Identity Politics in India and Europe combines qualitative methods (20 interviews) with historical and philosophical analysis. The first part of the book discusses the history of perceptions between the Europe of Latin Christianity and the so-called Muslim world, starting from the 7th century onwards. The second part is devoted to a discussion on the emergence of modernity and how it changed the identity politics of earlier times. The third part explores the role that intellectual elites have to play. It comprises interviews of eminent scholars and thinkers in India such as Imtiaz Ahmad and Ashis Nandy. These make for an insightful read, especially as subtle ideological differences surface in their responses to a set of common questions.
Philosophers like John Rawls and Jürgen Habermas have explicated and interpreted the normative aspects that are implicit in the modern cultural reference frame. Sociologists like Meyer have traced its factual impact the world over. This impact is not equally strong everywhere and in all spheres of the world polity. An important notion in Meyer's theorising about modern principles pervading the world polity is therefore that of ‘decoupling’. He and his team have demonstrated how in many instances norms and patterns available from the modern cultural reference frame have been adopted formally. But their actual impact on the ground is often minimal, sometimes even counter-productive. Actors like states and organisations gain legitimacy as agents from a formal adherence to modern principles but they do not ...