whats identity theory?

Thomas Kruse tkruse at albatros.cnb.net
Mon May 4 09:17:20 PDT 1998

Dear Les:


>can someone provide a pointer to this identity theory stuff --
>something where i can read more about it. it 'sounds' interesting, but
>i never heard of it before.

Poor guy -- you're probabaly gonna get ana avalanche of citations....

My favorite intros to the stuff -- sources that strike the balances I personally agree with -- are:

1. _Culture/Power/History: A Reader in Contemporary Social Theory_, edited by N. B. Dirks, G. Eley, and S. Ortner. The introductory essay is a wonderful introduction to some twists and turns in social theory over the last deace or two, which allows one to see how and why this identity stuff has become such a growth industry. The subsequent essays also demonstrate the strenghts and weaknesses ofthe enterprise, drawing from scholars in history, social theory, anthro., poli sci., etc. An enromous virtue of the book is that there seems to really be a concern for keeping an eye on how things get "worked through" on the ground, and not just in the theorists' heads.

2., Also: see some of the sections on identity in Craig Calhoun's _Critical Social Theory: Culture, History and the Challenge of Difference_. A wonderful antidote to the impenetrable thicket approach to talking about identity.

3. Finally, as to see folks thinking through the political implications, I found instructive the recent debate in _New Left Review_ between Nancy Fraser and Iris Young. Fraser kicked it off in number 212 with an article entitled "From Redistribution to Recognition? Dilemmas if Justice in a Post socialist Age."


Tom Kruse / Casilla 5812 / Cochabamba, Bolivia Tel/Fax: (591-42) 48242 Email: tkruse at albatros.cnb.net

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