UC Berkeley News


Modern Peoplehood
By John Lie

18 August 2004


John Lie, recently named as dean of International and Area Studies, here examines three phenomena that, while central to contemporary society, are usually discussed separately: race, ethnicity, and nationality. Lie calls these the basis of “modern peoplehood” — a term he uses to describe “an inclusionary and involuntary group identity with a putatively shared history and distinct way of life.” The modern state, Lie asserts, encourages its citizens to define themselves by racial, ethnic, and national categories, thus fueling and perpetuating racial and ethnic conflict and even, in extreme cases, genocide. Lie builds his argument by refuting other explanations for such contemporary conflicts. Modern Peoplehood thus offers a fresh interpretation of ills that plague the modern state.

Harvard University Press, 2004; 384 pages