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Hegel on Political Identity

Patriotism, Nationality, Cosmopolitanism


Publication Year: 2011

In Hegel on Political Identity, Lydia Moland provocatively draws on Hegel's political philosophy to engage sometimes contentious contemporary issues such as patriotism, national identity, and cosmopolitanism. Moland argues that patriotism for Hegel indicates an attitude toward the state, whereas national identity is a response to culture.

Published by: Northwestern University Press


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pp. ix-x

Research for this book has been supported by several institutions, all of which I am honored to acknowledge here: the American Academy in Berlin, the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna, the Liguria Center for the Arts and Humanities in Bogliasco, Italy, and the Babson Faculty Research Fund. I am especially grateful for the support of Babson Col-...

List of Abbreviations of Works by Hegel

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pp. xi-xii

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Introduction: Hegel on Practical and Political Identity

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pp. 3-23

Heine here succinctly summarizes the difficulties involved in having love of one’s country be part of one’s ethical life. Membership in a political entity can inspire a patriotism that is both love of country and of human progress: love of country need not be partisan or aggressive. But it can, all too easily, be exactly that. It can be what we now often call ...

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1. The Sources of Political Identity: From “Anthropology” to Civil Society

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pp. 24-46

In the interest of tracing Hegel’s discussion of political identity to its roots, I begin with a condensed description of the development of agency in general as Hegel depicts it in the Encyclopedia’s Philosophy of Spirit. Hegel’s description of political identity builds first on the more abstract components of agency, for instance temperament, self-consciousness, ...

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2. Patriotism and the Nature of the State

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pp. 47-75

With this survey of the development of agency from “Anthropology” to civil society as background, I turn to Hegel’s discussion of specifically political components of practical identity as found in his discussion of the state. Hegel begins his theory of the state by considering what the citizen’s disposition toward the state should be. This should not surprise ...

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3. Das Volk als Staat: National Identity as a Component of Political Identity

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pp. 76-96

Hegel’s definition of patriotism, I argued in the last chapter, does not primarily concern membership or pride in one’s country. Hegel describes patriotism as local engagement, as a way of shaping arbitrary desires into owned desires, and as requiring consciousness of political ideals. In discussing these characteristics, he essentially neglects mention of affection ...

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4. Agency in World History

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pp. 97-125

The modern citizen, then, is according to Hegel best served by membership in a political entity that combines the rational institutions of the state with the culture of a nation. This combination allows the individual to retain the particularities that enable him to understand himself as an individual while subjecting those particularities to the analysis implicit in ...

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5. Political Identity and Absolute Spirit

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pp. 126-148

Hegel’s writings on world history establish humans as on the one hand deeply formed by their national identity; on the other, the influence of national identity is checked both by individual moral conviction and by universal norms of freedom. Hegel takes up this delicate balance again in “Absolute Spirit,” the last major part of his system. “Absolute Spirit” is ...

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6. Evolving Nationalities, Ethical Cosmopolitanism: Hegel Beyond the Nation State

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pp. 149-175

In the previous chapters, I have argued that Hegel’s depiction of political identity is rooted in the pattern of earning and owning inherited characteristics as described in his “Anthropology”; that his definition of patriotism is focused on citizenship and not nationality; and that national identity is nevertheless a central component of identity in Hegel’s de-...

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pp. 176-178

I began this study with Heinrich Heine’s terse reminder that love of country can lead us in two very different ethical directions. It can be an ethical foundation that enables us to care about our compatriots and about those living beyond our political borders; or it can instead be a loyalty in whose service we narrow our ethical sensibilities to the exclusion of ...


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pp. 179-206

Works Cited

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pp. 207-215


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pp. 217-223

E-ISBN-13: 9780810165311
Print-ISBN-13: 9780810127418
Print-ISBN-10: 0810127415

Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2011

Edition: New
Volume Title: 1

OCLC Number: 794698878
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Hegel on Political Identity

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Political science -- Philosophy
  • Political psychology.
  • Identity (Psychology).
  • Nationalism -- Moral and ethical aspects.
  • Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich, -- 1770-1831 -- Political and social views.
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