By Gary Younge
Nation Books, $26.99, 256 pages
This book looks at the way identity is found in society. The main question addressed in this book is not whether we have identities but whether we are prepared to recognize them. The author notes that identities do not emerge out of common sense but by communities. Alternatively, this writer feels there is no such thing as authenticity, such as being German, British or Jewish, but there are plenty of people trying to enforce it. Research uncovered by this writer indicates that the only thing about any identitity is that it will keep on changing and that every individual has numerous identities that can be compared but not ranked. Further, identities make no sense unless understood within the context of power.
“From 47 countries polled in 2007, by Pew Research Institute it was found that “Americans showed the sharpest decline in their support for foreign trade and had the least positive view of it”.
Lessons to be learned from this book include how identity helps us elect public officials and make decisions about war. The means we define ourselves and where we come from enable us to vote and obtain jobs. The author has done an amazing job of connecting the means in which political and social realities are determined by identity.
Reviewed by Claude Ury