By Rabindranath Tagore
Tagore was once a fierce opponent of British rule in India. during this paintings he discusses the resurgence of the East and the problem it poses to Western supremacy, calling for a destiny past nationalism, dependent in its place on cooperation and racial tolerance.
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Extra info for Nationalism (Penguin Great Ideas)
However, there are a number of serious problems with his argument. In the first place, I am definite about the utter implausibility of the bounded, static image of ‘a society’ (or ‘a culture’). Human collectivities have never corresponded to the ‘nation state model of society’; not even, as the Danish example suggests, conventional Western nation states. The boundaries and contents of human groups have always been – doubtless in different ways, in different contexts, at different times, but that is another matter – flexible, 30 Making Sense of Collectivity changeable, negotiable, anything but definite.
All these lead human beings to problematise the givens of their own existence and to undertake a quest for the construction of meaningful order as an integral part of their self-interpretations and self-awareness, and of their self-reflexivity. Such anxiety and fear of chaos and the quest for the constitution of a meaningful order through which such chaos can seemingly be overcome, generate among human beings a strong predisposition to construct a realm of the sacred, in which direct contact with the roots of cosmic or social order is established, and which serves as a The Construction of Collective Identities 35 focal point for the construction of symbolic and institutional boundaries inherent in the constitution of such order.
This happens across and on each side of the boundary, and doesn’t make sense without both those sides. Boundedness is thus a product of increasing complexity and interconnectedness (which is probably why it shows no signs of going away, globalisation notwithstanding). To conclude, there may well be reasons other than Urry’s, and which there is no space to explore here (see Jenkins, 2002), for wanting to move away from words such as ‘society’ and ‘culture’. There is certainly a need to attend to the varied portfolio of human activities that Urry glosses as ‘mobilities’.