Belonging: Solidarity and Division in Modern Societies

Belonging: Solidarity and Division in Modern Societies

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It is commonly assumed that we live in an age of unbridled individualism, but in this important new book Montserrat Guibernau argues that the need to belong to a group or community - from peer groups and local communities to ethnic groups and nations - is a pervasive and enduring feature of modern social life. The power of belonging stems from the potential to generate an emotional attachment capable of fostering a shared identity, loyalty and solidarity among members of a given community. It is this strong emotional dimension that enables belonging to act as a trigger for political mobilization and, in extreme cases, to underpin collective violence. Among the topics examined in this book are identity as a political instrument; emotions and political mobilization; the return of authoritarianism and the rise of the new radical right; symbols and the rituals of belonging; loyalty, the nation and nationalism. It includes case studies from Britain, Spain, Catalonia, Germany, the Middle East and the United States. This wide-ranging and cutting-edge book will be of great interest to students and scholars in politics, sociology and the social sciences generally.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 240 pages
  • 156 x 232 x 24mm | 499.99g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0745655068
  • 9780745655062

Table of contents

Acknowledgements viii Introduction 1 Outline of the book 2 1 Identity as a Political Instrument 7 Conflicting identities 7 The role of boundaries 10 Traditional versus modern societies 15 The construction and meaning of identity 16 The consequences of globalization 19 Summary 24 2 Belonging by Choice 26 Belonging and emotion 26 The conditions of belonging 32 Collective identity and the power of symbols 35 Belonging to the nation 43 Collective identity and political mobilization 44 Summary 48 3 Freedom and Constraint 50 Immanuel Kant 51 Michel Foucault 55 Erich Fromm 58 The freedom to belong 61 Alienation, fear of irrelevance and group membership 64 Escaping into new dependencies: addiction 65 Summary 69 4 The New Radical Right and the Resurgence of Authoritarian Politics 71 The rise of authoritarianism 71 The new radical right versus traditional fascism 75 Who votes for the new radical right? 79 White resistance as a transnational movement 80 The rise of ethno-politics 83 On racism 84 The nation: conflicting views 86 From biological to cultural exclusion 88 Summary 90 5 The Rituals of Belonging 92 The power of symbols 92 The meaning of symbols 97 Ritual and power 98 Ritual and emotions 103 Rituals of inclusion and exclusion 105 Rites of belonging in modern society 108 Rites of passage 110 Exclusive and inclusive groups and associations 112 Summary 116 6 Loyalty, Citizenship and the Nation 118 On loyalty 118 Three types of loyalty 120 Loyalty, the nation and nationalism 123 National loyalty in peacetime and wartime 128 Loyalty programmes in the USA 130 Scapegoating and dissent 134 Freedom versus conformity 135 Authoritarian versus democratic loyalty 137 The great challenge: turning immigrants into Americans 140 Summary 142 7 Emotion and Political Mobilization 144 Emotion and social action 144 Emotion and the rational imperatives of market capitalism 147 Taming emotion and the construction of healing spaces 153 Emotion and political mobilization 154 Summary 170 Conclusion 172 Notes 181 Bibliography 200 Index 211
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Review quote

A well-written and wide-ranging overview of many important ideas about belonging. Journal of Social Policy "A thought-provoking book on fundamentally important issues." Sociology "A rich, sound and consistent book within the classical political science tradition." Journal of Catalan Intellectual History "In Belonging Professor Guibernau skilfully deconstructs the many differing elements that determine the individual s identity. In a world where conflicting trends, tendencies and tensions compete to define us, it is a timely analysis of the increasing complexities influencing much of the contemporary human predicament. It will become a standard work on the subject." Lord Smith of Clifton "Montserrat Guibernau reformulates the concept of belonging through an in-depth exploration of mechanisms of solidarity and psychological connections between citizens and communities. The author takes us beyond debates on national identity and nationalism by deepening our understanding of loyalty, freedom and trust - three dimensions that have been neglected for too long by social scientists and political authorities - in divided polities. This book is theorerically rich and highly accessible." Alain Gagnon, Universite du Quebec a Montreal "How to define and interpret the relationship between the individual and community? Guibernau demonstrates possibilities of new understanding of this almost secular problem by introducing the newly defined term belonging in mutual tension with identification and nationalism. Theoretical reflections are connected with pressing political problems of our times. This approach is rich on inspiration and intellectual challenge for all social sciences." Miroslav Hroch, Charles University, Prague
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About Montserrat Guibernau

Montserrat Guibernau is Professor of Politics at Queen Mary, University of London, where she works on national and ethnic diversity.
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