National Identity: A Structural Analysis from the Perspective of Globalization

Social Sciences in China (Chinese Edition)

No.6, 2014


National Identity: A Structural Analysis from the Perspective of Globalization



Jin Taijun and Yao Hu


Against the background of an era of “liquid modernity,” Chinese development faces the two-way interaction of external globalization and internal transition. Within this pair of space-time coordinates, the study of national identity should not lose itself in macro-level research on the transition and reconstruction of national identity or be detained by micro-level research on specific forms of national identity such as citizen identity, the identity of a people and political identity; rather, research should be undertaken at the meso-level linking the macro- and the micro-levels. On the basis of teasing out the concept of the national identity, the issue of “How are we to gain national identity?” will naturally be displaced by “What makes national identity possible?” Ontological anxiety should be dispelled to return to ontological security and realize the production and reproduction of centripetal national forces at the national level, so as to highlight the functional power of national identity. Whether it is based on demonstrations of theoretical logic or factual empirical examination, national identity cannot function independently to bring about stability or sustainability; it needs the basic structural support of systems of economic incentives, political values and institutional organization. The functional coordination of these three areas is the effective route to realizing national identity.