Culture, Plurality, and Identity in the 21st Century

29 Pages Posted: 28 Nov 2012

Date Written: November 26, 2012


These five essays deal are about separating the concept of culture from that of geo-political identity. They make two points: 1) Such terms as "French culture", "Egyptian culture", "Oriental culture", and so forth are geo-political concepts that no more identify KINDS of culture than such terms as "African wildlife", "Pennsylvanian wildlife", and "Japanese wildlife" identify KINDS of animals. 2) Social groups have systems of identification that are parts of the group culture, but that the identification systems of nation-states and religions tend to appropriate all of culture to themselves and thus obsure our thinking on these issues.

Keywords: culture, identity, nation, nation state, religion, group, society, Walter Benn Michaels, Charlie Keil

Suggested Citation

Benzon, William L., Culture, Plurality, and Identity in the 21st Century (November 26, 2012). Available at SSRN: or

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