The mortality and morality of nations

Uriel Abulof*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Standing at the edge of life's abyss, we seek meaningful order. We commonly find this 'symbolic immortality' in religion, civilization, state and nation. What happens, however, when the nation itself appears mortal? The Mortality and Morality of Nation seeks to answer this question, theoretically and empirically. It argues that mortality makes morality, and right makes might; the nation's sense of a looming abyss informs its quest for a higher moral ground, which, if reached, can bolster its vitality. The book investigates nationalism's promise of moral immortality and its limitations via three case studies: French Canadians, Israeli Jews, and Afrikaners. All three have been insecure about the validity of their identity or the viability of their polity, or both. They have sought partial redress in existential self-legitimation: by the nation, of the nation and for the nation's very existence.

Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages371
ISBN (Electronic)9781316156827
ISBN (Print)9781107097070, 9781107480865
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015

ULI Keywords

  • uli
  • Afrikaners -- South Africa -- Ethnic identity
  • French-Canadians -- Québec (Province) -- Ethnic identity
  • Group identity -- Israel
  • Group identity -- Quebec (Province)
  • Group identity -- South Africa
  • Jews -- Israel -- Identity
  • National characteristics, Israeli
  • Israel -- Ethnic relations
  • Québec (Province) -- Ethnic relations
  • South Africa -- Ethnic relations
  • Jews -- Identity -- Israel
  • National characteristics -- Israel
  • Israeli national characteristics
  • Israelis -- Identity
  • Israelis -- Ethnic identity
  • Ethnic relations -- Israel


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