Alain Locke and community

Journal of Ethics 1 (3):239-247 (1997)
Locke consistently argues for the importance of cosmopolitan identity, i.e., cultural-citizenship. Paradoxically, he also argues for the importance of particular, local, and racial/ethnic identities. People have a natural instinct that Locke terms a consciousness of kind, to bond with persons in relatively closed communities. Communities are not natural social groups for Locke, but historical social constructions. I argue that Locke''s ethical and conceptual paradox is revolved by considering the relationship between instincts and particular social groups as asymmetrical; that groups are inherently constructed, and thus require continual revaluation. Particular communities are, at best, Gemeinschaft.
Keywords asymmetry  community  consciousness of kind  cosmopolitanism  culture-citizen  instincts  particularity  race  social group  universality
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DOI 10.1023/A:1009720305495
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