Identities and freedom: Feminist theory between power and connection

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Weir, Allison. (2013). Identities and freedom: Feminist theory between power and connection Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199936861.001.0001
AuthorsWeir, Allison
Abstract

How can we think about identities in the wake of feminist critiques of identity and identity politics? In Identities and Freedom, Allison Weir rethinks conceptions of identity – both individual identity and the collective identity of “women” – in relation to freedom. Drawing on Taylor and Foucault, Butler, Zerilli, Mahmood, Mohanty, Young, and others, Weir develops a complex and nuanced account of identities that takes seriously the ways in which identity categories are bound up with power relations, with processes of subjection and exclusion, yet argues that identities are also sources of important values, and of freedom, for they are shaped and sustained by relations of interdependence and solidarity. Moving out of the paradox of identity and freedom requires understanding identities as effects of multiple contesting relations of power and relations of interdependence. Weir argues that our identities are best understood as our connections: to each other, to ourselves, and to ideals. And she argues that our freedom is found in these connections. If the question of identity is “to whom and to what am I importantly connected?” the question of freedom is about the nature of those connections: how do the relationships that hold us together constitute not just shackles but sources of freedom? Identities are sources of freedom if they are understood not as static categories but as practices: hence Weir leads us from a notion of identity as a fixed epistemological category to identity as an ongoing, dynamically unfolding practical-political process of identification. And she envisions a politics of transformative identifications: practices that risk the difficult work of connection through conflict, openness and change. Her account of transformative identity politics as a politics of identification thus moves beyond mere strategic essentialism to articulate a more coherent basis for feminist politics.

ISBN9780199936885
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199936861.001.0001
Research GroupInstitute for Social Justice
Publisher's version
File Access Level
Controlled
Year2013
PublisherOxford University Press
Place of publicationUnited States of America
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