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Nationalism and Antisemitism in the Postnational Constellation: Thoughts on Horkheimer, Adorno, and Habermas

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Chapter Summary

This chapter highlights how the intertwining of nationalism and anti-Semitism is theorized, especially in critical theory. In doing so, it briefly refers to Habermas' concept of constitutional patriotism and interprets it as a normative foil for what the chapter calls a postnational identity. Against this concept the chapter contrasts Max Horkheimer's and Adorno's analysis of nationalism as a founding moment of modern sociation. The aim is to tackle the question why nationalism persists in spite of the nation-state's partial loss of its objective function at the political level and also in the context of an increasingly globalized economy. The chapter focuses on the dialectics of social structures, with the aim of showing that they intrinsically provoke nationalism and antisemitism. Horkheimer's and Adorno's analysis encodes the dialectics of nationalism and shows that its undoubted discontinuity after 1945 served to enhance those social structures that incite (nationalist) exclusive identification.

Keywords: Adorno; antisemitism; Habermas; Max Horkheimer; modern sociation; nationalism



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