The Local Life of Nationhood
What characterises many studies that invoke the local can be described as a logic of transcendence. This logic of transcendence does not reject nor disregard the local. Rather, it affirms the centrality of the local. At the same time, the focus is on how the local is historically transcended into higher levels of generality and abstraction; the argument is that only through attention to these higher levels that the meanings of the local become clear. In contrast, the other local which we refer to in this essay is a set of practices which emerges in intimate relationship to nationalism, which in some ways even sustains nationalism, even though the places it produces cannot be understood within the same logic of transcendence. At times, this other local refers to the political and conceptual practices that emerged at the limits of the abstract time and space that constituted nationalism. At other times, this local refers to the marginal in order to represent nationhood anew. Nationhood does not exhaust, sublate or transcend this local; rather, this local continues to live, in the era of nationhood, not so much outside the national, but beyond and alongside it. This other local is explored in this essay by discussing the cases of Germany and India.
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