ABOUT THIS BOOK
Two decades after the publication of his prize-winning book, The Politics of Cultural Pluralism, Crawford Young and a distinguished panel of contributors assess the changing impact of cultural pluralism on political processes around the world, specifically in the former Soviet Union, China, United States, India, Ethiopia, and Guatemala. The result is an arresting look at the dissolution of the nation-state system as we have known it.
Crawford Young opens with an overview of the dramatic rise in the political significance of cultural pluralism and of scholars’ changing understanding of what drives and shapes ethnic identification. Mark Beissinger brilliantly explains the demise of the last great empire-state, the USSR, while Edward Friedman notes growing challenges to the apparent cultural homogeneity of China. Nader Entessar suggests intriguing contrasts in Azeri identity politics in Iran and the ex-USSR. Ronald Schmidt and Noel Kent explore the language and racial dimensions of the rising multicultural currents in the United States. Douglas Spitz shows the extent of the decline of the old secular vision of India of the independence generation; Alan LeBaron traces the recent emergence of an assertive Mayan identity among a submerged populace in Guatemala, long thought to be destined for Ladinoization. A case study of the diversity and uncertain future of Ethiopia dramatically emerges from four contrasting contributions: Tekle Woldemikael looks at the potential cultural tensions in Eritrea, Solomon Gashaw offers a central Ethiopian nationalist perspective, Herbert Lewis reflects the perspectives of a restless and disaffected periphery, and James Quirin provides an arresting explanation of the construction of identity amongst the Beta Israel (Ethiopian Jews). Virginia Sapiro steps back from specific regions, offering an original analysis of the interaction between cultural pluralism and gender.