Authenticity of cultures and of persons

Philosophy and Social Criticism 38 (4-5):445-455 (2012)
Abstract
In this article I argue that it does not make sense – either empirically or normatively – to speak of ‘authentic’ cultures. All we need when talking about cultures is a relatively weak concept that still carries enough normative weight to function as the meaningful background of a person’s identity, autonomy and good life. Discussing the authentic culture, I refer to the debates around the German Leitkultur as well as the Dutch populist movement as examples. However, I am interested not only in the concept of the authenticity of a culture but also in the concept of the authenticity of persons: if an ‘authentic culture’ is not feasible, does this have repercussions on the concept of the autonomy and authenticity of persons? In suggesting that this might be the case, I argue that persons can be autonomous without always being fully authentic
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