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The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity

Who do you think you are? Thats a question bound up in another: What do you think you are? Gender. Religion. Race. Nationality. Class. Culture. Such affiliations give contours to our sense of self, and shape our polarized world. Yet the collective identities they spawn are riddled with contradictions, and cratered with falsehoods.Kwame Anthony Appiahs "The Lies That Bind" is an incandescent exploration of the nature and history of the identities that define us. It challenges our assumptions about how identities work. We all know there are conflicts between identities, but Appiah shows how identities are created by conflict. Religion, he demonstrates, gains power because it isnt primarily about belief. Our everyday notions of race are the detritus of discarded nineteenth-century science. Our cherished concept of the sovereign nationof self-ruleis incoherent and unstable. Class systems can become entrenched by efforts to reform them. Even the very idea of Western culture is a shimmering ...

Title : The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity
Author :
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ISBN : 38321385
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 256 pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity Reviews

  • Sara

    The author is a Ghanian/ British philosopher who has spent most of his career in the US. He gets a little academic at times, but does a brilliant job of dissecting and debunking ideas of identity around "creed, country, color, class and culture," showing how too much of our thinking about those things are left over from bad 19th century ideologies.

    He doesn't think we can get rid of identity in the sense of social groups, but "the problem is not walls as such but walls that hedge us in; walls we
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  • Mehrsa

    This book is more of a contemplation of identity--it's not really a "rethinking" so much because there's really nothing new here. Just thoughts about religious and racial identity and how those things shift and are culturally bound and can be shed. I like everything he said and I like his solutions (that it's better to conceive more broadly of our identities as opposed to creating small and warring identity groups), but I just didn't really learn much that was new. Still, I found myself nodding ...more

  • Craig Werner

    Kwame Anthony Appiah, whose "identity" (those are scare quotes) as a "black (or at least not white)", "gay," academic who speaks what he calls "the Queen's English," infuses every aspect of this smart, useful book on the way we use labels to define ourselves and those we come in contact with. His take-home point is basic, clear and true: every label is a radical simplification that leads us and others to deny parts of all of our complexity. His chapters on creed, country, color, class and cultur ...more

  • Jeffrey Green

    Who do you think you are? This book helps answer that important question.

    Appiah is a fluid, learned, and entertaining writer. This book was originally delivered as a series of lectures, and the accessible style is to be thanked for that.

    Appiah's book is an argument against essentializing identities. He goes through the components of people's identity (creed, nationality, race, social class, culture, etc.) and shows how none is as absolute as we want them to be. The book is written in the belief
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  • Damon Taylor

    “The fact that identifies come without essences does not mean they come without entanglements”

    It would be unwise to describe the above quotation from a book which actively warns against essentialism as its ‘essence’. Accordingly, I will say only that this is perhaps the mission statement – one of the many ‘entanglements’ of the work.

    Appiah’s project is to expose three psychological intuitions – essentialism, tribalism, and habitus – nesting in the vocabulary of identity. These are psychological
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  • Robert Stevenson

    The book starts off with a decent beginning about how identity as a word evolved out of Erik Erikson sociological research in the 1960’s and then it adds nothing. After the intro, the book quickly descends into a confusing epistemological labyrinth of religious interpretation, broad historical summary and gross generalizations.

    I could not finish it, even after three or four tries and I found myself wondering why Zadie Smith endorsed the book. Glad it was public library book and I didn’t waste mo
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  • Barbara

    I really enjoyed this book. I think the basic message was that identity is not simple even in one dimension and when you get intersectionality, obviously even less so. Appiah has the credentials of being of mixed race with an interesting illustrious ancestry with none less than Sir Stafford Cripps, the brilliant chancellor of the 1945 Labour government that helped to lay the foundations of the welfare state. With war payments though, austerity limited what they could do. However this is where I ...more

  • Joshua Born

    I had high expectations for Kwame Anthony Appiah's The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity. Its title – describing as it does identities based on membership in a group as "lies" – foreshadowed that my reading of it would be an extended session of proverbial preaching to the choir. Such is my antipathy toward the extended tribalism that is, unfortunately, human civilization. Furthermore, an encounter with a synopsis of the book had spoiled to me that its dénouement turns upon its own theme and ma ...more