Beyond Diversity: The Steady State of Reference Cultures

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The overwhelming popularity in academic writing of such concepts as transnationalism, anti-essentialism and postcolonialism illustrate the impact of the postmodern critique of once-stable entities ranging from the nation and the state to culture and civilization. We no longer believe in the steady orderings of humanity bequeathed by ‘heavy modernity’. But does this mean that concepts like the nation and civilization are obsolete? This article takes issue with the current hype of transnation- alism, and suggests a correction to the current focus on interconnect- edness, networks and flows by introducing the concept of ‘reference cultures’. It claims that in the history of the world, robust collective mentalities act as a counter-balance to cultures in motion.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal for History, Culture and Modernity
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • cultures in motion
  • reference cultures
  • transnationalism


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