These essays, by widely respected scholars in fields ranging from social and political theory to historical sociology and cultural studies, illuminate the significance of the public/private distinction for an increasingly wide range of ...
Empires and nation-states are generally opposed to each other, as contrasting and antithetical forms. Nationalism is widely held to have been the solvent that dissolved the historic European empires. This paper argues that there are in fact, in practice at least, significant similarities between nation-states and empires. Many nation-states are in effect empires in miniature. Similarly, many empires can be seen as nation-states “writ large.” Moreover, empires were not, as is usually held, superseded by nation-states but continued alongside them. Empires (...) and nation-states may in fact best be thought of as alternative political projects, both of which are available for elites to pursue depending on the circumstances of the moment. Ultimately empires and nation-states do point in different directions, but it is not clear that the future is a future of nation-states. Empires, as large-scale and long-lasting multiethnic and “multicultural” experiments, may have much to teach us in the current historical phase of globalization and increasingly heterogeneous societies. (shrink)
The western utopia has both classical and Judaeo-Christian roots. From the Greeks came the form of the ideal city, based on reason, from Jews and Christians the idea of deliverance through a messiah and the culmination of history in the millennium. The Greek conception placed utopia in an ideal space, the Christian conception in an ideal time. The modern utopia, dating from Thomas More's Utopia (1516), drew upon both these traditions but added something distinctive of its own. Following More, the (...) modern utopia has developed as a literary form whose closest relative is the novel. This, I argue, is its great strength. Unlike the abstract utopias of social and political philosophy, such as Marxism or anarchism, the `concrete utopia' of writers such as Edward Bellamy, William Morris and H. G. Wells paints `pleasing pictures of daily life' which both impel us to desire the good society and give us the tools by which to assess it. It is in this respect that utopia - and its mirror-image, the anti-utopia - developed as a distinct literary genre, separating it from other forms of picturing the ideal society in both east and west. (shrink)
China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI), first announced by President Xi Jinping in 2013, has attracted widespread attention, with much discussion as to its meaning and intention. This article argues that one of the best ways to understand the BRI is to see it in the context of China’s two-thousand-year history as an empire. What kind of empire was the Chinese Empire? How did it see itself, and what was its characteristic mode of action? What was the meaning of the (...) “tribute system”? The celebrated voyages (1405–1433) of the Ming admiral Zheng He are taken as a typical example of Chinese imperial behaviour (rather than being seen, as is common, as an aberrant and exceptional episode). By examining this and other aspects of Chinese imperial history, it is hoped that some light might be shed on what the Chinese leadership as in mind with its Belt and Road Initiative, and what the rest of the world should expect from it. (shrink)
Gellner is mostly known for his theory of nationalism, which he saw as antithetical to the principle of the multinational, hierarchical, empire. But like his LSE colleague Elie Kedourie, Gellner was fascinated by empire. In his last, posthumously published work, Language and Solitude, Gellner returned to the region of his childhood, the former Habsburg Empire, to explore its impact on the work of Malinowski and Wittgenstein. This essay will reflect on Gellner’s thoughts about empire, and the way in which he (...) assessed their necessary disappearance – as he thought – in the modern world. (shrink)
General and comparative studies of empire – like those of revolution – often suffer from insufficient attention to chronology. Time expresses itself both in the form that empires occur, often in succession to each other – the Roman, the Holy Roman, the Spanish, etc. – and, equally, in an awareness that this succession links empires in a genealogical sense, as part of a family of empires. This article explores the implications of taking time seriously, so that empires are not considered (...) simply as like ‘cases’ of a general phenomenon of empire but are treated as both ‘the same and different’. Concentrating on the European empires since the time of Rome, the article shows the extent to which empires were conscious of each other, seeking both to imitate admired features as well as to escape from those thought less desirable. It also shows the difference between ancient and modern empires, considered not so much as different types as in the differences caused by their location in different points in historical time. Comparative studies of empire, the article concludes, must pay attention to both continuity and change, both similarity and difference. (shrink)
Why Race?Krishan Kumar - 1998 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 1 (1):121-128.details
Ivan Hannaford, Race: The History of an Idea in the West. Washington, DC: The Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 1996, pp. 448. 0?8018?5223?4. Richard Jenkins, Rethinking Ethnicity: Arguments and Explorations. London: Sage Publications, 1997, pp. 194. 0?8039?7677?1. Kenan Malik, The Meaning of Race: Race, History and Culture in Western Society. London: Macmillan, 1996, pp. 323. 0?333?62857?8.
`Europe' and national identity are not necessarily in conflict, as the examples of Spain, Greece, Germany and Italy in their different ways suggest. The same may be true of some of the constituent nations of the British Isles - the Scots, the Irish (North and South), and the Welsh. Europe however poses a particular problem for the English, for longstanding political and cultural reasons. This article explores the different relations of the different parts of the United Kingdom to an increasingly (...) unified Europe. It suggests that, just as there have been many `Europes', so there have been many different ways of relating to it, depending on particular historical and political circumstances. Of all the people of the United Kingdom it is the English who have the greatest difficulty in coming to terms with a future in Europe. (shrink)
In the wake of the Iraq war of 2003, and in response to the European reaction to the war, a number of prominent European intellectuals launched a new debate on Europe's identity, and in particular the extent to which it differed from American identity. The debate was sparked by a newspaper article by Jürgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida, which was circulated to several other intellectuals for comment. The Europe-wide debate which ensued — in which several Americans joined — provides a (...) revealing snap-shot of European opinion on the question of Europe's identity. It illustrates in particular the dangers as well as the seductions of seeing that identity mainly in terms of a contrast with America, putatively to the advantage of the Europeans. This article argues that such a contrast fuels an anti-Americanism that is disabling to Europe and conceals many significant — and less selfflattering — aspects of the European inheritance. (shrink)