7. Untangling Identity

In this episode, Niamh speaks with Marie Moran, assistant professor in Equality Studies, and director of University College Dublin’s Equality Studies Centre. Marie is author of Identity and Capitalism, published by Sage in 2015, and of ‘Rethinking Elites in Populist Times’ which is forthcoming from Verso. She is also working on another monograph for Polity called ‘Inequality in the 21 st Century’.
In this discussion, we focused on Marie’s highly original historicisation and conceptualisation of ‘identity’ – a concept that continues to cause controversy in left academia and beyond. We talked about her use of, and contribution to, the cultural materialist method as originally set out by Raymond Williams, and what it means to view ‘identity’ as a contemporary keyword. We then talked through five key points of controversy within contemporary debates on identity politics, namely essentialism; recognition vs redistribution; the place of solidarity; call-out culture; and the meaning and limitations of the concept of intersectionality. Finally we briefly discussed Marie’s current work which applies the keyword method to the knotty concept of ‘elites’.
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