Sunday, November 15, 2015

Different modes of belonging and group membership

The Clasp of Civilizations by Richard Alan Hartz … 
Richard Hartz looks primarily at cultural contacts, especially between what are still called “the East” and “the West” — although these terms have now lost much of their meaning on account, precisely, of globalization. How Eastern is a software engineer working for a German firm in Bangalore, speaking English as his primary language, and queuing up to see the latest Hollywood film? And how Western is a Manchester-born woman who trades in her mini-dress for a burqa, quits her job in a biochemistry lab and flies to Turkey to join the ISIS? Regional cultures still count for something, but global mashups will dominate the future. [...]
As a Westerner who has spent most of his adult life in India, Hartz brings balance and breadth to the discussion of topics that often encourage the taking of extreme positions. A careful reader of his sources, he avoids the pitfalls of oversimplification that people who come to the debate with fixed agendas tend to fall into. There is much to criticize in Huntington’s thesis, but most of those who attack him, Hartz observes, skewer a straw man of their own creation. The same is true of many Indian critics of Aurobindo and Nehru, who know their works only in the form of snippets circulated on the Internet. Hartz is at his best when he shows the hollowness of such tendentious criticism, but he may, by trying over-hard to avoid the same mistakes, keep himself from expressing his own views with sufficient vigour. But this is a minor quibble. His Clasp of Civilizations is an important contribution to the globalization debate written, appropriately, from a cosmopolitan standpoint.
Peter Heehs is an American historian living in Pondicherry, who writes on modern Indian History, Spirituality and Religion.
by R Hartz - ‎Related articlesThe Forgotten September 11 and the Clasp of Civilizations. Richard Hartz. An event in the 1890s has been called “the dawn of religious pluralism.” It was also ...

Open Democracy - ‎Nov 13, 2015‎ ENGIN ISIN 13 November 2015
To me his speech acts and his work on parrhesia are intimately related in ways that we have yet to understand. I have written about his speech in Geneva and I consider it a significant text. InCitizens Without Frontiers I drew on the three principles that Foucault outlines in this speech [3]. I especially focused on his point that organizations such as Amnesty International and Medécins du Monde have created new rights to act across borders.
Jun 19, 2013 - Book Review: Citizens Without Frontiers by Engin F. Isin ... December2012. ... Following on from a series of books on citizenship, including Being Political and Acts of Citizenship, Engin F. Isin continues to push the boundaries ...
Zalfa Feghali
Tracing a brief history of Médecins Sans Frontières, Isin highlights how historically it has been professions that traverse borders or frontiers. Accordingly, the idea of ‘citizens without frontiers’ “signifies the kind of politics and political subjects that are emerging and what happens when they enact their political subjectivity traversing frontiers”. His aim, then, is “to participate in creating or constructing a field in which a new figure can acquire capacities to act as a citizen”. What is most paradoxical about these suggestions is the fact that citizenship is, by its very nature, tied to the notion of the demarcated state. Is a citizen still a citizen when she traverses the frontiers that affirm her very existence?

In chapter 5, the title chapter “Citizens Without Frontiers”, Isin imagines a new field in which the citizen without frontiers is an activist whose existence allows us to distinguish between “traversal citizenship” from “universal citizenship.” What is key to remember here, Isin argues, is that citizens without frontiers “exercise a right that does not exist” – in fact what I would argue, does not yet exist, but is a “right” within citizenship studies that Isin theorizes here, for the first time. The three “acts” outlined in this chapter, “Of Declaration: We, the Roma Nation”, “Of Resistance: International Solidarity Movement”, “Of Sharing: Open Rights Group”, bring this argument together. What each of these “acts” has in common is the formation of alternative communities – whether nations, movements, or groups. The formation – and acts – of these communities emphasizes how our understanding of citizenship must be flexible and adaptive to different modes of belonging and group membership that have been critically ignored within citizenship studies.

Following on from this, the final chapter, “Emancipating (Acts of) Citizenship”, makes the useful distinction between the state and the nation. Isin argues that the state is being taken apart from the nation. This is not a new crisis, and Isin acknowledges the long history of tension between the ideas of nation and state.

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