Marxism: Whose identity?

A panel on 'Marxism: Whose identity?'

Parastou Saberi
  parastou75@gmail.com
  
Himani Bannerji
  himanib@yorku.ca
  York University
  Contributor
Parastou Saberi
  parastou75@gmail.com
  York University
  Contributor
Parastou Saberi
  
  Discussant
Gökbörü Sarp Tanyıldız
  gokborusarp@gmail.com
  York University
  Contributor
 

Type Panel
When Jun 21, 2016
from 05:55 PM to 05:55 PM
Venue
Contact Name
Contact Phone 1-416-670-2544
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Politics of Identity stream Panel Organizers: Himani Bannerji (York University, Canada), Parastou Saberi (York University, Canada), Gökbörü Sarp Tanyildiz (York University, Canada) Scholars of marxist studies with a political-economy bias appear to work outside the purview of any social and cultural identity, while branding others who scrutinize theories and political practices grounded in social relations and forms of consciousness such as ‘race,’ gender, and sexuality as being within the boundaries of ‘identity politics.’ This situation resulted in a battle between economism and culturalism, leaving very few openings through which to grasp the constitutive nature of the social. Ironically, in rejecting identity politics, mainstream marxism has become an identity politics of the ‘Western’ White subject-in- dominance. In this panel we are interested in examining the dichotomy of class vs. identity – which are reminiscent of earlier Marxist debates on base and superstructure– through a historical materialist lens. Instead of discarding the notion of identity, interpreted as a named subjective agency, we make identity an elemental part of inquiry into social relations and forms of consciousness and politics of productive of anti-capitalism and anti-colonialism. We ask: Is Marxism really incapable of helping us to understand the struggles of those who are racialized, gendered, sexualized etc.? How can we go beyond the dichotomy of ‘class politics or identity politics?’ We contend that Marx’s own method of social investigation does not allow any subsumption of sensuous activities of actual human beings –in their racialized, gendered, and sexualized etc. differences– to abstract notions such as ‘logic of capital,’ in which these differences become mere effects of capital. Our inquiry is not one of reconciling or intersecting various social moments, but one that moves toward a critical Marxist epistemology, which shows how the social reality in and around us is present in a complex manner all at once and, therefore, redefines ‘identity’ and social agency for both economists and culturalists of this debate.