Blooms is an ambitious effort to address the

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Bloom’s is an ambitious effort to address the perennial failure within in-ternational relations theory to account for intrastate identity formation. Yetin attempting to shrink the unit of analysis to the individual in order thento return to the state aggregate level, Bloom succumbs to a similar short-coming. He recognizes no intrastate identity conflict, only identity with thenation. In providing a framework for individual political identity, Bloomloses the richness of difference, of a dialectical interplay between individu-als and their identifications with others. My approach to individual identi-ty is based on a more complex range of political positions, sentiments, andbehavior revealed in identities that may lend themselves to distinct under-standings of the meaning of loyalty to the nation-state.Underlying the past decade’s scholarly turn to identity is a fundamentaldisenchantment with purely materialist explanations for individual andcollective action. In a sense, identity studies “bring culture back in” as acrucial dimension of the interpretive framework, a dimension virtually dis-carded in the backlash to modernization theories of the 1950s and 1960s.This does not mean, however, that materialist interests are no longer animportant part of explanatory frameworks based on identity. My own worksignals class background, for example, as a crucial variable of political iden-tity formation. Moreover, many theorists have advanced arguments re-garding individual political behavior that implicitly or explicitly draw fromboth rational-action and identitarian approaches. In their critique of ra-Interpreting Political Identity8
tional-choice theory, therefore, identitarians by no means discard the no-tion that individuals think and behave in commonsensical, rational ways.Rather, questions such as values, ideology, and culture are explicitly incor-porated in identitarian approaches.Critics of the attempts of rational-choice theory to explain altruistic be-havior do challenge such efforts explicitly on normative grounds. Such crit-ics charge first, that rational-choice attempts to explain all forms of indi-vidual political behavior lead to no more than tautologies; second, that thenotion of “choice” itself is problematic in many cases of individual behav-ior; and third—and most fundamentally—that models that exclude indi-vidual sentiments of love, duty, and concern for those other than self notonly are inaccurate reflections of society and community but also lead tohighly problematic prescriptions for the polity and society.In their study of the usefulness of rational-choice explanations of altruis-tic behavior for explaining the cases of rescuers of Jews under Nazism, forexample, political theorists Kristen Renwick Monroe, Michael Barton, andUte Klingemann have found the notions of “participation altruism” or “psy-chic goods” to be “frustratingly tautological,” largely because of their diffi-culty to operationalize. They write that “the idea of psychic goods is so all-en-

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