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Cultural nationalism is nationalism in which the nation is defined by a shared culture and a common language, rather than on the concepts of common ancestry or race.[1][2]

Cultural nationalism does not tend to manifest itself in independent movements, but is usually a moderate position within a larger spectrum of nationalist ideology. Thus, moderate positions in Flemish[3] or Hindu[4] nationalisms might be "cultural nationalism", while these same movements also include forms of ethnic nationalism and national mysticism.

Membership in the nation is neither entirely voluntary (one cannot instantly acquire a culture), nor hereditary (children of members may be considered foreigners if they grew up in another culture).

Therefore, if a person is from a nation but their child grew up in another culture, then despite that person's nationality, their child is considered to be from the nationality of the culture they grew up in, and must learn their parent's culture in order to be a member of their parent's nationality (even though that parent's child is a citizen of their nation). Thus, cultural nationality is not achieved through citizenship as in civic nationalism.



  1. ^ Nielsen, Kai. (1999). Cultural nationalism, neither ethnic nor civic. In R. Beiner (Ed.), Theorizing nationalism (pp. 119-130). Albany: State University of New York Press.
  2. ^ "History of Europe: Cultural nationalism". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2008-02-16. The counterpart of this political idea [i.e. the revolutionary doctrine of the sovereignty of the people] in the 19th century is cultural nationalism. The phrase denotes the belief that each nation in Europe had from its earliest formation developed a culture of its own, with features as unique as its language, even though its language and culture might have near relatives over the frontier.
  3. ^ Kymlicka, Will. (1999). Misunderstanding nationalism. In R. Beiner (Ed.), Theorizing nationalism (pp. 131-140). Albany: State University of New York Press, p. 133; Nielsen, Kai. (1999). Cultural nationalism, neither ethnic nor civic. In R. Beiner (Ed.), Theorizing nationalism (pp. 119-130). Albany: State University of New York Press, p. 126
  4. ^ Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, one of the main votaries of Hindutva has stated that it believes in a cultural connotation of the term Hindu. "The term Hindu in the conviction as well as in the constitution of the RSS is a cultural and civilizational concept and not a political or religious dogma. The term as a cultural concept will include and did always include all Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Muslims, Christians, and Parsis. The cultural nationality of India, in the conviction of the RSS, is Hindu and it was inclusive of all who are born and who have adopted Bharat as their Motherland, including Muslims, Christians, and Parsis. The answering association submits that it is not just a matter of RSS conviction, but a fact borne out by history that the Muslims, Christians, and Parsis too are Hindus by culture although as religions they are not so." Quoting RSS General Secretary's reply to the Tribunal constituted under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967 to hear the case on the RSS, Organiser, June 6, 1993,