IDENTITY, STATE, AND TRADITION: A THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVE
Corresponding Author(s) : Ankita Dutta
Humanities & Social Sciences Reviews,
Vol. 8 No. 3 (2020): May
Purpose of the Study: This research endeavors to highlight the complex notion of ‘identity’ and the process of identity formation that involves complex socio-political dynamics that need to be located within the larger socio-cultural spectrum.
Methodology: The study is based upon a socio-political and socio-anthropological analysis of the questions of identity, state, tradition, and culture. It has been carried out using relevant theories and concepts borrowed chiefly from the available literature on political sociology and anthropology. It is based on a theorization of the concept of identity as a societal construct and its dynamic relationship with not only the state but also people’s traditional beliefs and practices.
Main Findings: Based upon secondary sources, the results of the study showed that ‘identity’ as a social construct is based on various conflicts and contestations centering around people’s diverse identities at one and the same time. Identity politics plays a crucial role in the context of the state machinery, which is not a static entity. It is very much affected by the changes taking place within society, which, in itself, is representative of diversity and heterogeneity. People’s traditional beliefs and practices also play a significant role in the formation of identities through institutions recognized as “traditional.” They play an important role in reflecting the changing power relations in society through the instrument of law.
Applications of this Study: Both formal state laws and community-backed laws are indispensable in our society because they function within a particular social context that is responsible for the gradual process of internalization of the law and legal processes among people. This, in turn, gets reflected in the formation of various social identities among different groups and communities of people.
Novelty/Originality of this study: This research builds a model to understand the different ways in which institutions recognized as “traditional” create new identities or reinforce the already existing ones vis-à-vis the different stages of political development in a society.
- Ananth Pur, K., & Moore, M. (2010). Ambiguous Institutions: Traditional Governance and Local Democracy in Rural South India. The Journal of Development Studies, 46(4), 603-623. https://doi.org/10.1080/00220380903002921 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00220380903002921
- Basu, Koyel. (2011). Ethnic Conflict and Sub-nationalism in Assam: A Case Study. In Molly Ghosh & Sutapa Ghosh (Eds.), Questioning Identity: Response of the State and Community in Contemporary India (pp. 59-73). KP Bagchi & Company.
- Beteille, Andre. (2012). Democracy and its Institutions. OUP. https://doi.org/10.1093/ac prof:oso/9780198080961.001.0001
- Bhargava, R., & Acharya, A. (2008). Political Theory: An Introduction. Pearson Longman.
- Bhuyan, Abhijit. (2007). Socio-Cultural and Political Role of the Namghar in Assam: A Comparative Study of the Namghars of Borbhogia Village and Bordowa Than/Sattra. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies.
- Brubaker, R., & Cooper, F. (2000). Beyond Identity: Theory and Society. Theory and Society, 29(1), 1-47. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1007068714468 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1007068714468
- Castells, Manual. (2006). Globalisation and Identity: A Comparative Perspective. Transfer, Journal of Contemporary Culture, XVI(1), 56-65.
- Chadha, Kalyani. (2018). From Caste to Faith: Contemporary Identity Politics in a Globalised India. Journalism and Communication Monographs, 20(I), 84-87. https://doi.org/10.1177/1522637917750132 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1522637917750132
- Chatterjee, Partha. (2006). The Politics of the Governed: Reflections on Popular Politics in Most of the World. Columbia University Press.
- Dapna, O., Elmore, K., & Smith, G. (2012). Self, Self-Concept and Identity. In Mark R. Leary & June Price Tangney (Eds.), Self, Self-Concept and Identity (pp. 27-36). The Guildford Press.
- Eriksen, Thomas Hylland. (2007). Globalisation: The Key Concepts. Bloomsbury Academic.
- Gergen, Kenneth J. (1999). Social Construction and the Transformation of Identity Politics. In F. Newman & L. Holzman (Eds.), End of Knowing: A New Developmental Way of Learning (pp. 1-16). Routledge.
- Ghosh, Sreemoyee. (2011). Class-Gender Interaction in the Issue of Sexual Harassment of Industrial Informal Women Workers of Durgapur. In Molly Ghosh & Sutapa Ghosh (Eds.), Questioning Identity: Response of the State and Community in Contemporary India (pp. 92-117). KP Bagchi & Company.
- Guru, Gopal. (2009). Humiliation: Claims and Context. Oxford University Press.
- Hall, Peter A. & Rosemary, C.R. Taylor. (1996). Political Science and the Three New Institutionalisms. Political Studies, 44(5), 55-83. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9248.1996.tb00343.x DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9248.1996.tb00343.x
- Kapur, D., & Mehta, P.B. (2007). Public Institutions in India: Performance and Design. OUP.
- Kaviraj, Sudipta. (1990). On State, Society and Discourse in India. IDS Bulletin, 21(4), 11-18. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1759-5436.1990.mp21004003.x DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1759-5436.1990.mp21004003.x
- Kaviraj, Sudipta. (2012). The Trajectories of the Indian State. Permanent Black.
- Kymlicka, Will. (2001). Politics in the Vernacular: Nationalism, Multiculturalism, and Citizenship. OUP. https://doi.org/10.1093/0199240981.001.0001 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/0199240981.001.0001
- Kymlicka, Will. (2002). Contemporary Political Philosophy. OUP.
- Mahajan, Gurpreet. (2011). Accomodating Diversity: Ideas and Institutional Practices. OUP.
- Majeed, Gulshan. (2013). Ethnicity and Conflict: A Theoretical Perspective. Journal of Political Studies, 20(1), 97-111.
- Migdal, Joel S. (2009). Studying the State. In Mark Irving Lichbach and Alan S. Zuckerman (Eds.), Comparative Politics, Rationality, Culture and Structure (pp. 231-264). Cambridge University Press.
- Mitchell, Timothy. (1991). The Limits of the State: Beyond Statist Approaches and Their Critics. The American Political Science Review, 85(1), 77-96. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003055400271451 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003055400271451
- Nader, Laura. (2005). The Life of the Law: Anthropological Projects. University of California Press.
- Neog, Maheswar. (2008). Cultural Heritage of Assam. Omsons Publications.
- Oomen, T.K.. (2010). Social Movements I: Issues of Identity. OUP.
- Parekh, Bhikhu. (2009). Logic of Humiliation. In Gopal Guru (Ed.), Humiliation: Claims and Context (pp. 23-41). Oxford University Press.
- Preez, P. du. (1980). The Politics of Identity. St. Martin’s Press.
- Reddy, Sanjay G. (2007). A Rising Tide of Demands India’s Public Institutions and the Democratic Revolution. In Devesh Kapur & Pratap Bhanu Mehta (Eds.), Public Institutions in India: Performance and Design (pp. 168-183). Oxford University Press.
- Roy, Srirupa. (2007). Beyond Belief: India and the Politics of Post-Colonial Nationalism. Duke University Press. https://doi.org/10.1215/9780822389910 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1215/9780822389910
- Sarmah, A., & Gogoi, C.F. (2011). Role of Traditional Institutions in Governance: Experience from Karbi Anglong, Assam. Dialogue, 13(2), 76-89. https://doi.org/10.1177/0974354520100209 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0974354520100209
- Scott, James C. (1998). Seeing like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed. Yale University Press.
- Steinmo, Sven. (2001). The New Institutionalism. In Barry Clark & Joe Foweraker (Eds.), The Encyclopaedia of Democratic Thought (pp. 1-5). Routledge.
- Syemlieh, David R. (2006). Traditional Institutions of Governance in the Hills of Northeast India: The Khasi Experience. Man and Society: A Journal of Northeast Studies, III(117), 48-61. http://dspace.nehu.ac.i n/handle/1/4902
- Thelen, Kathleen. (1999). Historical Institutionalism in Comparative Politics. Annual Review Political Science, 8(2), 369-404. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.polisci.2.1.369 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.polisci.2.1.369