Identity: Contemporary Identity Politics and the Struggle for Recognition
Caution defines both the arguments and the style of Francis Fukuyama’s Identity. It is not difficult to surmise why this might be so. Fukuyama, who has a distinguished CV as a political economist and an academic, is most famous for his 1992 book The End of History and the Last Man, an expansion of a 1989 essay. That essay and the subsequent book developed an argument, influenced by Hegelian philosophical precepts, that the end of the Cold War had made possible an end to political and cultural struggle, with “the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government”. The triumphalism of which Fukuyama was accused is not entirely fair. The essay title, after all, was posed as a question. Yet a rereading of the book is instructive. The blindness to non-European philosophical and political history now seems staggeringly myopic.