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Liberal ethnicity: beyond liberal nationalism and minority rights

By Eric P. Kaufmann


This article tries to make the case for a variant of the good life based on a synthesis of liberalism and ethnicity. Liberal communitarianism's treatment of ethnicity tends to fall under the categories of either liberal culturalism or liberal nationalism. Both, it is argued, fail to come to terms with the reality of ethnic community, preferring instead to define ethnicity in an unrealistic, cosmopolitan manner. By contrast, this essay squarely confronts four practices that are central to ethnic communities: symbolic boundary-maintenance; exclusive and inflexible mythomoteurs ; the use of ancestry and race as boundary markers; and the desire among national groups to maintain their ethnic character. This article argues that none of these practices need contravene the tenets of liberalism as long as they are reconstructed so as to minimize entry criteria and decouple national ethnicity from the state. The notion of liberal ethnicity thereby constitutes an important synthesis of liberal and communitarian ends

Topics: polsoc
Publisher: Taylor and Francis
Year: 2000
OAI identifier:

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