Saturday, March 18, 2017

Today's leftist critique of identitarianism: Identity Crisis by Salar Mohandesi

from Identity Crisis:
Although inter­sec­tion­al­i­ty the­o­ry added some much-need­ed nuance to iden­ti­ty pol­i­tics, it, too, ran into its own lim­its. As Sue Fer­gu­son and David McNal­ly have explained, while “inter­sec­tion­al­i­ty accounts have right­ly insist­ed that it is impos­si­ble to iso­late any par­tic­u­lar set of oppres­sive rela­tions from the oth­er,” they have not devel­oped any coher­ent expla­na­tion of “how and why” dif­fer­ent forms of oppres­sion inter­sect with each in oth­er in some ways and not oth­ers. The result is often an enu­mer­a­tion of oppres­sions with­out an ade­quate expla­na­tion of their artic­u­la­tion into a struc­tured, though always uneven, whole. This is pre­cise­ly why, for exam­ple, par­ti­sans of this kind of inter­sec­tion­al iden­ti­ty pol­i­tics almost always revert to com­pos­ing breath­less cat­a­logues of injus­tice when try­ing to explain what they oppose – the colo­nial white suprema­cist het­ero­nor­ma­tive patri­archy, or some­thing to that effect. More­over, since the list is the only way to present the object of social strug­gle, fail­ure to include a par­tic­u­lar oppres­sion in the mas­ter list will often be mis­tak­en­ly inter­pret­ed as the will­ful rejec­tion or era­sure of a par­tic­u­lar strug­gle again­st a par­tic­u­lar oppres­sion.