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Dialogue: Canadian Philosophical Review / Revue canadienne de philosophie

Volume 37, Issue 3, 1998

Michel Seymour
Pages 435-471

Une conception sociopolitique de la nation

I submit what, I believe, is a fairly new definition of the nation, one which I call the sociopolitical conception. I try to avoid as much as possible the traditional dichotomy between the exclusively civic and ethnic accounts, and try to explain my reasons for doing so. I also adopt as a general framework a certain conceptual pluralism which allows me to use many different concepts of the nation. After that, I proceed by formulating some constraints on any acceptable new definition. My own sociopolitical conception is then finally introduced. The sociopolitical nation is a political community, most often composed, sociologically, of a national majority, national minorities, and individuals with other national origins. The concept of national majority is crucial for the account and refers to the largest sample in the world of a given population sharing a common language, history, and culture. National minorities are defined as extensions of neighbouring nations, while individuals of other national origins are those members of ethnic minorities that have come from immigration. There would be no sociopolitical nation if there were no national majority, but this is compatible with a pluricultural and multi-ethnic view of the nation, since the political community may also include national minorities and individuals with a different origin. lend the article by showing that this definition meets the constraints that were initially introduced.

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