Civic nationalism, also known as liberal nationalism, is a form of nationalism identified by political philosophers who believe in an inclusive form of nationalism that adheres to traditional liberal values of freedom, tolerance, equality, and individual rights.
Civic nationalists often defend the value of national identity by saying that individuals need a national identity in order to lead meaningful, autonomous lives and that democratic polities need national identity in order to function properly. Civic nationalism is frequently contrasted with ethnic nationalism.
Civic nationhood is a political identity built around shared citizenship within the state. Thus, a "civic nation" is defined by not language or culture but political institutions and liberal principles, which its citizens pledge to uphold. Membership in the civic nation is open to anyone who shares those values.
In theory, a civic nation or state does not aim to promote one culture over another. German philosopher Jürgen Habermas argued that immigrants to a liberal-democratic state need not assimilate into the host culture but only accept the principles of the country's constitution (constitutional patriotism).
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Civic nationalism lies within the traditions of rationalism and liberalism, but as a form of nationalism it is contrasted with ethnic nationalism. Ernest Renan is often thought to be an early civic nationalist. Philosopher Hans Kohn was one of the first to differentiate civic nationalism from ethnic nationalism in his 1944 publication The Idea of Nationalism: A Study in Its Origins and Background. Membership of the civic nation is considered voluntary, as in Renan's classical definition in "Qu'est-ce qu'une nation?" of the nation as a "daily referendum" characterized by the "will to live together". Civic-national ideals influenced the development of representative democracy in countries such as the United States and France (see the United States Declaration of Independence of 1776, and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789).
The Corsican nationalist movement organized around the FLNC is giving a civic definition of the Corsican nation ("destiny community") in the continuity of Pasquale Paoli and the ideas of the Lumières.
The Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru, which advocate independence of their respective nations from the United Kingdom, proclaim themselves to be civic nationalist parties, in which they advocate the independence and popular sovereignty of the people living in their nation's society, not individual ethnic groups.
The Union of Cypriots define its ideology as Cypriot nationalism, a civic nationalism that focuses on the shared identity of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. It highlights both communities' common culture, heritage and traditions as well as economic, political, and social rights. It also supports the reunification of Cyprus and the end of foreign interference by Greece, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.
The main criticism to civic nationalism comes from ethnic nationalism, which considers that the former was invented solely to act against the latter.
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- Tamir, Yael. 1993. Liberal Nationalism. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-07893-9[page needed]; Will Kymlicka. 1995. Multicultural Citizenship. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-827949-3[page needed]; David Miller. 1995. On Nationality. Archived 1 June 2000 at the Wayback Machine Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-828047-5.
- Kymlicka, Will. 1995. Multicultural Citizenship. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-827949-3. For criticism, see: Patten, Alan. 1999. "The Autonomy Argument for Liberal Nationalism." Nations and Nationalism. 5(1): 1-17.
- Miller, David. 1995. On Nationality. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-828047-5. For criticism, see: Abizadeh, Arash. 2002. "Does Liberal Democracy Presuppose a Cultural Nation? Four Arguments." American Political Science Review 96 (3): 495-509; Abizadeh, Arash. 2004. "Liberal Nationalist versus Postnational Social Integration." Nations and Nationalism 10(3): 231-250.
- ANNA STILZ. "Civic Nationalism and Language Policy". Philosophy & Public Affairs. 37 (3): 257.
- Ernest Renan. "What is a Nation?", 1882; cf. Chaim Gans, The Limits of Nationalism, Cambridge University Press, 2003, p. 11.
- Tamir, Yael (Yuli) (11 May 2019). "Not So Civic: Is There a Difference Between Ethnic and Civic Nationalism?". Annual Review of Political Science. 22 (1): 419–434. doi:10.1146/annurev-polisci-022018-024059. ISSN 1094-2939.
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- "Els valors republicans com a pilar de la nostra societat" (in Catalan).
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- Snay, Mitchell (2007). Fenians, Freedmen, and Southern Whites: Race and Nationality in the Era of Reconstruction. Louisiana State University Press. ISBN 9780807132739.
- The dictionary definition of when in Rome, do as the Romans do at Wiktionary