• 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.

Culture and Identity in Modern Politics
Culture and identity in modern politics

As an explication of major tenets of modernity, I am referring to the sociology of John W. Meyer and his collaborators.1 This new institutionalist approach reckons with three categories of modern actors: individuals, organisations and states. According to Meyer:

Modern culture emphasizes a social world made up of bounded, purposive, and rational actors and gives preference to entities conceived and constructed in this way—particularly individuals, nation-states, and formal organisations. This de-emphasises other sorts of social units (tribes, clans, families, ethnic groups, communities, and the like).

Modern actors gain legitimacy and orientation from behavioural patterns and norms provided by the cultural reference frame, which also determines what is to be taken as the real character of the ...

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