John Wiley & Sons The Sovereign Self Cover The toppling of statues in the name of anti-racism is disconcerting, as is the violence sometimes di.. Product #: 978-1-5095-5122-4 Regular price: $63.46 $63.46 In Stock

The Sovereign Self

Pitfalls of Identity Politics

Roudinesco, Elisabeth

Translated by Porter, Catherine

Cover

1. Edition November 2022
228 Pages, Hardcover
Textbook

ISBN: 978-1-5095-5122-4
John Wiley & Sons

Short Description

The toppling of statues in the name of anti-racism is disconcerting, as is the violence sometimes displayed towards others in the name of gender equality. The emancipation movements of the past seem to have undergone a subtle transformation: the struggle now is not so much to bring about progress but rather to denounce offenses, express indignation, and assert identities, sometimes in order to demand recognition. The individual's commitment to self-definition and self-appreciation, understood as the exercise of a sovereign right, has become a distinctive sign of our time.

Elisabeth Roudinesco takes us into the darker corners of identity thinking, where conspiracy theories, rejection of the other, and incitement to violence are often part of the mix. But she also points to several paths that could lead us away from despair and toward a possible world in which everyone can adhere to the principle according to which "I am myself, that's all there is to it" without denying the diversity of human communities or essentializing either universality or difference.

This bold and courageous interrogation of identity politics will be of great interest to anyone concerned with the state of our world today.

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The toppling of statues in the name of anti-racism is disconcerting, as is the violence sometimes displayed towards others in the name of gender equality. The emancipation movements of the past seem to have undergone a subtle transformation: the struggle now is not so much to bring about progress but rather to denounce offenses, express indignation, and assert identities, sometimes in order to demand recognition. The individual's commitment to self-definition and self-appreciation, understood as the exercise of a sovereign right, has become a distinctive sign of our time.

Elisabeth Roudinesco takes us into the darker corners of identity thinking, where conspiracy theories, rejection of the other, and incitement to violence are often part of the mix. But she also points to several paths that could lead us away from despair and toward a possible world in which everyone can adhere to the principle according to which "I am myself, that's all there is to it" without denying the diversity of human communities or essentializing either universality or difference.

This bold and courageous interrogation of identity politics will be of great interest to anyone concerned with the state of our world today.

Acknowledgements

Preface

1. Assigning Identities

Beirut 2005: who am I?

Secularisms

The politics of Narcissus

Berkeley 1996

2. The Galaxy of Gender

Paris 1949: one is not born a woman

Vienna 1912: Is anatomy destiny?

Highlights and disappointments of gender studies

Transidentities

Inquisitorial follies

Psychiatry in full retreat

New York: Queer Nation

Disseminating human gender

I am neither white nor woman nor man, but half Lebanese

3. Deconstructing Race

Paris 1952: race does not exist

Colonialism and anticolonialism

"Nègre je suis"

Writing toward Algeria

Mixed-race identities

4. Postcolonialities

"Is Sartre still alive?"

Descartes, a white male colonialist

Flaubert and Kuchuk Hanem

Tehran 1979: dreaming of a crusade

The subaltern identity

5. The Labyrinth of Intersectionality

Memories in dispute

"Je suis Charlie"

Iconoclastic rage

6. Great Replacements

Oneself against all

The terror of invasion

"Big Other": from Boulouris to La Campagne de France

Epilogue

Works Cited

Notes

Index
"In this profoundly compelling and exceptionally far-reaching book, Elisabeth Roudinesco ruthlessly exposes the benighted logic behind the emancipatory countenance of contemporary identity politics. Fierce, fearless, and forward-looking, she reclaims the legitimate right to an open debate in a world in which people's desperate search for a redemptive identity has elicited new forms of intellectual, social, and ideological violence. I expect this book to create a storm, which will not only be perfect, but totally unavoidable and absolutely necessary."
Dany Nobus, Professor of Psychoanalytic Psychology, Brunel University London

"Roudinesco's book makes an important, timely, and courageous contribution to the vexed issue of identity politics. Debunking ideologies that take 'his majesty the ego' as a weapon, her book shows concretely how the truth of the political subject emerges where identity fails. This is the work of a true historian, while touching the nerve of crucial debates of our present times."
Jean-Michel Rabaté, University of Pennsylvania and American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Elisabeth Roudinesco is Professor of History at the University of Paris

E. Roudinesco, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris