• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

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.

Actor and Action
Actor and action

Collective institutions like organisations and states are conventionally explained as the results of rational human actions. Against this common understanding, Meyer and his team draw our attention to the fact that actions themselves gain their representativeness for the respective institution that they help to constitute by the overall cultural reference frame to which both the institution and the action implicitly refer. Thus, the actor (individual, organisation or state) and the respective action are mutually constitutive of each other within that larger semiotic reference frame. The cultural reference frame legitimises both, the actor and the type of action that is exemplary for it. Meyer speaks of a ‘reciprocal tautological process’.1


1. John W. Meyer et al., Ontology and Rationalization, 31.

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