Free-market libertarians and social democrats both have lots to learn from this measured and thoughtful book."---David Conway, Jewish Chronicle "Progressives are getting nostalgic for nationalism. . . . Why Nationalism is an important contribution to this growing literature. Yael Tamir elegantly recounts nationalism's virtues."---Peter Spiro, Lawfare
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About Yael Tamir

Yael (Yuli) Tamir is president of Shenkar College of Engineering and Design and adjunct professor at the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford. A founder of the Israeli peace movement, she is a former Labor Party member of the Knesset and formerly served as Israel's minister of education and minister of immigration absorption. She is the author of Liberal Nationalism (Princeton). She lives in Tel Aviv.
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Rating details

51 ratings
3.49 out of 5 stars
5 20% (10)
4 31% (16)
3 31% (16)
2 14% (7)
1 4% (2)
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