In Narratives of Civic Duty, Aram Hur investigates the impulse behind a sense of civic duty in democracies. Why do some citizens feel a responsibility to vote, pay taxes, or take up arms in defense of one's country? Through comparing democratic societies in East Asia and elsewhere, Hur shows that the sense of obligation to be a good citizen--upon which the resilience of a democracy depends--emerges from a force long thought to be detrimental to democracy itself: national attachments.
Nationalism's illiberal and exclusive tendencies are typically viewed as disruptive to democratic processes, but Hur argues that there is nothing inherently antidemocratic about nationalism. Rather, whether nationalism helps or hinders democracy is shaped by the historicized relationship between a national people and their democratic state. When national stories portray that relationship as one of mutual commitment, nationalism strengthens democracies by motivating widespread civic duty among citizens. Drawing on personal narratives, statistical surveys, and experiments, Narratives of Civic Duty offers a provocative national theory of civic duty that cuts to the heart of what makes democracies thrive.
About the Author
Aram Hur is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Missouri. Follow her on Twitter @aramhur.