Non-Fiction Books:

Identity and Freedom

Mapping Nationalism and Social Criticism in Twentieth Century Lithuania

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Identity and Freedom by Leondas Donskis

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Nationalism is not necessarily an evil phenomenon; nor is it about to fade away in our globalised world. According to Leonidas Donskis, general theorists of nationalism have so far paid insufficient attention to the ethic of nationalism as a resource for critique of society and culture. Donskis argues that this critical potential is, in fact, a key aspect of the symbolic organisation of nationalism. In Central and Eastern Europe, liberal nationalism has become a crucial framework for modernising critique, not to mention its merits in the struggle against totalitarianism. The ethic of liberal nationalism should not be confused with the blood-and-soil, ethnic cleansing brand of nationalism. Nor can nationalism be reduced solely to the rise of the industrial, standardised world. As an identity-building phenomenon, this book contests that nationalism has sustained the modern intellectual and grounded moral sensibilities. Identity and Freedom provides a discursive map of Lithuanian liberal nationalism by focusing on the work of three eminent Lithuanian emigre scolars - Vytautas Kavolis, Aleksandras Shtromas and Tomas Venclova. Presenting these critics of society - and also analysing the significant impact of such writers as George Orwell and Czeslaw Milosz on Lithuanian political and cultural dissent - the book elaborates their three models of liberal nationalism as social criticism. Incorporating material which has so far only been available in Lithuanian, Polish and Russian sources, this book will be invaluable for anyone interested in Central and East European politics, culture and society.
Release date NZ
December 6th, 2001
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
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