The concept of identity has become increasingly prominent in the social sciences and humanities. Analysis of the development of social identities is an important focus of scholarly research, and scholars using social identities as the building blocks of social, political, and economic life have attempted to account for a number of discrete outcomes by treating identities as causal factors. The dominant implication of the vast literature on identity is that social identities are among the most important social facts of the world in which we live. Abdelal, Herrera, Johnston, and McDermott have brought together leading scholars from a variety of disciplines to consider the conceptual and methodological challenges associated with treating identity as a variable, offer a synthetic theoretical framework, and demonstrate the possibilities offered by various methods of measurement. The book represents a collection of empirically-grounded theoretical discussions of a range of methodological techniques for the study of identities.
This is a book about the politics of the global economy—about how firms prosper by understanding those politics, or fail by misunderstanding them. Understanding the politics of globalization may once have been a luxury; it is now, for most high-level managers, simply a necessity. The book contains cases which can be used by instructors and students to build a framework of analysis that enables them to understand the challenges of international trade and investment and master the opportunities they represent. This framework is based on a systematic evaluation of the informal and formal rules that define markets for goods, services, and capital. These insightful cases allow for evaluation of: the political and economic origins of our current era of globalization and how the rules that constrain and enable firms are changing; the impact of governments’ policies and which tools are available for predicting, avoiding, or even employing the long arm of the government; and the influence of informal and formal institutions on opportunities for success in international finance and trade.
The rise of global financial markets in the last decades of the twentieth century was premised on one fundamental idea: that capital ought to flow across country borders with minimal restriction and regulation. Freedom for capital movements became the new orthodoxy.
In an intellectual, legal, and political history of financial globalization, Rawi Abdelal shows that this was not always the case. Transactions routinely executed by bankers, managers, and investors during the 1990s—trading foreign stocks and bonds, borrowing in foreign currencies—had been illegal in many countries only decades, and sometimes just a year or two, earlier.
How and why did the world shift from an orthodoxy of free capital movements in 1914 to an orthodoxy of capital controls in 1944 and then back again by 1994? How have such standards of appropriate behavior been codified and transmitted internationally? Contrary to conventional accounts, Abdelal argues that neither the U.S. Treasury nor Wall Street bankers have preferred or promoted multilateral, liberal rules for global finance. Instead, European policy makers conceived and promoted the liberal rules that compose the international financial architecture. Whereas U.S. policy makers have tended to embrace unilateral, ad hoc globalization, French and European policy makers have promoted a rule-based, "managed" globalization. This contest over the character of globalization continues today.
As scholarly interest in the concept of identity continues to grow, social identities are proving to be crucially important for understanding
contemporary life. Despite—or perhaps because of—the sprawl of different treatments of identity in the social sciences,
the concept has remained too analytically loose to be as useful a tool as the literature’s early promise had suggested. We propose to
solve this longstanding problem by developing the analytical rigor and methodological imagination that will make identity a more
useful variable for the social sciences. This article offers more precision by defining collective identity as a social category that varies
along two dimensions—content and contestation. Content describes the meaning of a collective identity. The content of social
identities may take the form of four non-mutually-exclusive types: constitutive norms; social purposes; relational comparisons with
other social categories; and cognitive models. Contestation refers to the degree of agreement within a group over the content of the
shared category. Our conceptualization thus enables collective identities to be compared according to the agreement and disagreement
about their meanings by the members of the group. The final section of the article looks at the methodology of identity
scholarship. Addressing the wide array of methodological options on identity—including discourse analysis, surveys, and content
analysis, as well as promising newer methods like experiments, agent-based modeling, and cognitive mapping—we hope to provide
the kind of brush clearing that will enable the field to move forward methodologically as well.
How do national identities affect the world economy? Building on the insight that nationalisms and national identities endow economic policy with social purpose, Rawi Abdelal proposes a novel theoretical framework, a distinctively Nationalist perspective on international political economy, to answer this question. Using this framework, and drawing on field research in Lithuania, Ukraine, and Belarus, he provides an in-depth look at the link between national identity and the economic policies of the new states formed by the breakup of the Soviet Union.
All these states, from the Baltic coast to central Asia, were economically dependent on Russia during the 1990s. However, they reacted very differently to that dependence, and their reactions can be traced, Abdelal contends, to their individual societies. Some, such as Belarus, found dependence inevitable and sought economic reintegration with Russia. Others, like Lithuania, interpreted dependence as a large-scale security threat and reoriented their economies away from Russia. A third group, typified by Ukraine, demonstrated no coherent economic policy at all regarding dependence.
Abdelal distinguishes the Nationalist tradition in international political economy from the Realist tradition, and shows that economic nationalism is different than mercantilism. He demonstrates the ways that national identity affects economic policy and explains why some governments seek economic autonomy while others prefer regional reintegration. He then applies his approach to other cases of economic reorganization after the end of empire—eastern Europe in the 1920s after the Habsburgs, 1950s Indonesia, and French West Africa in the 1960s.
This paper outlines our initial thoughts on treating identity as a variable. It is part of a longer-term project
to develop conceptualizations of identity and, more importantly, to develop technologies for observing
identity and identity change that will have wide application in the social sciences. Heretofore the usual
techniques for analyzing identity have consisted of non-replicable discourse analysis or lengthy individual
interviews, at one extreme, or the use of large-N surveys at the other. Yet, much social science research
relies on historical and contemporaneous texts. Specifically we hope to develop computer-aided
quantitative and qualitative methods for analyzing a large number of textual sources in order to determine
the content, intensity, and contestation of individual and collective identities at any particular point in time
and space. These methods will allow researchers to use identity in a more rigorous and replicable way as an
independent (and dependent) variable in a wide variety of research projects. They will also allow more
rigorous testing among identity-based hypotheses—such as those drawing on social identity theory, role
theory, or cognitive theories—along with other variables in explaining behavior. Researchers may also be
able to develop early warning indicators that might be used to track growing intensity of out-group
differentiation, a development which makes subjected groups more susceptible to identity-based
mobilization for conflict. Perhaps most important, scholars will, using these methods, be able to observe
more systematically the contestation and construction of identity over time.
Paper prepared for presentation at APSA, August 30–September 2, 2001, San Francisco. Download PDF