Res Publica

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 247–265 | Cite as

The Incoherence of the Patriotic State: A Critique of ‘Constitutional Patriotism’



Habermas proposes a new solution to the problematic relation between republican values and democracy. He asserts that a new model of social cohesion is needed and he suggests that the sense of ‘‘community’’ in a democratic society should be founded exclusively on the acceptance and support of a system of constitutionally established rules which are the logical result of the historical evolution of constitution-making. He argues that an account of the constitutional process which led to the formation of the modern republican state should provide the criteria for a rational set of norms which will exclude nationalism from the political arena. In this article, I point out the democratic hazards and the internal incoherence of Habermas’s alternative to the national state and I argue that a theoretical substitute should consider the existence of national identities as one of the aspects of modern pluralistic society.


constitutional law democracy European Union Habermas nationalism patriotism 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cardiff UniversityCardiff, WalesUK

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