Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Migrant Identity As Dynamic Process

The book The People With No Name: Ireland's Ulster Scots, America's Scots Irish and the Creation of a British Atlantic World, 1689-1764 by Patrick Griffin confirms and explains my strong aversion for the static identity models proposed by Dutch (Ranging from Jan-Peter Balkenende, Wouter Bos to Mark Rutte) and UK elites (David Cameron etc etc):
'For the men and women who left Ulster, identity resembled less an ideology, vision, or static set of traits than a dynamic process through which individuals struggled to come to terms with and acted upon the world around them. Only as men and women confronted the challenges and possibilities of everyday life, familiar and unfamiliar material conditions, as well as the extraordinary, did they reinvent traditions to give these developments meaning. Identity, then, for these people did not amount to the group's acceptance of unifying cultural markers--quite the contrary. Ulster's Presbyterians continually remade themselves as they struggled to make sense of experience in rapidly changing contexts by giving a useable past a number of different and often contradictory meanings.'
It reminds me of my blogposts Apologetics and Citizenship (Re)defined and Missionary Citizenship (Re)defined in which I focus on this ongoing process.

Patrick Griffin argues in an article in the Journal of British Studies of 2000:
'explaining who the Ulster Scots were or how they defined themselves has not attrated much scholarly attention, an unsurprising failure...
their eighteenth-century experience has mainly attracted church historians interested in theological disputes, social historians charting the rise of the linen industry and students of the '98 Rebellion exploring the ways in which a latent Presbyterian radicalism contributed to the formation of the United Irish movement.'
Disappointing, but not surprising.

However, we are looking here at the motor of the American revoltuion. When interpreting Abraham Kuyper's significance most scolars tend to ignore the dynamic missionary citizenship (which is Kuyper's interpretation of the American revolution) and replace it with Dooyeweerd's toothless version of sphere sovereignty.

Reading Abraham Kuyper's Lecture to the Christian Social Congress, November 1891 while ignoring his lecture Maranatha , May 1891 which is much more representative of his thought, characterises the current state of debate between conservative and progressive Christian Democrats.

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