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.
IInstitutions, according to Meyer, are cultural patterns that give collective purpose and meaning to actors and actions and integrate them in a larger framework. They define what can be a possible actor and give legitimacy to certain of his actions and delegitimise others. They are constructs in that they are part of the social imaginary, which means that they are not natural and unchangeable. But also they cannot be changed at will by any single person or group of actors since they owe their force to their general acceptance in the society. For the most part, they are so much taken for granted that a considerable effort would be needed to make one aware of their operations in the background. This is the task ...