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Modernity and the Construction of Collective Identities

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image of International Journal of Comparative Sociology
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This paper analyses in a comparative framework the relations between construction of collective identity and those of state-civil society relations in three modern settings-namely, in a general way Europe, the United States and Japan-the three major modern industrialized societies, with a brief comparative glance at Latin America. This analysis is based on the assumption first that collective identity is not naturally generated but socially constructed: it is the intentional or non-intentional consequence of interactions which on their turn are socially patterned and structured. Collective identity depends on special processes of induction of the members in the collectivity, ranging from various rites of initiation to various collective rituals, in which the attribute of "similarity" among its members, as against the strangeness, the differences, the distinction of the other, is symbolically constructed and defined. Constructing boundaries and constructing a basis for trust solidarity and communal equality are two aspects of such processes.

Affiliations: 1: The Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the Truman Research Institute, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem


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