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Constructing the "Self" of Self-Determination: Liberal and Anti-Liberal Tensions in Modern Irish Nationalism

William J. Swart
Social Thought & Research
Vol. 22, No. 1/2 (1999), pp. 139-166
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23250107
Page Count: 28
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Constructing the "Self" of Self-Determination: Liberal and Anti-Liberal Tensions in Modern Irish Nationalism
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Abstract

This paper explores the relationship of modern nationalism to the philosophical dictates of eighteenth century liberalism. It argues that although the ethos of modern nationalism developed out of the liberal ideal of popular sovereignty, the process of constructing a national "self" as the legitimate benefactor of that sovereignty often embraces very anti-liberal ideas. This paper explores this tension through a case study modern Irish nationalism. Although born out of the dictates of British liberalism, Irish nationalism also drew upon the anti-liberal objectives of European Romanticism and Socialism in order to create a unique national "self." By combining these liberal and anti-liberal ideals, Irish nationalist leaders articulated a political culture which claimed the right of self-determination for a community symbolically separated from the British Empire.

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