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Volume 20, 2004

World-System Analysis: Contemporary Research and Directions

Frank J. Lechner
Pages 239-257

National Identity and Globalization
Policy Paths and the Process of Reimagining Community

World culture legitimates the particularity of national identities yet globalization calls their viability into question. What are nations to do? This paper argues that identities undergo embattled redefinition by means of path-dependent renegotiation. The reproduction of national difference and the viability of national culture thus depend on “glocal” forms of identity work, fine-grained understanding of which is important to any analysis of culture in the world system. Proposing that processes of policy formation serve as useful markers of identity transformations, the paper illustrates how in policy arenas in the Netherlands national identity was enacted in meeting recently intensified global challenges with local paradigms while at the same time the content and viability of the national “project” were continually in question, leading to variation over time and by sector in the reimagining of national community.

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