Between Ethnicity and Communalism

Dipankar Gupta


Published in print December 2005 | ISBN: 9780195674330
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081820 | DOI:
Between Ethnicity and Communalism

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There are two choices before a nation-state. Either it delves into memories of blood and soil, or it moves on to a different form of national identity that is based on citizenship. The chapter describes how ethnic movements thematize the blood, soil, and history powered versions of the nation-state. Indian examples of ethnic movements would be the many Hindu-Muslim confrontations. An ethnic movement may well be seen as an indicator of nervousness regarding the durability of the nation-state and of its territorial possessions. Communalism and ethnicity share many other attributes in common. The nation-state was the key to the entire episode of Sikh extremism. It is mentioned that ethnicity thematizes the nation-state, but communalism targets the government. The Shiv Sena’s attack on south Indians was determined by economic reasons and by the peculiar demographic and social profile of Mumbai.

Keywords: ethnicity; communalism; Shiv Sena; nation-state; blood; soil; Sikh extremism; citizenship

Chapter.  13109 words. 

Subjects: Comparative and Historical Sociology

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