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Constitutional Patriotism
Jan-Werner Müller

Hardcover | 2007 | $38.95 | £32.95 | ISBN: 9780691118598
192 pp. | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
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Constitutional Patriotism offers a new theory of citizenship and civic allegiance for today's culturally diverse liberal democracies. Rejecting conventional accounts of liberal nationalism and cosmopolitanism, Jan-Werner Müller argues for a form of political belonging centered on universalist norms, adapted for specific constitutional cultures. At the same time, he presents a novel approach to thinking about political belonging and the preconditions of democratic legitimacy beyond the nation-state. The book takes the development of the European Union as a case study, but its lessons apply also to the United States and other parts of the world.

Müller's essay starts with an engaging historical account of the origins and spread of the concept of constitutional patriotism-the idea that political attachment ought to center on the norms and values of a liberal democratic constitution rather than a national culture or the "global human community." In a more analytical part, he then proposes a critical conception of citizenship that makes room for dissent and civil disobedience while taking seriously a polity's need for stability over time. Müller's theory of constitutional patriotism responds to the challenges of the de facto multiculturalism of today's states--with a number of concrete policy implications about immigration and the preconditions for citizenship clearly spelled out. And it asks what civic empowerment could mean in a globalizing world.


"Is it possible to develop a 'patriotic' attachment to what is basically a set of intellectual positions? This is the question Müller attempts to answer in this short, bracing book. His analysis is centered on the Federal Republic of Germany, a government deliberately designed to eliminate the need to be 'German' in order to be a German citizen. . . . What can be learned from this experience can, Müller hopes, be brought to bear on similar problems facing the newborn EU. A clearly written, thoughtful, and enjoyable analysis."--M. Berheide, Berea College, for Choice

"In Constitutional Patriotism, Werner Müller, who teaches politics at Princeton, has provided a thorough and engaging defense of the concept."--Michael Lind, American Prospect

"[T]his is an interesting and thoughtful book. There are many open ended arguments and some gaps (for me the ambiguity of theoretical republicanism loomed large), however, overall it is be welcomed as a valuable contribution to current political theory."--Andrew Vincent, Nations and Nationalism


"I do not know a more precise or more careful account of the political and intellectual-historical context in which the debate about constitutional patriotism unfolded initially. Above all Jan-Werner Müller offers a masterful interpretation of this important concept, which clarifies many misunderstandings."--Jürgen Habermas

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Table of Contents:

Introduction 1
Chapter One: A Brief History of Constitutional Patriotism 15
Chapter Two: Nations without Qualities? Toward a Theory of Constitutional Patriotism 46
Chapter Three: A European Constitutional Patriotism? On Memory, Militancy, and Morality 93
Afterword: But Is It Enough? 141

This book has been translated into:

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