Nationalism Without Nationalism? Dutch Self-Images Among the Progressive Left

  • Josip Kešić
  • Jan Willem Duyvendak


Kešić and Duyvendak address a specific and often overlooked Dutch solution to a more general problem: how to enact the nation and nationalism without being nationalist? They focus on the least likely case of a least likely case: a left-progressive nationalist discourse in the Netherlands. Through detailed analysis of cultural and political examples from the period between 2005 and 2013, they show how by distancing themselves from right-wing nationalism, left-progressives consciously and proudly identify with, defend, promote and enact Dutchness as anti-nationalist nationalism. Counterintuitively, they demonstrate that being critical, ironic, postmodern, international and self-denigrating by no means undermines nationalism. Rather, it produces chauvinist national essentialism with exclusionary effects. Thus, this study sheds new light not only on an overlooked aspect of nationalism in the Netherlands, but also on nationalism more generally: attitudes considered incompatible with nationalism prove to produce the very same nationalism, though in more subtle, paradoxical and therefore unexpected ways.


National Identity National Feeling Collective Memory Moral Progress National Identification 
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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Josip Kešić
    • 1
  • Jan Willem Duyvendak
    • 1
  1. 1.University of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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