Identity politics, post-identity economics, and capitalist interpellation

Stream Organisers: Alejandro Lorite Escorihuela (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies) and Tanya Monforte (American University in Cairo)

This discussion is triggered by the evolution of identitarian and post-identitarian politics, particularly in relation to both the appropriation of Feminism by liberal and neo-liberal policy, and the alignment of post-identitarian politics with neoliberalism. As segments of the critical voice in academia and beyond, Feminisms and their various anti-identitarian opponents are enlisted by Liberal politics to strengthen the formation of the abstract neoliberal subject/agent described by Foucault. Identitarian and post-identitarian lines have in common the abstraction of subjects from socio-economic, social and even political variations. The strong defense of women's position in the market place amounts to a closing off of any discussion on the evolving structures of the economy on a global scale, or the questioning of work as the supreme and ungendered reference for self-value. Conversely, segments of anti-identitarian resistance, represented for instance by some in Queer Theory, propose under the name of resistance to the force of identitarian domination a celebration of hypercapitalist consumption and hyperliberal self-determination. What can be preliminarily observed is that under the Liberal frame both types of currents turn into their opposite – Queer Theory's celebration of boundless identity turns into a dogmatic privileging of sexual essence or essential negativity, while Feminist promotion of women's concern as economic actors leads to the ungendering of the abstract Liberal subject-consumer. From the perspective of critical legal projects, a discussion is needed on the mechanisms of enlistment and interpellation that defuse in recurrent fashion the waves of critical legal scholarship, however contradictory they may be among them, to strengthen the explicit and unconscious position of the Liberal autonomous subject.

Please send paper abstracts of 300 words to either Alejandro Lorite Escorihuela (alorite@post.harvard.edu) or Tanya Monforte  tmonfort@aucegypt.edu) before the 15 June 2013 deadline.

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