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Identity and Capitalism

By Marie Moran, SAGE Publications, London, United Kingdom, 2015, 208 pages, ISBN: 9781446249758

This book shows that identity, particularly as it is elaborated in the associated categories of personal and social identity, is a relatively novel concept in western thought, politics and culture. The explosion of interest in the notion of identity across popular, political and academic domains of practice since the 1960s does not represent the simple popularization of an older term, as is widely assumed, but rather, the invention of an idea. Against the common supposition that identity always mattered, this book shows that what we now think of routinely as personal identity actually only emerged with the explosion of consumption in the late twentieth century. It also makes the case that what we now think of as different social and political identities only came to be framed as such with the emergence of identity politics and new social movements in the political landscapes of capitalist societies in the 60s and 70s.

The author provides an important new exploration of the articulation of the idea of identity to the social logic of capitalism, from the organized capitalism of the mid-twentieth century, up to and including the neoliberal capitalism that prevails today. Drawing on the work of Raymond Williams, the cultural materialist approach developed here provides an original means of addressing the political debates about the value of identity in contemporary capitalist societies.

For more information, please visit https://uk.sagepub.com/en-gb/eur/identity-and-capitalism/book238142