Models of Political Community: The Nation-State and Other Stories
DEMOCRACY WITH(OUT) NATIONS? OLD AND NEW FOUNDATIONS FOR POLITICAL COMMUNITIES IN A CHANGING WORLD, Igor Filibi, Noé Cornago, and Justin O. Frosini, eds., Bilbao, Basque Country University Press, 2012
39 Pages Posted: 11 Mar 2008 Last revised: 24 Feb 2012
Date Written: March 25, 2008
Models of political community are both descriptive representations of existing communities and normative standards for their evaluation. Such models commonly specify the actual or proper active part of a political community, its actual or proper passive part (the object of the action of the active part), the kind of relation that should obtain between the two, and the kind of instrument that should mediate this relation, though historical models commonly differ both in the degree to which each of these components is fully differentiated from the rest, and on the emphasis they give to each. Particular models of political community structure normative inquiries through 1) their role as standards for existing communities, 2) their affinities with concrete institutional forms or theories of political order (e.g., democracy), and 3) their inner conceptual tensions (e.g., the incongruence between their active and passive parts). I illustrate this discussion with an examination of the contemporary “national state” model and its inner tensions, and conclude with an examination of the ways in which it is possible to depart from this dominant model (in, e.g., discussions of democracy in the EU).
Keywords: political community, democracy, nation-state
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