"Ubi patria - Ibi bene"1: The scope and limits of rousseau's patriotic education

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Does the inculcation of patriotic sentiments in the hearts of patriots render them invulnerable to the malady of self-alienation experienced otherwise by citizens of the "atomist" state? Rousseau, as will be shown in this paper, provided a positive answer to this question. Accordingly, he accorded utmost importance in his political and educational writing to the education for patriotism. The purpose of this paper is to offer a critical assessment of Rousseau's education for patriotism. I suggest that when successfully implemented, this education leads to the estrangement and effacement of the self, giving rise to a malady similar to the one Rousseau wanted to cure. If Rousseau's patriotic education can really prevent the experience of self-alienation arising due to a lack of a community one can call one's own, this very education gives also rise to the experience of self-alienation arising upon the emergence of a tight-knit patriotic community. Such a community leaves no room for the development of the individual's (or the patriot's) unique talents and the pursuit of his or her self-regarding goals and encourages the emergence, over again, of the experience of self-alienation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-388
Number of pages24
JournalStudies in Philosophy and Education
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1999


  • Alienation
  • Authenticity
  • Communitarianism
  • General will
  • Liberalism
  • Patriotism
  • Political legitimacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Philosophy


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