Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Program

Political Science

Supervisor

Dr. Charles Jones

Abstract

This project deals with the ongoing importance of nations, cultures, and politics in the modern world, and with the complex and layered relationships between them. Despite the expanding phenomenon of globalization, which promises to open up borders and tear down the boundaries between peoples, nations remain the most important actors in international politics and nationalism continues to be a potent force throughout the world. This project explores the significance of nations and cultures for politics, with special emphasis on the importance of nationalism and nationalist theory in the twenty-first century. I argue that there are significant gaps in the literature on republican political theory and on nationalism, and I address these gaps by turning to the writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Rousseau’s philosophy uniquely combines nationalism with republican citizenship and participatory democracy, and his perspective shares many commonalities with David Miller, a contemporary nationalist thinker who combines the principle of nationality with republican citizenship. I argue that the theories of Rousseau and Miller form the foundations of republican nationalism; a unique strand of nationalist theory that is distinct from other perspectives―and from liberal nationalism in particular―and should be treated as separate in the literature. I seek to develop republican nationalism as a theoretical framework that looks at the major questions in the literature from a novel perspective and provides new solutions to some of the discipline’s most persistent problems. By identifying republican nationalism as an approach that is firmly rooted in the wider traditions of republicanism and nationalism, and by demonstrating that this approach is distinct from liberal nationalism and other alternative perspectives, I hope to make valuable contributions to the literature and help move the debate within nationalist theory forward. I conclude by emphasizing the continuing relevance of nations, cultures, and politics in the modern world, and by stressing that nationalism is likely to remain a potent force in world affairs. For this reason, it is still as crucial as ever to treat nations and nationalism as serious subjects of academic study, and to keep the debates currently taking place within nationalist theory moving forward.


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