A Multicultural Nationalism?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)


What is often described today as neo-nationalism or nationalist-populism today arguably looks like the old nationalism. What is emerging as genuinely new are the identity-based nationalisms of the centre-left, sometimes called ‘liberal nationalism’ or ‘progressive patriotism’. I offer my own contribution to the latter, which may be called ‘multicultural nationalism’. I argue that multiculturalism is a mode of integration that does not just emphasise the centrality of minority group identities but argues that integration is incomplete without re-making national identity so that all can have a sense of belonging to it. In this respect, multiculturalist approaches to national belonging have some relation to liberal nationalism and a majoritarian interculturalism. It makes not just individual rights but minority accommodation a feature of acceptable nationalism. Importantly, however, unlike cosmopolitanism it is national-focused and is not against immigration controls (subject to certain conditions). For these reasons multicultural nationalism unites the concerns of some of those currently sympathetic to majoritarian nationalism and those who are pro-diversity and minority accommodationist in the way that liberal nationalism (with its emphasis on individualism and majoritarianism) or cosmopolitanism (with its disavowal of national belonging and championing of open borders) does not. It therefore represents the political idea and tendency most likely to offer a feasible alternative rallying point to monocultural nationalism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-246
Number of pages14
JournalBrown Journal of World Affairs
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019

Structured keywords

  • SPAIS Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship


  • Multiculturalism, Nationalism, Diversity, British National Identity, Church of England, Religious Education


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