There are few ideas as important to the history of modern democracy as that of the nation as a political community. And yet, by comparison to its companion idea of political community as based upon the agreement of free and equal individuals, it remained until recently a marginal concern of liberal political theory. The aftermath of decolonization and the breakup of the Soviet empire, among other things, has changed that and brought it finally to the center of theoretical attention. And once there, the deep-seated tensions in theory between nationalism and liberalism have proved to be as hard to overlook as their all too familiar tensions in practice.
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