Patriotism and Loyalty

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This chapter explores how the concept of loyalty can illuminate the notion of patriotism. Loyalty is commonly seen as a necessary element in familial relationships and friendship but increasingly as the basis for commitments to others in social or civic relationships. We expect loyal members of groups to put the interests of their group ahead of those of other groups. But it is not always an unconditional expectation – there may be limits to the extent to which they may do so. The question becomes whether or not we can reasonably draw conclusions on the role played by loyalty from individuals and small groups to whole national populations.

The chapter considers the place of personal and group loyalties. Through the language of chosen and unchosen loyalties, it offers a third option – forced loyalties. Drawing on the rich history of the concept, arguments are then examined that patriotism might be considered as a form of group loyalty. Despite codes of gesture historically having played a significant part in political communication in large groups, and as a way to demonstrate loyalty-devotion through participating in rituals or using shared symbols, these can be problematic to decipher and agree on. The chapter suggests that we may need to make space for a wider spectrum of acts and beliefs to count as patriotic loyalty.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Patriotism
EditorsMitja Sardoc
Number of pages36
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-30534-9
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-30534-9
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Aug 2017


  • personal loyalty; allegiances; group loyalty; symbols; patriotic loyalty; chosen loyalty; unchosen loyalty; forced loyalty; exit and voice; brand loyalty

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