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Reclaiming Patriotism

Amitai Etzioni

BUY Cloth · 232 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813943244 · $19.95 · Sep 2019
FREE DOWNLOAD Open access ebook via Virginia Open

Amitai Etzioni has made his reputation by transcending unwieldy, and even dangerous, binaries such as left/right or globalism/nativism. In his new book, Etzioni calls for nothing less than a social transformation—led by a new social movement—to save our world’s democracies, currently under threat in today’s volatile and profoundly divided political environments.

The United States, along with scores of other nations, has seen disturbing challenges to the norms and institutions of our democratic society, particularly in the rise of exclusive forms of nationalism and populism. Focusing on nations as the core elements of global communities, Etzioni envisions here a patriotic movement that rebuilds rather than splits communities and nations.

Beginning with moral dialogues that seek to find common ground in our values and policies, Etzioni sets out a path toward cultivating a "good" form of nationalism based on this shared understanding of the common good. Working to broaden civic awareness and participation, this approach seeks to suppress neither identity politics nor special interests in its efforts to lead us to work productively with others.

Reclaiming Patriotism offers a hopeful and pragmatic solution to our current crisis in democracy—a patriotic movement that could have a transformative, positive impact on our foreign policy, the world order, and the future of capitalism.


"This is a major contribution by a leading public intellectual to a central issue of our time. Etzioni attempts nothing less than a reconstruction of national citizenship as a bond between diverse social groups forming a country. The new patriotism is to be built on moral dialogue; it distinguishes itself from libertarianism and globalism and conceives nations as communities of communities. I particularly recommend Etzioni’s ideas about a new, nation-centered international order."

Wolfgang Streeck, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, author of How Will Capitalism End?

Drawing on a lifetime of sociological research and decades as a global communitarian leader, Amitai Etzioni boldly takes on the most fundamental political challenge of our time. With a wealth of evidence and practical examples, he traces a principled middle way between the extremes of globalism and nationalism. Agree or disagree, his call for a new patriotic movement is certain to spark productive public dialogue.

William A. Galston, The Brookings Institution

Etzioni’s new book, Reclaiming Patriotism, is in many ways a natural capstone to his career. No form of community matters more in his view than the nation. Love of country is the spring from which all other good things flow, from faith in democratic institutions to the spirit of compromise.... Etzioni doesn’t imagine that his ideas can overcome all obstacles. He sagely hopes that they can set in motion a set of centripetal forces to balance the raging centrifugal ones that are pulling America apart. That’s a start. Who else has a better way forward?

The American Scholar

[W]hat Etzioni is after is a form of patriotism that respects individual rights, without those rights acting as trump cards when they come into conflict with the public interest.... A society as civil as Etzioni desires, or as economically fair and efficient as Tamir wants to see, would have little difficulty pursuing the politics of national cohesion and defining the common good. The question, as always, is how to get there from here.

New York Review of Books

About the Author(s): 

Amitai Etzioni is University Professor and Professor of International Relations at The George Washington University. He is the author of Happiness Is the Wrong Metric: A Liberal Communitarian Response to Populism and Avoiding War with China: Two Nations, One World (Virginia).

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