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Book: The Virtuous Citizen

What does it mean to be a citizen in a multicultural society? And what role must patriotism play in defining our relationship with our country and fellow citizens?

In The Virtuous Citizen Tim Soutphommasane answers these questions with a critical defence of liberal nationalism. Considering a range of contemporary political debates from Europe, North America and Australia, over issues including multiculturalism, national history, civic education and immigration, Soutphommasane argues that a love of country should be valued alongside tolerance, mutual respect and public reasonableness as a civic virtue. A liberal form of patriotism, grounded in national identity, is, if anything, essential for political stability in a diverse society.

This book is required reading not only for political theorists and philosophers but also for researchers and professionals in political science, sociology, history and public policy.

Advance praise:

'In this timely book, Tim Soutphommasane explains why the ideal liberal citizen is also a patriotic citizen. In so doing, he speaks directly to a deep desire for a philosophy that combines individual liberty with a sense of identity and belonging. His is an important argument that will shape debates in both academic political theory and real politics.'
- Marc Stears, University of Oxford

'This is a very well-written and accessibly presented book that deals with an important and challenging topic: the place of patriotism in contemporary society. The author argues that patriotism properly construed can provide the basis for common citizenship in a multicultural state. The study relies on a careful reading and analysis of the key contemporary works on liberalism, multiculturalism and nationalism, and is itself a significant contribution to this body of literature. It is a fine example of applying rigorous philosophy to the problems of the real world.' - Kok-Chor Tan, University of Pennsylvania

'All too often nationalists and multiculturalists are at loggerheads. Tim Soutphommasane shows how dialogue between them is not only possible but highly productive for the making of good public policy.' - Geoff Gallop, University of Sydney

'In this topical book, Tim Soutphommasane constructs a theory of patriotic citizenship that confronts the profound challenges that cultural diversity raises for ideas of citizenship and community. Placing the value of patriotic commitments at the centre of the idea of citizenship, [he] seeks to show how they are compatible with liberal and democratic commitments, working through the implications of this for our ideas of membership, deliberative democracy, education and immigration. Lucidly written and forcefully argued, illustrated with a wide range of contemporary examples, this is a rich contribution to current political theory. It is likely to be both controversial and a key point of reference for future thinking about multiculturalism and citizenship.' - Matthew Festenstein, University of York


'Where the book stands out is in its nuanced treatment of liberalism, and it is this that accounts for its relevance in Britain ... Multicultural patriotism is the only kind that has a future in Britain, and Soutphommasane raises issues of undoubted importance ...' - John Gray, The Guardian

'Tim Soutphommasane's intriguing treatise ... is a worthy contribution to current thinking on liberal nationalism, identity and migration. It marks another welcome rejection of the "community of communities" multiculturalism of the late 1990s, as we rediscover the ties that bind in a liberal polity' - Tristram Hunt, The Observer

'Soutphommasane's sophistication in bringing together liberalism and patriotism is a rare achievement ... The Virtuous Citizen is dense with ideas ... All his ideas, however, are food for thought. The book is a cool and exhaustive primer on all sides in this multidimensional discussion, whether they agree with Soutphommasane's particular position or not.' - Miriam Cosic, The Australian

Invite Launch Virtuous Citizen.pdf
Tim Soutphommasane,
11 Sept 2012, 22:05