Constitutional patriotism and the post-national paradox: an exploration of migration, identity and loyalty at the local level

Tonkiss, Katherine E. (2012). Constitutional patriotism and the post-national paradox: an exploration of migration, identity and loyalty at the local level. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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Theorists of constitutional patriotism argue that the binding sentiment of shared national identity can be replaced with allegiance to universal principles, interpreted into particular constitutions through ongoing deliberative processes. In this thesis, I explore the implications of such an approach for the defensibility of restrictions on migration, a subject which has previously received very little attention. I argue that constitutional patriotism implies a commitment to the free movement of individuals across borders; but that freedom of movement itself creates challenges for the implementation of constitutional patriotism. This is because it may increase anti-immigrant, nationalist sentiment in the host community. I term this phenomenon the ‘post-national paradox’. I then draw on independently collected qualitative data on Eastern European migration to English rural communities to explore this post-national paradox. I analyse the argumentative strategies, as the well as the perceptions of difference, evident in justifications of anti-immigrant and nationalist sentiment in these contexts. I highlight both perceptions of cultural and economic threat, as well as a ‘banal’ sense of national loyalty, underpinning such attitudes; and suggest that discursive practice at the most local level is necessary for the bottom up construction, or growth, of an inclusive form of identity and belonging.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: Department of Political Science and International Studies
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GT Manners and customs
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration


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