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By Margar Sleeboom

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Additional resources for Academic Nationalism in China and Japan: Framed in Concepts of Nature, Culture and the Universal (Nissan Institute Routledge Japanese Studies Series)

Example text

But why do contradictory criteria of national identity assume national proportions in the first place? Only when cultural markers and criteria have been made into a political national issue, nation-state identity becomes an arena for fighting out a host of apparently contradictory criteria. The job of turning symbolic markers into political issues has been and is likely to continue to be filled by nation-oriented academics. In their work the boundaries of the nation are shifted, cultural markers are redefined, and national identities linked up with knowledge of a world of nation-states.

The nature of boundary markers used in identity construction, together with the ways nations and regions are staged internationally, and the role of natural, cultural and/or universal categories in academic theory provide a clue to the politics of identity creation. In Chapter Seven of Part III, I make a distinction between the various methods by which alterity is envisaged (horizontal polarization (lateral juxtaposition), vertical stratification, and temporalization), making a distinction between Other and They.

The functionalist approach, on the other hand, occupies itself with the location and characterization of quintessences, the functional continuities along the historical path, which the nation is believed to have followed. This approach crystallizes history around contemporary views of national essences that are projected back into the past. A comparison of competing views of the nation in their historical contexts facilitates a better understanding of the circumstances through which the nation is remembered, envisaged, measured and recreated in time.

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