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Durham University

Ustinov College


Why is the Globalist/Nationalist Dichotomy So Misleading? It Obscures the Paradigmatic Planetarist Alternative from View

Dr. Stefan Pedersen, University of Leeds

The globalism/nationalism dichotomy speaks to arguably the fundamental political question facing humanity at the beginning of the 21st Century: Will our present range of problems be best dealt with at the global or the national level? But what exactly is meant by ‘the global level’ in this regard is startlingly undertheorized. For most commentators, it appears to be conceived of as the level of contemporary politics that is associated with high-profile international summits and institutions. In this vein of thinking ‘globalist’ is merely another term for internationalist, and we are in practical terms dealing with a rebranding exercise and not genuine conceptual innovation. On the other hand there is presently a genuine conceptual post-internationalist alternative which can be unearthed from more obscure parts of cosmopolitan discourse. I brand this the ‘planetarist’ alternative which in conceptual terms is the true opposite of nationalist thinking. While globalism generally conceived of in the internationalist vein still is grounded in the nation-state paradigm – i.e. because we are still dealing with relations between ‘peoples’ – the planetarist way of thinking represents both the conceptual abandonment of nationalism and forms the basis for a new and completely post-national paradigm centered on humanity and planet Earth. In short the crux of the argument is that it would clarify the choices ahead of us immensely if we were to replace the globalist/nationalist dichotomy with a continuum where nationalism is placed at one extreme and planetarism at the other. This continuum would – crucially – have internationalism firmly located in its middle section where it represents what is only the halfway position between the two self-contained positions. Internationalism is not a paradigmatic alternative to nationalism. Instead it should be viewed as no more than an enormous anomaly indicating that nationalism is inadequate to the task of binding humanity together politically at the level of world civilization.

What does citizenship and nationalism mean in a Plurinational State?: Plurinational citizenship in Bolivia

Dr. Jonathan Alderman, University of St. Andrews

This paper examines the meaning of citizenship in a state constitutionally defined as separate from the nations that are recognised as constituting it. In 2009, Bolivia’s constitution was re-drawn to rename it as a plurinational state, recognising the pre-colonial existence of 36 indigenous nations and peoples and guaranteeing their self-governance through autonomies. Plurinationalism challenges the monocultural Western-oriented assumptions of the state; the creation of ‘Indigenous Autonomies’ is predicated on objectives of allowing Bolivia’s indigenous nations and peoples to govern themselves according their own norms and notions of justice, in order to enable their own conception of ‘living well’ (this is given in the constitution as one of the moral precepts of the state). By reflecting on ethnographic research with the Kallawayas, one of the 36 indigenous nations currently undergoing a process of becoming an Indigenous Autonomy, I will examine how the unmooring of nationhood from the state creates a new form of indigenous (plurinational) citizenship. This citizenship privileges difference, at least rhetorically. However, a tension in this form of citizenship is evident when the Bolivian implements social programmes which still incorporate a one-size-fits-all conception of wellbeing from the state, applied to all its citizens. What the plurinational state appears to do is to create a double form of national citizenship in which difference and unity (as Bolivians) are both present. The case study of the Kallawayas shows that this double citizenship is combined with attempts to use their ethnic identity to become global citizens, through the recognition of their culture by UNESCO.

Curriculum internationalisation in a Kazakhstani secondary school as a threat to the national identity

Ms. Aliya Khasseneyeva, Durham University

Curriculum internationalisation has been claimed to be the prerogative of higher education institutions. However, globalisation and the growing interconnectedness of the world have led to the urgent need for internationalising the curriculum of secondary education. Therefore, the importance of research in secondary education curriculum internationalisation has been recognised. This paper is a part of my thesis for EdD programme which is aimed at exploring school stakeholders’ perceptions of school curriculum internationalisation within one secondary school in Kazakhstan. This school is notable for being an experimental platform for educational reforms in secondary education in Kazakhstan. One of the findings reveals that the school stakeholders are worried about the national identity loss due to internationalisation. The research discovers that the tension between global citizenship and national identity seems prominent in the Kazakhstani secondary education discourse. As a part of national identity development the participants highlighted the importance of reviving the Kazakh language. It has been found that there is a persistent problem of reviving the Kazakh language which is an important aspect of the national identity. The uniqueness of the problem is revealed in the past of Kazakhstan as a member of the USSR and the desire of the government to enter a pool of the developed countries. This means that there is a pressure from the Russian and English languages. As internationalisation is viewed as cultural imperialism, as a product of Western, or Anglophone, philosophy and practice (Haywood, 2015), obviously, some Kazakhstani citizens are reluctant to accept education internationalisation. This tension is also found in the literature on international education.

The Music(s) of Soviet Jewry under Stalin: Soviet Yiddish vernacular musical cultures and the ‘nationality’ question

Dr. Ian Biddle, Newcastle University

The Soviet Union’s approach to its internal nationalities (the co-called autonomous republics and the ‘territories’) stands in striking counterpoint to Western European and North American constructions of nation-state and nationality. This paper queries the Soviet Jewish experience under Stalin with particular reference to the Soviet policy on the ‘nationality’ question by exploring vernacular musical practices in Yiddish-language culture. How are these lives mediated, shaped or articulated by their music-making activities and Yiddish-language writing on music? How might it be possible to theorise vernacular, everyday culture in relation to constructions of nationality [Yiddish natsionalitet; Russian natsional’nost’] in Yiddish- and Russian-language culture at this time?

Yiddish in the Soviet Union was afforded the status of an official language (the only place in the world ever to recognize Yiddish in this way), and, according to the orthodox historiography, enjoyed two distinct renaissances, the first during the first decade of the Soviet Union before Stalin, the second after 1959 (when a collection of short stories by Sholem Aleichem appeared in Moscow) during Khrushchev’s thaw. Bookended by these two renaissances [Russian vosrezhenii; Yiddish oyflebe ], the Stalin period saw a sharp rise in officially-sanctioned acts of violence against Soviet Jewry (imprisonment, exile, or execution during The Great Purge, or at the end of the period, the night of the murdered poets, the Doctor’s Plot and so on) but Yiddish-language musical cultures flourished and there was a growth in Yiddish-language publication, especially in literature, music and ethnographic-cultural studies and collections.

This paper will examine this period by referring to key select Yiddish-language archival sources to explore the vernacular musical cultures of (Yiddish-speaking) Soviet Jewry under Stalin through song, musical theatre, music on the radio and other quotidian vernacular musical forms.

Securing Nationalism: Depoliticisation Through Co-opted Multitude

Mr Harry Mongini, University of Westminster

This paper argues cooptation of the multitude has become an attack on the security of the ‘subjective self.’ It argues that the political desire to coopt multiple identities and affiliations in the changing world has led to the opposite effect of a stronger discrimination of political identity against the inclusion of the other. Where the inclusion of other identities is often regarded as politicising identity through including forms of life excluded by the sovereign order. However, what is argued, is that contemporary governance has become one where relational power has been mobilised through global mechanisms of circulation. To this extent, governmentality has been one based on the very radical contingency which had previously been thought to resist the homogenisation of government and the exceptional state of the other.

On this basis, we can begin to interrogate the political effects of coopted multitude through asking if we can understand it as part of the politicising of identity through the inclusion of the other into the social order. Or, if there is the possibility that cooptation is a sovereign practice geared towards increasing power over the individual towards neo-liberal ends.

I argue that this is a problem of security and boundary. The ‘subject’ has come to be rendered more governable, not through the limits of normative conceptions of identity as against coopting multitude, but rather this indefinite inclusion of all has been the basis of governing according to the insecure. Globalisation, through preventing the boundary of inside and outside leaves the individual in an insecure basis allowing themselves to be governed in accordance of their very contingency.

I believe that the works of Jean Baudrillard offer the paradigmatic framework most conducive to understanding the perceived polarisation of western society. In his article After the Orgy, he shows that the perceived value of identity has ceased to have any impact affecting the life of the individual. The increased polarisation of the national identity against its global integration is one I argue is a response to the governing of insecurity through the coopted multitude.

Global Citizenship Education’s Impact on Students’ Political Identity – A Study on Hong Kong Local Students attending International Schools

Ms. Vivian Chen, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Hong Kong, as a financial hub with colonial history, has a multilingual and multi-ethnic societal makeup. The possibility of forming a shared political identity is challenged by the multi-layer complexity in itself. Two unique phenomena make the relational study of “global-national-local citizenship” on Hong Kong teenagers worthwhile, 1) the awakening of “local identity” through 2014 Umbrella Revolution and 2) the increasing popularity of international school education amongst local families, which emphasize on fostering “global citizenship”.

This paper addresses a newly emerging population in the society - local students receiving international school education (referred to as “iHK students”). This particular phenomenon allows us to observe how students understand and apply multiple identities given by their local family backgrounds, foreign language abilities and global curriculum approaches. Despite a growing body of literature on national curriculum’s effect on political identification, study on iHK students is largely neglected. However, as international school curriculum and students composition resembles a “mini future society” under globalization, understanding iHK students’ political identification is important for future governance.

This paper looks into 1) the effect of curriculum and language ability on iHK students’ identity formation; 2) whether global citizenship helps to build a greater acceptance to the “others” and hence reduces students’ negative feeling towards mainland Chinese (the perceived “others”).

This paper hopes to suggest that language and culture are no longer the determinants of political identity in multi-ethnic societies. Rather, coherence in value systems is the key binding factor. This study examines curriculum reports from international schools, government documents, archives and interviews with iHK secondary school students.

E-stonia: A Vision of Global Citizenship in an Age of Digital States

Mr. Maximilian Curtis, University of Cambridge

It has often been said there is no such thing as value-neutral technology: every technological decision is inherently a political decision, an answer to the central question that global citizenship has always posed: what sort of world do we want to live in? For many technophiles, the answer lies in Estonia, where citizenship means ownership over your data, and where every child is born with both a national identity and a digital one.

An all-encompassing e-governance program mediates every interaction between citizens and the state, binding Estonians together in a new “digital society” in which citizens are customers and the state is a business. Moreover, an accompanying e-residency program grants global citizens their own secure digital identity as well as the right to start a business in Estonia, and by extension the European Union. As such, Estonia is the site of profound political anxieties over the tension between local nationalism and global citizenship. This presentation problematizes both programs as they relate to global citizenship. How does e-governance complicate the local struggle over Estonian nationalism? Will e-residency dilute a sense of Estonian identity if the state, as it predicts, successfully attracts 10 million entrepreneurial global citizens by 2025?

Intriguingly, Estonian officials have envisaged a world full of digital states competing to deliver virtual services – a world in which global citizens might rely on India to verify their digital ID, Brazil to file their taxes online, and South Africa to secure their health records. Yet this relies on deeply traditional assumptions about who can be global, as well as an almost techno-libertarian conception of citizenship modeled on class rather than nationality. Despite these programs’ promising potential to reboot the state for the 21st century, this presentation seeks to expose the local, geopolitical, and transnational class dynamics embedded within Estonia’s technological vision of global citizenship. In doing so, it explores how the Internet is continuing to transform the relationship between global citizens and the nation-states where they live.

Minerva Schools at KGI: Universities, Ethnic and Racial Equality, and Global Citizenship

Mr. Abdulla Ibrahim Abdulla Omaigan, Durham University

Recent events such as Britain’s decision to leave the European Union and America’s choice to elect Donald Trump as its President are arguably bound by rising nationalistic sentiments. Despite this emerging discourse, a case can still be made for global citizenship, especially for how it might be educated in university students. In light of such counter-discourse, it will be argued that one role of universities is to bring together students from a diverse range of nationalities to build shared narratives between them. To begin, nationality will be defined in relation to ethnicity and race. Then, existing racial and ethnic inequalities within Western universities will be highlighted. Afterwards, a contrast will be drawn with the practices of a new and unique American university, Minerva Schools at KGI, that shows a deep commitment to bringing together a diverse body of students which enables it, along with other practices, to cultivate a deep sense of global citizenship within its students. Three examples will be given of how this is brought about: through attracting a student body that is made up of predominantly international students, offering these students a similar level of financial aid to American students and focusing the university’s curriculum on the shared global challenges that lie ahead. On this basis, it will be demonstrated that it is possible for Western universities to create and capitalise on pluralistic environments as part of the goal to form active global citizens. Hence, it will be argued that one of the roles of higher education institutions in the current, polarised social-political context of the West can be to attract, recruit and support students from ethnic and racial minorities to enable them to learn about addressing global problems. Ultimately, it will be suggested that doing so will provide fruitful conditions for global citizenship to be nurtured.

Being Russian in times of change: exploring feelings of continuity about a diverse nation in flux

Ms. Leila Wilmers, Loughborough University

Mass migration flows are leading to increasingly diverse societies in immigration states. The growth of radical nationalist movements has been linked to fear and insecurity in some communities regarding these changes. In this context, there is a need to deepen knowledge of how people’s understanding of the nation evolves to include or exclude minorities. Recent studies of the role of human agency and personal biography in the everyday making of the nation have brought new insights on these processes. Yet few have addressed how conflicting institutional narratives of the diverse nation and personal experiences of diversity and citizenship are reconciled at the individual level in a stable sense of the nation. In Russia, the collapse of the Soviet Union and subsequent state-building processes have combined with evolving immigration and birth rate patterns to produce dramatic transformations to the geopolitical and demographic landscape of the country and official discourse on the nation. In this context of change, my research seeks to uncover how Russian citizens of different backgrounds maintain a sense of continuity in the way they imagine the nation and what it means to be Russian. The findings have implications for notions of global citizenship and the possibilities of inclusive nationhood in increasingly diverse societies.