The University of Wisconsin Press

Politics / African Studies / Asian Studies


The Rising Tide of Cultural Pluralism
The Nation-State at Bay
Edited by Crawford Young

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.

“Crawford Young enjoys an international reputation as the pioneer theorist of cultural pluralism in the political arena. Here he sustains that reputation with an analytically superb and powerful contribution.”—Joseph Rothschild, Columbia University

Crawford Young is the Rupert Emerson Professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. His many books include Politics in the Congo, Ideology and Development in Africa, The Politics of Cultural Pluralism, and The Rise and Decline of the Zairian State, the last two published with the University of Wisconsin Press.

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Black and orange cover with a downward white triangle at the top

January 2005
LC: 93-007103 JC
320 pp.,   6 x 9,   2 charts

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Paper $21.95 s
ISBN 978-0-299-13884-4
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The 1993 cloth edition ISBN 978-0-299-13880-6 is out of print.

The Rising Tide of Cultural Pluralism is a major contribution to the rapidly growing literature on the evident strength of national movements. By providing excellent, detailed surveys in the major world regions (U. S. and Communist Bloc) affected by the new nationalism, and a close examination of a highly interesting Third-World situation, Young has produced a collection very different from and more useful than any other.”

—John A. Armstrong, University of Wisconsin–Madison

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Updated June 21, 2013

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