Biblioteca della Libertà

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Categoria/Category: Anno XXVIII, n. 123, ottobre-dicembre 1993
Editore/Publisher: Centro Einaudi

Abstract

Abstract disponibile solo in lingua inglese

This is the text of the tenth Fulvio Guerrini Lecture, organised by the Centro Einaudi and delivered on June 22, 1993 in Turin, Italy. The author vindicates the phenomenon of nationality and argues that civil society could not exist without it. Nationalism arises out of nationality. It adds competitive, emulative, combative, aggressive, bellicose elements to nationality. Nationalism is embodied in movements and parties with visible leaders and with members and followers as well: it has programmes and platforms. Nationality is a subtler thing but it is no less real. Nationality is a phenomenon fundamentally of collective self-consciousness, which in turn is a state of mind, a state of belief. But nationality is also much more than that: it is a collectivity with a structure. Civil society is not constituted entirely by contractual relationships. The collective self-consciousness of most of the members of a civil society is a precondition for the functioning of the larger society within which the contractual order is effective. The aggressiveness of nationalism has no place in civil society. On the contrary, nationality is not only compatible with civil society, it is indeed a necessary ingredient for it, perhaps even a precondition. Being a civil society is perfectly compatible with being a national society; in fact it is impossible for it to be otherwise. On the other hand, a society in which nationality is driven into the extreme form of nationalism will have to overcome many obstacles if it is to become or remain civil.

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