• 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.

Inclusive versus Identity Politics
Inclusive versus identity politics

In its inclusionary form, politics is a notion clearly circumscribed by the rational purpose of the collective. In other words, the purpose comes first and the power generated to pursue it by wielding a common political identity comes second. Politics thus conceived is based on collective choice and not on nature or destiny. The powerful, however, are often tempted to conceal this fact by pretending that power entails destiny. They transfigure their dominance into foundational myths of ancestral families or ‘peoples’, in mythologies of collective purpose and theological mission. In forging their power base, they take given pre-political identities that promise to unite a powerful enough crowd and transform them into political identities by adding a seemingly collective ...

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