National Collective Identity: Social Constructs and International Systems

National Collective Identity: Social Constructs and International Systems

National Collective Identity: Social Constructs and International Systems

National Collective Identity: Social Constructs and International Systems

Synopsis

Questions of national identity have become pivotal for peacekeepers, policy-makers and scholars. This book illustrates how centuries-old dynastic traditions have been replaced in the modern era by nationalist and ethnic identity movements.

Excerpt

This book is a result of my long-term fascination with who we are, why we do what we do, and how we came to be who we are. in the pages to follow I provide an explanation of the consequences of the nationalization of state actors within a systems theory that seeks to explain epochal change in the international systems, and that stems from changes in the social identities of the societies that construct these systems. My preliminary answer is that we do what we do because our ideas about who we are change, and we come to be who we are because these self-understandings change. They impel us to become something new.

I ask that the reader be patient with the elaboration of this explanation in the pages that follow. the elaboration requires both a great deal of conceptual development and a great deal of description. the conceptual development is most fully elaborated in two early, theoretically oriented chapters. Readers unfamiliar with social theory in general and international relations theory in particular may find these to be densely written. I hope their effort will be rewarded with an understanding of how changes in social identities generate epochal change in international systems. Description, developed in the form of analytic narrative, constitutes the rest of the book. I have labored to summarize the theoretical significance of each empirical chapter to assist the reader in understanding the manner in which the empirics support the theory. Some theorists of international relations will judge these chapters to constitute “thick description” and may feel that the theoretical framework could be supported with a more spare examination of . . .

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