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“Merging the National with the Human Ideal”: Émile Durkheim on Nationalism and Cosmopolitanism

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Chapter Summary

This chapter influences that the proposal of Durkheim is alternative to that of the radical semantics of the two extremes of "nationalism" and "cosmopolitanism". It implicitly responds to critiques of Durkheim's lack of reflection on the nation and nationalism, or, worse, on his incapacity to analyze society beyond its borders, and in general, it responds to critics that consider classical sociology, or even sociology tout court, incapable of providing with a meaningful vision of global processes. From a lexical point of view, reflections on the nation and on nationalism could start from the fragments of a debate organized by the Libres entretiens of the Union pour la Vérité, attended by Durkheim, during which he proposed several terminological distinctions of a socio-political nature. For Durkheim "political society", which he also calls "political group", is characterized by the presence of secondary groups.

Keywords: classical sociology; cosmopolitanism; Durkheim; nationalism



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