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Volume 5, 1993

Lebenswelt und System II

Elmar Holenstein
Pages 123-138
DOI: 10.5840/protosociology1993532

Kulturnation - eine systematisch in die Irre führende Idee

Nationalism is an anthropological reality; nations in the German ethnic sense of homogeneous cultural wholes are not. 'Nation’ in this sense is not a 'natural-kind term'. Its defining properties do not co-vary. It does not even correspond to a classical ’ideal type'. Its properties do not tend unidirectionally to a coherent approximative realisation. For natural languages and cultures internal deviations from standard are as constitutive as conformity is. The idea of a homogeneous ’cultural nation' does not justice to the complexity of social diversification. Nationalism is less to be refuted because of its alleged incompatibility with an idealistic universalism than because of its much more painful incompatibility with an empirically adequate particularism. In conclusion: regionalism is a well-founded goal, nationalism is not.

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