• 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.

Progress and Teleology
Progress and teleology

The genealogy of modernity is undoubtedly Western, as Meyer argues convincingly. To understand this process, all the stages are important: the medieval concentration of all authority in one ‘High God’, the corresponding supranational authority of the Church, the Enlightenment notion of the absent God, the increasing independence of the rationalities of politics, religion, morality and science (corresponding to the growingly autonomous spheres of state and religion, culture and nature). Often this process has been described as following an inner necessity, as if modernisation was an evolutionary process governed by natural laws.

This, according to Meyer, may have been a necessary myth for modern man to believe in, in order for modernity to unfold. It is a myth nevertheless as more recent ...

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