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Abstract

In his book After Europe, the Bulgarian political theorist Ivan Krastev observes the ‘free fall’ of the dominant grand narrative in Europe after 1989, Fukuyama’s idea of the ‘End of history’. If we want to understand why we must pay attention both to the ‘periphery’ of this narrative, as well as to the periphery of Europe, where the recent movement of migration in the refugee crisis is experienced from a nationalist déjà vu mindset and not welcomed, we have to rethink the phenomenon of nationalism and patriotism, and the difference between the two. After a short phenomenology of the diverse combinations of ‘love’ (among other meanings the love for my patria) and ‘justice’, the author concludes that a strict separation of patriotism and nationalism is hardly possible. And even more fundamental, there will always be a tension between love and justice or, in philosophical terms, between the particular and the universal. Following Krastev, the autor holds that the contemporary rise of populist movements and of ‘illiberal democracy’ points to the crisis of a meritocratic idea of liberal democracy. One longs for a form of belonging that is not the result of our performance but that is unconditional, as Jean Améry argued in his reflections on the meanings of a homeland (Heimat).

In: Interdisciplinary Journal for Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society