Moral Innovators and the Politics of Regeneration: the Distinctive Role of Cultural Nationalists in Nation-Building JOHN HUTCHINSON * Introduction THE RISE OF THE MODERN NATION since the eighteenth cen- tury in many contexts has been preceded and accompanied by major historical, artistic and linguistic revivals which have provided an umbrella for significant social and political movements. Although aspects of these revivals, usually defined as cultural nationalist, have received attention, there are three major misconceptions in the general literature on nationalism that have obscured the importance of cultural nationalism in the formation of modern nations: (1) It can be conflated with political nationalism. (2) It is a regressive response to modernisation. (3) It is a transient phenomenon, bound to fade with full modernisation. I will argue in this article that cultural nationalism deserves attention as a separate movement, distinct from political nationalism, with its own aims and politics. Although it is backward looking, it is not regressive; rather it evokes a golden age as a critique of the present, with the hope of propelling the community to ever higher stages of development. Indeed, cultural nationalists act as moral innovators and are a recurring force, regularly crystallising at times of
International Journal of Comparative Sociology (in 2002 continued as Comparative Sociology) – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1992
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