Constructing Identity in “Glocal” Politics

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M. A. Muqtedar Khan



This paper seeks to understand the impact of current global political
and socioeconomic conditions on the construction of identity. I advance
an argument based on a two-step logic. First, I challenge the characterization
of current socioeconomic conditions as one of globalization by
marshaling arguments and evidence that strongly suggest that along with
globalization, there are simultaneous processes of localization proliferating
in the world today. I contend that current conditions are indicative of
things far exceeding the scope of globalization and that they can be
described more accurately as ccglocalization.~H’2a ving established this
claim, I show how the processes of glocalization affect the construction
of Muslim identity.
Why do I explore the relationship between glocalization and identity
construction? Because it is significant. Those conversant with current theoretical
debates within the discipline of international relations’ are aware
that identity has emerged as a significant explanatory construct in international
relations theory in the post-Cold War era.4 In this article, I discuss
the emergence of identity as an important concept in world politics.
The contemporary field of international relations is defined by three
philosophically distinct research programs? rationalists: constructivists,’
and interpretivists.’ The moot issue is essentially a search for the most
important variable that can help explain or understand the behavior of
international actors and subsequently explain the nature of world politics
in order to minimize war and maximize peace.
Rationalists contend that actors are basically rational actors who seek
the maximization of their interests, interests being understood primarily
in material terms and often calculated by utility functions maximizing
given preferences? Interpretivists include postmodernists, critical theorists,
and feminists, all of whom argue that basically the extant world
political praxis or discourses “constitute” international agents and thereby
determine their actions, even as they reproduce world politics by ...

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