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“The postnational constellation” by J. Habermas

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  1. Introduction
  2. Theoretical explanation of the dilemmas and ambiguities of social modernization
  3. Nationalism to constitutional patriotism
    1. The question national identity
    2. Constitutional patriotism
  4. From the nation-state to the postnational constellation
    1. The end of nation-state
    2. Beyond the nation-state: The European Union
    3. A 'world domestic policy'
  5. Cosmopolitan consciousness
    1. Cosmopolitan solidarity
    2. Cosmopolitanism and human rights
  6. Postmodern philosophy
  7. Conclusion
  8. Bibliography

?The image of a post national constellation gives rise to alamrist feelings of enlightened helplessness widely observed in the political arena today? . Indeed, the ideal of cosmopolitanism is generating new controversy today with the challenges of globalization.

In The Post national Constellation, published in 1998, the renowned German philosopher Jürgen Habermas (1929) challenges the nation-state and defends the project of a cosmopolitan democracy based on the idea of a post national identity and a stronger social solidarity. His normative critique of national identity has been driven by his role as an engaged intellectual in the German public sphere. As a second generation member of the Frankfurt School of critical theory, Habermas was a student of Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno. In his wide-ranging works, he had broken with the anti-rationalist, anti-Westernist stance of the previous generation of Frankfurt theorists and taken a different route in his critical appraisal of Western institutions and rationality. Greatly influenced by the Kantian conception of rationality, Habermas believes that through reason we can understand the world and achieve enlightenment.

[...] In the context of this frightening and uncertain background, Jürgen Habermas raises questions about the course of democracy and the hope of a civil society in a future dominated by a globalized economic order. The end of nation-state In the central essay of the book, Postnational constellation and the Future of Democracy?, Habermas lays out in detail what globalisation is and how it is to be legitimated in the context of transnational markets and democratic ideals. The traditional modes of human interaction such as commerce, communication and culture are taking a radically new face by transcending national boundaries, thus challenging the relevance of the nation-state as a means of either understanding or of regulating such modes. [...]


[...] Habermas advocates a ?postnational? Germany where shared identity is attached to nonterritorial values of constitutionalism and democratic rights. He calls for a ?society capable of conscious change through the will of its democratically united citizens?[8]. The strength of the democratic state relies on the political participation of its citizens. Constitutional patriotism is essential to understand the shift from the ?national subject' to the ?citizen' by separating culture from politics. Habermas looks forward to the break between the principles of republicanism and nationalism in order to promote a ?form of abstract, legally constructed solidarity that reproduces itself through political participation?[9], guarantying universal standards of social justice. [...]


[...] Calling into question national identity Habermas shares the view that nations are, using Benedict Anderson's terms, ?imagined communities? and ?cultural artifacts? that search to give substance to collective identity as racial or ethnical homogeneity, shared cultural values and language. He positions himself against such a culturalist determination of the people as an organic essence by aguing that idea of a ?spirit of the people', a Volksgeist, always directed toward a real or imagined past, poses insurmountable difficulties for the future-oriented orientations of liberal republicanism?[5]. [...]

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