In the face of the recent tragic developments in the world we believe we are caught between two contradictory processes: globalisation on the one hand, and national-identitarianism on the other. In this vital, powerful work, Jean-François Bayart asserts that these two processes are part of the same national-liberal dynamic which has led the Western countries’ foreign policy into a tragic impasse.
The passage from a world of empires to an international system of nation-states, national-liberalism – liberal for the rich, national for the poor – has brought the world to the brink of the abyss. It is high time to no longer leave the political monopoly to the merchants of illusions of identity, these creators of tragedy and disaster.
Jean-François Bayart is a specialist in comparative historical and political sociology and is a professor at IHEID in Geneva where he is the current occupant of the Yves Oltramare chair of Religion and Politics in the Modern World. He is also chair of Comparative African Studies at the University Mohamed VI Polytechniques (Rabat). He is the author of several essays including L’Illusion identitaire (The illusion of identity) (Fayard, 1996) and Le Gouvernement du monde (The government of the world) (Fayard, 2004).