Details

ISBN-10: 0231197705
ISBN-13: 9780231197700
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publish Date: 07/21/2020
Dimensions: 8.90" L, 5.70" W, 1.10" H

Universality and Identity Politics

Hardcover

Price: $35.00

Overview

The great political ideas and movements of the modern world were founded on a promise of universal emancipation. But in recent decades, much of the Left has grown suspicious of such aspirations. Critics see the invocation of universality as a form of domination or a way of speaking for others, and have come to favor a politics of particularism–often derided as “identity politics.” Others, both centrists and conservatives, associate universalism with twentieth-century totalitarianism and hold that it is bound to lead to catastrophe.

This book develops a new conception of universality that helps us rethink political thought and action. Todd McGowan argues that universals such as equality and freedom are not imposed on us. They emerge from our shared experience of their absence and our struggle to attain them. McGowan reconsiders the history of Nazism and Stalinism and reclaims the universalism of movements fighting racism, sexism, and homophobia. He demonstrates that the divide between Right and Left comes down to particularity versus universality. Despite the accusation of identity politics directed against leftists, every emancipatory political project is fundamentally a universal one–and the real proponents of identity politics are the right wing. Through a wide range of examples in contemporary politics, film, and history, Universality and Identity Politics offers an antidote to the impasses of identity and an inspiring vision of twenty-first-century collective struggle.

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Reviews
What is universality? With his signature exactitude, Todd McGowan radiantly argues that universality is what we lack in common, the absent foundation for a nonetheless necessary sociality. Against the many theories conflating universality with positive content and violent oppression, Universality and Identity Politics illustrates how movements beyond the particular are indispensable for solidarity. Ceaseless catastrophes now rain down; McGowan boldly underwrites new political imaginings of equality and freedom.–Anna Kornbluh, author of The Order of Forms: Realism, Formalism, and Social Space
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Details

ISBN-10: 0231197705
ISBN-13: 9780231197700
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publish Date: 07/21/2020
Dimensions: 8.90" L, 5.70" W, 1.10" H
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