Can the sense of "civic responsibility" (i.e. the individual sense of participation and duty towards the construction and maintenance of a public order, and its enactment), be traced historically as the product of a culture?
In a discussion I had, an argument was proposed that, in Western Europe, the sense of civic responsibility was the cultural product of nationalism, from the post revolutionary / Napoleonian society and culminating with fascism.
Even this proposition might seem reductionist, it makes some sense. It seems that for nationalism to function it requires a participation of the civilian, taking part in the national project. On the contrary, the pre-modern, absolutist or feudal society seems to exclude the common man from the conscious participation in the construction of the state (even though the state may in fact still depend on the common man for its economical or political existence).
So is this proposition true and to what extent? Can the sense of "civic responsibility" be traced in the history of ideas?
My background is in South Asian studies, so I am not familiar with European history, even though I followed a curriculum in Europe.