The Cultural Defense of Nations A Liberal Theory of Majority Rights

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2016-01-05
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Never in human history has so much attention been paid to human movement. Global migration yields demographic shifts of historical significance, profoundly shaking up world politics as has been seen in the refugee crisis, the Brexit referendum, and the 2016 US election.

The Cultural Defense of Nations addresses one of the greatest challenges facing liberalism today: is a liberal state justified in restricting immigration and access to citizenship in order to protect its majority culture? Liberal theorists and human rights advocates recognize the rights of minorities to maintain their unique cultural identity, but assume that majorities have neither a need for similar rights nor a moral ground for defending them. The majority culture, so the argument goes, "can take care of itself." However, with more than 250 million immigrants worldwide, majority groups increasingly seek to protect what they consider to be their national identity. In recent years, liberal democracies have introduced proactive immigration and citizenship policies that are designed to defend the majority culture.

This book shifts the focus from the prevailing discussion of cultural minority rights, for the first time directly addressing the cultural rights of majoritiesand, for the first time, addressed the cultural rights of majorities. It proposes a new approach by which liberal democracies can welcome immigrants without fundamentally changing their cultural heritage, forsaking their liberal traditions, or slipping into extreme nationalism.

Disregarding the topic of cultural majority rights is not only theoretically wrong, but also politically unwise. With forms of "majority nationalism" rising and the growing popularity of extreme right-wing parties in the West, the time has come to liberally address contemporary challenges.

Author Biography

Liav Orgad, Marie Curie Fellow and Assistant Professor of Law, Freie Universitat Berlin and Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, Israel

Liav Orgad is a Marie Curie Fellow at Freie Universitat Berlin and an Assistant Professor of Law at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, Israel. He has been a visiting scholar at Harvard Law School, Columbia Law School, NYU Law School, the European University Institute, and Universitat Luzern. Dr Orgad specializes in comparative constitutional law, comparative immigration law, constitutional identity, and citizenship theory. His research has been awarded prominent fellowships and grants, including Fulbright, Jean Monnet, Rothschild, and the Israel Science Foundation. Dr Orgad is the recipient of Dan David Prize for Young Scholars of Exceptional Promise (2013), Russell Sage Presidential Authority Award (2012), Eric Stein Prize for Best Scholarly Article by the American Society for Comparative Law (2011), and the Wolf Prize for Outstanding Achievements of Young Scholars (2010).

Table of Contents

Part I: Before the Majority Becomes the Minority
1. New Challenges
2. Demographic Anxiety
3. Cultural Defense
Part II: Legitimate and Illegitimate Defense
4. Illiberal Liberalism
5. Majority Rights
6. National Constitutionalism
Conclusion: Immigration Policy and Constitutional Identity

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