In seemingly exhaustive arguments about identity as a category of analysis, we have made a critical error—one that Michael Hames-García sets out to correct in this revisionary look at the making and meaning of social identities. We have asked how separate identities—of race, class, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality—come to intersect. Instead, Hames-García proposes, we should begin by understanding such social identities as mutually constituting one another.
Grounded in both theoretical and political practices—in the lived realities of people’s experience—Identity Complex reinvigorates identity as a key concept and as a tool for the pursuit of social justice. Hames-García draws on a wide range of examples to show that social identities are central to how exploitation works, such as debates about the desirability of sexual minority identities in postcolonial contexts, questions about the reality of race, and the nature of the U.S. prison crisis.
Unless we understand precisely how identities take shape in relation to each other and within contexts of oppression, he contends, we will never be able to eradicate discrimination and social inequality. By analyzing the social interdependence of identities, Hames-García seeks to enable the creation of deep connections of solidarity across differences.