Introduction: Imagining Alternatives to Globalization of the Nation Form.

Ahmad, Irfan and Jie Kang. 2021 “Introduction: Imagining Alternatives to Globalization of the Nation Form.” In Irfan Ahmad and Jie Kang (eds). The Nation Form in the Global Age: Ethnographic Perspectives. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Abstract: This chapter makes a set of three interconnected arguments. The first argument, which critically binds the volume together, is that rather than seeing contemporary politics in terms of globalization eroding the nation state or its persistence regardless of globalization, what characterizes the world is the globalization of the nation form. Second, by showing nationalism’s relationship with violence it underlines the need to interrogate the efficacy and morality of the nation state as a form of polis. Third, in dialogue with Arjun Appadurai’s productive criticism of nationalism, it makes the contention that instead of being informed exclusively by the present and the diaspora (as in Appadurai’s writings), imaginings of a postnational world should equally account for the pre- and anti-national forms of thoughts prior to the World War II. To this end, it discusses Muhammad Iqbal (d. 1938), poet-philosopher of undivided India, and Hasan al-Banna (d. 1949), activist-reformer and founder of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. The second and third arguments thus outline arenas for future decolonial anthropological and other works on nationalism and culture more generally. With a description of the volume’s manifold theoretical and methodological distinctions, the chapter concludes with an outline of chapters ahead.

Keywords: Alternatives to nationalism – Caliphate – Christianity – COVID-19- EuropeanUnion – Habermas