Culture and the Politics of Third World Nationalism

Culture and the Politics of Third World Nationalism

Culture and the Politics of Third World Nationalism

Culture and the Politics of Third World Nationalism

Synopsis

Nationalism in specific political systems combined with a theoretical framework that draws out its universal significance. Ten case studies from South Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and Europe focus on local cultural factors.

Excerpt

This is not yet another library work on nationalism, though I do build on the significant findings of previous scholars in the field. There is an anthropological dimension to my endeavour, which I would like to stress at the outset. in 1959 when I was a little boy, I experienced a prototype nationalism in which the Dalai Lama became the symbol of the whole movement, occasioned by the Tibetan rebellion against the Chinese occupation of Tibet. Barely three years after escaping to India, I witnessed Indian nationalism unleashed by the 1962 Sino-Indian war (women donating their jewellery to the Indian war effort, and so on). in 1979 when I was about to write my dissertation at Berkeley I witnessed a brief resurgence of American nationalism occasioned by the Iran hostages incident (‘Nuke Khomeini’ so the graffitis used to run). and during the academic year 1986-7, while teaching at North Bengal University (Darjeeling) I observed at first hand the rise of Gurkha ethnic nationalism, which passed through all the necessary stages of nationalism: mass mobilization, social communication and egalitarian politics. the Kukri, a short sword used by Gurkha soldiers, became the symbol of this movement.

The function of personal experience in academic activity is not usually acknowledged in public. Yet its crucial role in gaining insight into the subject of one’s inquiry cannot be underestimated. Personal experience makes the critical difference between a work of insight and a formal academic exercise. That is why anthropology has made more contributions to social understanding than any other discipline. (In this respect Third World scholars have yet to free themselves from their traditional bias against anthropology and anthropologists.) Indeed, behind any deep understanding of any social phenomenon is some crucial insightful personal experience as the igniting spark. the Buddha’s experience of sickness, ageing and death inspired him to meditate deeply upon the nature of the human condition; Marx’s personal experience of the emerging industrial capitalism in . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.