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Reclaiming Patriotism: Nation-Building for Australian Progressives [Paperback]

Professor Tim Soutphommasane
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
RRP: 27.99
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Book Description

27 Aug 2009
Affronted by the xenophobic nationalists who stalked the land during the Howard years, many progressive Australians have rejected a love of country, forgetting that there is a patriotism of the liberal left that at different times has advanced liberty, egalitarianism, and democratic citizenship. Tim Soutphommasane, a first-generation Australian and political philosopher who has journeyed from Sydney's western suburbs to Oxford University, re-imagines patriotism as a generous sentiment of democratic renewal and national belonging. In accessible prose, he explains why our political leaders will need to draw upon the better angels of patriotism if they hope to inspire citizens for nation-building, and indeed persuade them to make sacrifices in the hard times ahead. As we debate the twenty-first century challenges of reconciliation and a republic, citizenship and climate change, Reclaiming Patriotism proposes a narrative we have to have.

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Reclaiming Patriotism: Nation-Building for Australian Progressives + The Virtuous Citizen: Patriotism in a Multicultural Society
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Product details

  • Paperback: 166 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (27 Aug 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521134722
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521134729
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,211,737 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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'The progressives have been the ones asking the interesting questions of Australian identity: our relationship with Asia, how to make reconciliation work, how to balance enterprise with fairness and the case for saving Australia's battered degraded environment. So it's fitting that Tim Soutphommasane makes the case for progressive politics in defining Australian patriotism. When right-wingers claim the national story as their own – white picket fences, Don Bradman, Gallipoli – we need books like this to remind us that Australian citizenship belongs to all of us.' Bob Carr

Book Description

Reclaiming Patriotism explores the intertwining concepts of patriotism and Australian national identity. It challenges Australian progressives to speak a new language of nation building politics. Grounded in political philosophy but accessibly written, it has implications on contemporary debates about national history, Aboriginal reconciliation, multiculturalism, climate change and a republic.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Patriotism reclaimed 6 Jan 2010
Having read a couple of pieces by the author in Australian newspapers, I was very curious to see how he'd come across in a more extensive work. I certainly wasn't disappointed. The author captures succinctly the difficulties that Australian left/liberals have had with patriotism over the years, despite making the running on some of the most profound nation-building issues to affect Australia - macroeconomic reform, multiculturalism, aboriginal rights, the republic, and climate change. Each of these issues are covered in turn, interspersed with analysis of early (and in some cases, enduring) defining features of Australian patriotism, such as the Anzac legend, and the White Australia Policy. The light and the dark places of Australia's history are deftly presented, through the prism of patriotism, and patriotism emerges much the better for it - with the author quoting the 19th century US senator, Carl Schurz to good affect: "My country, right or wrong: if right, to be kept right; if wrong, to be set right". Soutphommasane offers a persuasive thesis that left/liberals cannot, and should not, leave the field to conservatives when it comes to patriotism and, moreover, that Australia needs progressive patriotism if its citizens are to fully realise their individual and social potential in the 21st century.

Like Tim Soutphommasane, I've spent the last few years studying and working in the UK, far from my Australian birthplace, and so I was especially pleased to find that someone like this had taken the time and effort to commit to paper their thoughts on what Australia could, and should, look like in the post-conservative government era. Nation-building is a key, and oft used term in Australian political discourse at the moment, making Soutphommasane's book a timely, valuable and critically constructive contribution to this discourse. In sum, it appears that expatriotism has helped to inspire a truly patriotic text.
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