Reconstructing the historical meaning of the terms nationalism and patriotism, Viroli shows how the two concepts have been used within specific cultural and ideological contexts. He reviews the political thought of modern and early modern Europe, with particular emphasis on France, Italy, England, and Germany, and comes up with a fundamental difference between patriotism and nationalism. Viroli argues that patriotism and nationalism are two ideologies that aim to reinforce and channel two different and powerful political passions: the love of a common good and the love of uniqueness and homogeneity. The Patriot is a supporter of the republic, his enemies are tyranny and corruption; the Nationalist supports ethnic, cultural, or religious unity, and fights against impurity, contamination, and diversity. He concludes, therefore, that while it is morally acceptable to be a patriot, it is morally unacceptable, as well as unnecessary, to be a nationalist to defend the values that nationalists hold dear. This work will be of interest to students and scholars of political theory and political science, as well as to historians of political thought.
`We are all in debt to Viroli for his sympathetic and acute dissection of the patriot tradition, and his thought-provoking reflections on our political shortcomings.'
Times Higher Education Supplement
`This is an excellent book and it is very timely. Maurizio Viroli's proposal to reclaim the language of republican patriotism is not only an important contribution to the discussion around the issue of nationalism. It is also a crucial intervention in the current debate about the need for 'community' and 'civic virtue'.'
Chantal Mouffe, University of Westminster, Political Studies, Vol. 45, No.1, March '97
`a substantial and stimulating contribution to the burgeoning literature on the republican tradition in political thought'
Alan Patten, University of Exeter, History of Political Thought, Volume XVIII, Issue 1, Spring 1997
`This book is a learned political sermon ... This study is conducted in an erudite manner ... The great richness of material convincingly establishes that there was a passionate rhetoric of patriotism of the kind Viroli commends.'
John Breuilly, University of Birmingham, Nations and Natioalism, Vol. 3, Part 1 - 1997
`The students of patriotic emotions and arguments will find in Viroli's book many quotations and discussions of well known and lesser known thinkers on the topic ...'
Jean Tournon, Nationalism and Ethic Politics vol.3 no.1,1997
Viroli's account of the relationship of such key figures as Rousseau, Herder, and Mazzini to nationalist and liberal thought is importan. Viroli's immersion of Rousseau in the tradition of civic republicanism adds powerfully to a growing chorus in Rousseau's defence against charges of totalitarianism. - Dr J Stapleton. British Journal of Politics and International Relations. April 1999.