For Goodness Sake: Bravery, Patriotism and Identity - Coline Covington


In the midst of atrocities, there is the silent presence of the brave individuals who act and stand apart from the crowd, who risk their own lives by rescuing others and, in other ways, by voicing their dissent. The actions of these exceptional individuals raise questions as to why they were able to do what they did and why other people don’t. But if we look closer at the histories of these individuals, what we discover is that they may not be as exceptional as we think and that bravery takes different forms in different contexts. Clinical material of a young male patient, a war hero struggling to separate from his refugee parents, illustrates the role of the ego ideal, insofar as it is consonant with innate morality, as the primary factor motivating acts of bravery. The compulsion to act bravely is largely ascribed to conscience, that is, being at one with oneself. Those who act bravely do not feel they have a choice because not to act is experienced as a betrayal of self. As such, bravery is a fundamental assertion not only of the self but of a moral order necessary to sustain the self.

As well as bravery, Coline Covington investigates the concept of patriotism and what it truly means – a vital discussion for these turbulent times – and how each of us discovers our identity, as individuals but also within groups. Dr Covington is well placed to explore these questions with her BA in Political Philosophy from Princeton, her Diploma in Criminology from Cambridge, and her PhD in Sociology from LSE. Add to these her analytic training and fellowship of International Dialogue Initiative (IDI), and you are left with a thoughtful,  perceptive, and sensitive discussion that is a joy to read.

Publisher: Phoenix Publishing House

Published: November 2020

Format: Paperback

Pages: 240 

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