Terms like ‘the West’, ‘the Muslim world’ and ‘Latin America’ do not generally denote specific areas of geography, so what then do they mean? The truth is the world of international politics is not just made up of nations, regional blocs, economic areas, and continents, but also made up of things which are indeed much harder to classify: cultures. With this in mind, it is from cultural affinity that these regions get their names.
These cultural terms continue to be used, however vague they may be – and the reason for this is that just as nationalism, ethno-centrism, ideology and religion are large players in international politics, they are all related to the singular, and more nebulous topic of ‘culture’. But while it is often confused, culture doesn’t have to be something which leads to political misunderstandings. As such, as part of the International Relations Online (IRO) master program and the Center for Global Politics, an in-depth module on culture is set to begin this month.
Called ‘Policy Issues: Narratives and the Cultural Factor’, this module focuses on the concepts and consequences of cultural issues in global politics. Moreover it presents students with new studies in cultural cognition and perception of the environment, including different views of the self, the community, and the concept of individual rights. It also looks at practical examples of how cultural differences and conflicts play out in the world of politics.
The module itself will be taught by Dr. Ipshita Basu, a Senior Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Westminster's Department of Politics and International Relations. Ipshita is a political sociologist specialising on governance and policy processes in South Asia. Her research over the last 11 years has unpacked the relation between development policy narratives and the politics of identity.
Policy Issues: Narratives and the Cultural Factor will begin at the CGP on July 25.