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Critique of Identity Thinking

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Critique of Identity Thinking

Michael Jackson

216 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-282-3 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (July 2019)

ISBN  978-1-80073-442-5 $29.95/£23.95 Pb Not Yet Published (May 2022)

eISBN 978-1-78920-283-0 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - edit   Buy the eBook! $29.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“Through trenchant analysis and interplay of such thinkers as Hannah Arendt, Zora Neale Hurston, and Theodor Adorno, he exposes how these survivors of trauma unpack the complexity of identity formation, the act of identifying, and the tendency to use categories to control complicated human standpoints…This book could be useful for courses in anthropology, philosophy, contemporary literature, and sociology. – Recommended.” • Choice

Critique of Identity Thinking contains a wisdom, which comes from a lifetime of reading, writing, and doing ethnography, and it is a reminder of the redemptive power of not distinguishing so clearly between biography and ethnography as well as between science and art.” • Conflict & Society

“The author is a master weaver. The tapestry he offers draws together many threads. Its colors are dusky and subdued. It is a dark work, the inspiration and provocation of which is the darkness of the times in which we presently live… a masterpiece.” • James Faubion, Rice University


Recent world-wide political developments have persuaded many people that we are again living in what Hannah Arendt called “dark times.” Jackson’s response to this age of uncertainty is to remind us how much experience falls outside the concepts and categories we habitually deploy in rendering life manageable and intelligible.  Drawing on such critical thinkers as Hannah Arendt, Theodor Adorno, Walter Benjamin, and Karl Jaspers, whose work was profoundly influenced by the catastrophes that overwhelmed the world in the middle of the last century, Jackson explores the transformative and redemptive power of marginalized voices in the contemporary conversation of humankind.

Michael Jackson is internationally renowned for his work in the field of existential anthropology. He is a leading figure in contemporary philosophical anthropology and widely praised for his innovations in ethnographic writing. Jackson has done extensive fieldwork in Sierra Leone since 1969, and has carried out anthropological research in Aboriginal Australia, Europe, and New Zealand.

Subject: Theory and Methodology Cultural Studies (General)