9781842770634

Identity Mania : Fundamentalism and the Politicization of Cultural Differences

by
  • ISBN13:

    9781842770634

  • ISBN10:

    1842770632

  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 2002-02-09
  • Publisher: Zed Books
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Summary

A critically important question confronts many countries in the post-Cold War epoch: are culturally determined political conflicts inevitable? While acknowledging people's need for identity, and that different cultures necessarily produce differentiated identities, Professor Meyer argues that difference only leads to intolerance and violence when politically ambitious leaderships exploit it. Fundamentalism is therefore essentially a political phenomenon that has occured in all civilizations, particularly in contemporary Europe and North America. In the present age of globalization, Meyer suggests that social crisis grows out of an exclusionary dynamic that marginalizes growing numbers of people. Little wonder that the deepening of inequality between North and South has undermined popular confidence in secular leaders' vision of development and triggered a divisive fundamentalism that declares war on modernism and, ironically, on traditionalism too. This argument contains real grounds for optimism. In seeking political strategies to defeat fundamentalism and the identity mania that accompanies it, the focus must be on developing economic and social structures that give all citizens a common interest in the operations of a socially responsible market economy, which delivers to all.

Author Biography

Thomas Meyer is Professor of Political Science at the University of Dortmund. Born in 1943, he studied philosophy and political science with Adorno, Horkheimer, Habermas and Fetscher in Frankfurt am Main. He has taught and conducted research in several countries, including India, and is the author of numerous essays and books on culture and politics, political communication, and socialism. These include Fundamentalismus: Aufstand gegen die Moderne (1989), Was bleibt vom Sozialismus? (1990), and Die Transformation des Politischen (1994).

Table of Contents

Editor's Note ix
Fundamentalism: Failed Modernity and the West A Foreword xi
Hartmut Elsenhans
Spotlight xxi
The Birth of an Ideology
1(26)
An Indignant Look at a New Experience
1(3)
The Politics of Cultural Identity
4(10)
Identity: Necessity and Mania
14(3)
Fundamentalism: The Modern Identity Mania
17(10)
Attempts at Clarification
27(5)
Civilization, Civilizational Styles and Culture
27(5)
Unexpected Strains of Fundamentalism in Europe
32(20)
The Right-Wing Mania for Identity: Ethnopluralism
32(4)
The Left-Wing Identity Mania: Community as Society
36(3)
The Post-Modern Identity Mania: Psychosects
39(8)
The Identity Mania Engendered by Exclusion: Young Turks in Germany
47(5)
Unwanted Interactions: Global Scenarios for Culture and Politics
52(18)
The Clash of Civilizations
52(5)
Insulation through Globalization
57(6)
Opening-up through Identity
63(4)
The Clash within Civilizations
67(3)
The Language of Empirical Investigation: Facts and Research Results
70(21)
Basic Social Values in Cultures
71(9)
Post-materialism in Cultures
80(2)
Socio-Cultural Milieus in Cultures
82(3)
Understanding between Cultures
85(6)
Prospects for the global Community
91(6)
Theories on Fundamentalism
91(6)
Transculturality: A Contemporary Concept of Culture
97(12)
The Case of Islam
97(4)
Cultural Linkages
101(4)
Refuge and False Enticement
105(4)
Opportunities in Risk
109(4)
Appendix I: A Comparison of Fundamental Values on the Basis of Hofstede's Data 113(8)
Appendix II: Post-Materialism in 40 Countries on the Basis of Gross National Product 121(1)
Appendix III: Socio-Cultural Milieus in Europe 122(1)
Select Bibliography 123

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