• 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.

Principal and Agent*
Principal and agent

Meyer and Jepperson couch the relationship between the actor and the principles that legitimise that actor in terms taken from economics: ‘principal’ and ‘agent’. Like in a principal-agent relationship, actors gain their legitimacy from the rules of the cultural reference frame to which they implicitly refer. These rules function like the principal in a principal-agent relationship. Both principal (rules) and agent (actor) gain their legitimacy through the semiotic frame of reference that forms the cultural context of their relationship. The principal lends agency to the actor by permitting (or compelling) him to act on his behalf.

To begin with, this terminology is a good candidate to being universally applicable.1 We can construe social relationships in Western and non-Western, traditional and post-traditional ...

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