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15 June 2006 Southlands College, Roehampton University, London CRONEM Conference on Multicultural Britain: From Anti-Racism to Identity Politics to

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Title: 15 June 2006 Southlands College, Roehampton University, London CRONEM Conference on Multicultural Britain: From Anti-Racism to Identity Politics to


1
15 June 2006 Southlands College, Roehampton
University, London CRONEM Conference on
Multicultural BritainFrom Anti-Racism to
Identity Politics to ? Multiculturalism
without EssentialismStuart Hall, Homi Bhabha
and Amartya Sen
  • Toru Yamamori
  • University of Cambridge

2
  • Purpose
  • To demonstrate the unique combination of
    theoretical standpoints within Sens theory of
    multiculturalism
  • Ethical level Liberalism
  • Ontological level Non-essentialism

3
  • Outline
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Sen on Identity
  • ethics and ontology
  • 3. Liberalism on Identity
  • ethics
  • 4. Cultural / Post-Colonial Theories on Identity
  • ontology
  • 5.Concluding Remarks

4
2. Sen on Identity
  • 1970s and 1980s Introduced the epistemic use
    of identity in the field of economics
  • 1990s - present Critical of the ethical use
    of identity in political philosophy and the real
    world
  • (beyond
    identity)
  • Clarifying the ontology of
    identity
  • (plurality and choice
    of identity)

5
  • plural identity
  • being an Indian and being an economist
  • being an Indian and being a Caribbean
  • versus communitarians (C.Taylor and M.Sandel)
    and S. Huntington

6
  • identity choice
  • constraints on choice
  • internal and external identity
  • there remains substantial choice at the level of
    internal identity
  • Versus communitarians (C.Taylor and M.Sandel)

7
  • beyond identity
  • an epistemic use of identity trying to know
    what others feel and what they see by placing
    oneself in the position of others (impartial
    spectators)
  •  
  • an ethical use of identity counting them as
    if they were the same as oneself
    (identity-based reasoning/morality)

8
  • Justice beyond national identity
  • plurality, choice and transcendence

9
3. Liberalism on identity
  • Kymlicka justifies privileging national identity
    on three grounds
  • (1) The first reason is normative
  •  
  • The freedom which liberals demand for
    individuals is not primarily the freedom to go
    beyond ones language and history, but rather the
    freedom to move around within ones societal
    culture, to distance oneself from particular
    cultural roles, to choose which features of the
    culture are most worth developing, and which are
    without value. (p.91-92)
  •  

10
  • (2) The second reason comes from the intellectual
    history of liberalism. Kymlicka argues that
    almost all of liberalist thought from J.S. Mill
    to J. Rawls presupposes, implicitly or
    explicitly, a nation as a unit where individual
    freedom is considered and guaranteed (ch. 4).

11
  • (3) The third reason is an empirical fact which
    Kymlicka alleges.
  •  
  • The liberal ideal is a society of free
    and equal individuals. But what is the relevant
    society? For most people it seems to be their
    nation. The sort of freedom and equality they
    most value, and can make most use of, is freedom
    and equality within their own societal culture.
    And they are willing to forgo a wider freedom and
    equality to ensure the continued existence of
    their nation. (p.93)

12
Figure 1 ethics and ontology on
identity in liberalism and
communitarianism
13
4. Cultural / post-colonial theories on identity
  • essentialism
  • the assumption that groups, categories or
    classes of objects have one or several defining
    features exclusive to all members of that
    category (Ashcroft, Griffiths and Tiffin (eds.)
    2000, p.77)
  • Edward Saids Orientalism

14
4.1. Three claims of non- (or anti-) essentialism
  • non-essentialism of nation and ethnicity
  • non-essentialism of identity
  • (social constructionism 1)
  • non-essentialism of any notion
  • (social constructionism 2)

15
  • non-essentialism of identity
  • (S. Hall and H. Bhabha)
  • The subject assumes different identities at
    different times, identities which are not unified
    around a coherent self. Within us are
    contradictory identities, pulling in different
    directions so that our identifications are
    continuously being shifted about. The fully
    unified, completed, secure and coherent identity
    is a fantasy. We are confronted by a
    bewildering, fleeting multiplicity of possible
    identities, any one of which we could identify
    with at least temporarily. (Hall 1992, p.277)

16
  • (1) non-essentialism of nation and ethnicity
  • (2) non-essentialism
  • of identity
  • (including (1))
  • (3) non-essentialism
  • of any notion
  • (including (1) (2))

17
4.2. Commonalities and differences between Sen
and Hall / Bhabha
  • plurality
  • historical or ahistorical?
  • choice
  • collective and individual
  • repetitive process

18
  • Identity is not as transparent or
    unproblematic as we think. Perhaps instead of
    thinking of identity as an already accomplished
    fact, which the new cultural practices then
    represent, we should think, instead, of identity
    as a production, which is never complete,
    always in process, and always constituted within,
    not outside, representation. (Hall, 1990, p.51)

19
  • this is the moment when the term black was
    coined as a way of referencing the common
    experience of racism and marginalization in
    Britain and came to provide the organizing
    category of a new politics of resistance, among
    groups and communities with, in fact, very
    different histories, traditions and ethnic
    identities. In this moment, politically speaking,
    the black experience, as a singular and
    unifying framework based on the building up of
    identity across ethnic and cultural difference
    between the different communities, became
    hegemonic over other ethnic / racial identities
    though the latter did not, of course,
    disappear. (Hall 1987b, p.163-164)

20
5. Concluding remarks
nothing new added here
  • Ethical level Liberalism
  • Ontological level Non-essentialism
    (Constructionism) of identity

This is the purpose and a new insight of this
paper
21
  • Cultural / post-colonial studies FOR Sen
  • Identity and agency
  • Identity claims are political manipulations of
    people who seem to share one characteristic and
    therefore it is a sort of roll-call concept. Now
    it seems to me that agency relates to accountable
    reason. The idea of agency comes from the
    principle of accountable reason, that one acts
    with responsibility, that one has to assume the
    possibility of intention, one has to assume even
    the freedom of subjectivity in order to be
    responsible. That's where agency is located.
    (Spivak 1993, p.294)

22
  • Sen FOR cultural / post-colonial studies
  • a new universality /
  • constructive universalism
  • Universality means taking a risk in order to
    go beyond the easy certainties provided us by our
    background, language, nationality, which so often
    shield us from the reality of others. It also
    means looking for and trying to uphold a single
    standard for human behavior when it comes to such
    matters as foreign and social policy. (Said 1994,
    p.xii)

23
  • Thank you very much!
  • Comments are welcome to ty232_at_cam.ac.uk

24

25
  • Introducing the epistemic use of identity into
    economics
  • Criticising the ethical use of identity among
    political philosophy and the real world
  • (beyond
    identity)
  • Clarifying the ontology of identity
  • (plurality and choice of
    identity)

26
  • But I wont heed the battle call
  • It puts my back up
  • Puts my back up against the wall
  • (Sunday Bloody Sunday, U2)
  •  
  • Marcos is gay in San Francisco, a black in South
    Africa, Asian in Europe, . an artist without a
    gallery or portfolio, a housewife in any
    neighborhood in any city in any part of Mexico on
    a Saturday night, a guerrilla in Mexico at the
    end of the twentieth century, . (a communiqué
    by Zapatista)
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