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.



The interactionist approach in identity theory, which is underlying the present analysis, emphasises the social dimension of personal and collective identity formation.1 This is based on the insight that human beings normally thrive under conditions of mutual recognition,2 that is, they cannot form stable personal or collective identities without ‘others’ recognising them. This becomes apparent if one considers the fact that human language itself is an imminently social phenomenon. Considering that language gives us the most sophisticated tools to express who we are and considering that language, too, has to rely on commonly accepted patterns of communicative interaction, the symbolic representation of our identity is in need of common acceptance among the users of the language. The linguistic representation of our identity in discourse ...

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