History from Within: Identity and Interiority

in Historical Materialism
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Abstract

Critics of ‘identity politics’ tend to assume that any exploration of subjective experience is tantamount to an affirmation of liberal individualism. This essay attempts to counteract that assumption through an analysis of case histories and research publications by twentieth-century psychoanalysts and psychologists. Such texts demonstrate the ways in which even the most ephemeral psychological experiences – dreams, fantasies, desires – are bound up with structural forms of oppression. Furthermore, these texts – through processes of abstraction, generalisation and classification – indicate ways in which interiorities clash up against externally-defined identity categories; oppression is lived but lived experience also exceeds and complicates identity.

History from Within: Identity and Interiority

in Historical Materialism

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