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This lively book examines the major issues raised by the emergence and transformation of various political identities in the contemporary world. The contributors bring together many current trends of thought—Lacanian psychoanalysis, deconstruction, neo-Hegelianism and political philosophy—that are relevant to the question of identity, as well as concrete studies of some of the more important political identities which have emerged in recent decades. A central theme of the book is the logic implicit in the Freudian category of identification and its consequences for understanding politics.
The first half of the book explores the theoretical dimensions of the issue of identity formation. The second half brings these more abstract considerations to bear on a number of case studies—the structure of apartheid in South Africa, the rise of Islam, the Palestinian diaspora, the explosion of national identities in former Yugoslavia, the Greens in Germany, and the spread of Rastafarianism in Britain.