This thesis examines the political philosophy of Karl Popper and his concept of open
society in particular. It argues that despite Popper's hostility to nationalism there is
no incompatibility between his concept of open society and the nation state. Indeed,
it is shown to be both theoretically and practically possible for nation states to be
constituted as open societies.
Popper considered nationalism to be a tribal ideology and an enemy of open society
as a form of political community. The thesis develops the argument that Popper's
dismissal of nationalism was unduly hasty, in part, because he failed to distinguish
between different interpretations of nationalist ideology and thus gave no
consideration to the prospect of a liberal or open form of nationalism. Liberal
nationalism is shown here to be a coherent theoretical position that can accommodate
Popper's conception of open society.
The extent to which Popper in fact assumed the nation state as a framework and
context when theorising open society is also revealed and highlights a degree of
ambiguity and inconsistency in his political philosophy. This leaves the way open
re-conceptualisation of Popperian philosophy in which open society and the
nation state are reconciled theoretically and a defence of the nation state as a locus
for open society is developed.