• 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.

Development as Freedom
Development as freedom

In contrast to Ashis Nandy's approach, which was described as freedom to non-development, and which could alternatively be characterised as critical traditionalism, Amartya Sen advocates a sort of critical modernism. Nandy's traditionalism was critical in that it was qualified by the observation that traditions themselves do carry the potential of oppression and exclusion. It is, however, not clear by what standards these oppressive states of affairs should be assessed if these standards are not to be modern standards of equal individual rights. Sen's modernism, in turn, is critical in that it does recognise the value of tradition, provided those subjected to these traditions have a say in whether they want to continue to uphold them or not. Thus, Sen grants ...

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