Political/Cultural Identity: Citizens and Nations in a Global Era
Publication Year: 1997
This broad-ranging and interdisciplinary text offers a rich overview of political and cultural identity. Changes across the political landscape from the fall of the Berlin Wall to the recent Islamic revival have profoundly altered the received ideas that define political cultures throughout the world. In this context, Peter W. Preston draws together diverse strands of literature to throw light on the impact on identity of a changing global environment. The book offers a helpful analysis of political, cultural, and economic identity, which lies at the center of individual actions and social structure. This analysis is fleshed out by a detailed examination of specific regional cases, including the realignment of Europe, the sharp rise of Pacific Asia, and the Americas after NAFTA. This unique blend of ...
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Subject Index
- Chapter 1: An Introduction to the Problem
- Chapter 2: Received Notions of Identity
- Chapter 3: An Ethnographic/Biographical Approach to Identity
- Chapter 4: The Idea of Political-Cultural Identity
- Chapter 5: Global Changes and New Political-Cultural Identities
- Chapter 6: Changing Political-Cultural Identities in Europe
- Chapter 7: Changing Political-Cultural Identities in the USA
- Chapter 8: Changing Political-Cultural Identities in Pacific Asia
- Chapter 9: Locale, Network and Memory
© P. W. Preston 1997
First edition published 1997
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without permission in writing from the Publishers.
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In November 1989 I happened to be in Germany when the Berlin Wall was opened. At that time it was clear that events which were unfolding day by day would have a profound effect upon the future of European politics and upon the ways in which Europeans thought of themselves. However, when I returned to the UK later in the autumn of that year, expecting to find these matters hotly debated, I discovered a rather ill-tempered feigned disregard of these events. They could have been taking place on a different planet rather than a couple of hundred miles away. As I pursued the ways in which this extraordinary response was articulated, in an essay entitled Europe, Democracy and the Dissolution of Britain, it became clear that many of the UK ruling class wished that they were indeed taking place on another planet.
The sweeping patterns of structural change in Europe had a broad spread of implications for the polity of the UK. As I pursued these matters I became increasingly concerned with the general issue of the ways in which individuals construed their relationships to the ordered collectivities or polities of which they were members. I have tried to grasp these matters in terms of the idea of political-cultural identity.
The formal argument presented in this text sets to one side the resources of the extant disciplines of social science in order to recall the classical European tradition of social theorizing with its characteristic mixture of political-economic, social-institutional and culture-critical argument oriented to the elucidation of the dynamics of complex change, and on this basis affirming the utility of an ethnographic/biographical approach to the issue of political-cultural identity. The substantive arguments presented are informed by the formally derived summary claim that structural change entails agent response, so as the world changes around us, then so too does our sense of ourselves as political actors, and they point to the importance of the development of a tripolar global system where the main regions increasingly show discrete forms of industrial-capitalism and distinctive political communities with their own patterns of institutions, action and political-cultural identity.
The issues addressed here are both difficult and important and I am aware of the limited nature of the contribution of this text. I hope that readers will find it useful in their own work. It is certainly true, so far [Page viii]as I can see, that these issues are likely to become more important over the next few years as the different regions within the global system become more structurally integrated, and as these new forms of regional organization become more routinely evident in the lives of ordinary people.
The major themes of this book have been occasioned by patterns of reflection undertaken while travelling.
In 1988–9, as Europe began to be reconfigured, I had the good fortune to be in Germany at the University of Bielefeld, where I was the academic guest of Professor Hans-Dieter Evers. On my return I was moved to write on the impoverished character of the UK public debate in respect of the dynamics of complex change in Europe. Some years later, in 1993–4, I was the guest of Professor John Clammer at Sophia University, Tokyo, Japan. At the time the long dominant Liberal Democratic Party had lost power and the matter of Japan's future and its place in Pacific Asia were being vigorously debated. Again, the business of political-cultural identity was raised. In early 1994 I was in Australia where I was the guest of Dr Gary Rodan of the Asia Research Centre of Murdoch University, and here it was evident that the matter of identity exercised Australians with reference to their deepening relationships with Pacific Asia. And later in 1994, at the National University of Malaysia, where I was the guest of Professor Shamsul, the matter of identity was raised in the context of the post-colonial construction of an industrialized and ‘eastern-looking’ society. Finally, a little later, at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore I found a deep concern with constituting ‘Singaporean identity’ in the context of that country's role within the global system, matters which had found expression in the work of the institute's then head, Professor Chan Heng Chee.
The present book flows from these sources and offers a preliminary theoretical discussion of political-cultural identity in the context of an emergent tripolar global system. I should like to thank my colleagues and friends in Europe and Asia in whose company I first began to think about these issues, and I am indebted to Jack Brand, John Clammer, David Dolowitz, David Marsh, Earl Smith and my two readers from Sage, all of whom read some or all of the text and made many useful suggestions. The responsibility for the final product is, of course, mine.
AFTA ASEAN Free Trade Area APEC Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation ASEAN Association of Southeast Asian Nations CCP Communist Party of China COCOM Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls DC Developed Country EAEC East Asian Economic Caucus EOI Export Oriented Industrialization FDI Foreign Direct Investment lSI Import Substituting Industrialization KMT Koumintang MITI Ministry of Trade and Industry MNC Multinational Corporation MOFA Ministry of Foreign Affairs NAFTA North American Free Trade Agreement NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organization NGO Non Governmental Organization NIC Newly Industrialized Country NIDL New International Division of Labour NIE Newly Industrialized Economy ODA Official Development Aid OECD Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development SCAP Supreme Commander Allied Powers TNC Transnational Corporation
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