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Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  4,578 ratings  ·  506 reviews
The New York Times bestselling author of The Origins of Political Order offers a provocative examination of modern identity politics: its origins, its effects, and what it means for domestic and international affairs of state

In 2014, Francis Fukuyama wrote that American institutions were in decay, as the state was progressively captured by powerful interest groups. Two yea
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published September 11th 2018 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published September 2018)
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Brad Lyerla Freedom House has maintained a list that is published on its website. (not sure if that is Fukuyama's source, but the numbers he cites are not controv…moreFreedom House has maintained a list that is published on its website. (not sure if that is Fukuyama's source, but the numbers he cites are not controversial to my knowledge)(less)

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Sep 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
5 stars for the first half, 3 stars for the solution and a big 0 for a few chapters toward the end. The book begins with a brisk walk thru Western civilization as it went from village life to industrial life and from Catholicism thru Reformation and then Nietzsche. So far so good. The thesis is that people started measuring themselves by their inner lives as opposed to their kin and village ties as society was fragmented. Then he moves through the American founding and another super speedy synth ...more
May 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-read, usa, politics, uni
This is required reading, because with this book, Fukuyama is clearly on to something. At the core, he discusses how we can overcome political polarization and strenghten our democratic systems. In order to grasp the underlying current that drives today's discussions and gave rise to Trumpism ("With regard to character, it was hard to imagine an individual less suited to be President of the United States." ), Fukuyama tackles identity politics - and you know what? My guess it that most people wh ...more
Oct 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018, nonfiction
The modern concept of identity unites three different phenomena. The first is thymos, a universal aspect of human personality that craves recognition. The second is the distinction between the inner and the outer self, and the raising of the moral valuation of the inner self over outer society. This emerged only in early modern Europe. The third is an evolving concept of dignity, in which recognition is due not just to a narrow class of people, but to everyone. The broadening and universaliza
Gary  Beauregard Bottomley
Sep 16, 2018 rated it did not like it
Let me cut to the quick, there are three reasons why I felt this book was inadequate: 1) there was little new in it, 2) the author wrongly argues both sides are to blame by appealing to false dichotomies and false framing and 3) his solutions provided would only exasperate the real problem and not make it better.

For item 1), every author should assume that a reader of their book is interested in the topic and wants to learn more about the topic and is obligated to provide the reader something th
Tristram Shandy
Apr 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: sociology, politics

As the author states in his preface, his book was mainly written because Donald Trump was elected president of the U.S. in November 2016, and maybe a little bit because a majority of those taking part in the Brexit referendum were in favour of the UK’s leaving the EU. Fukuyama, under the impression of those two big surprises, apparently wanted to explain how these two events were possible – two events which he regards as standing in need of an explanation.

In his study Identity. Contem
Tammam Aloudat
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
I keep telling myself not to read books by privileged rich men about the problems of our world, then I do exactly that. I regret it!

There are interesting concepts here, some are somewhat useful in the debate on identity and some just drown in Fukuyama's desire to justify himself. Let me elaborate. There is a point where he goes on about how people misread his controversial and much criticised The End of History and the Last Man, he is telling us how he was not wrong in saying that liberal democr
Jan 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment, by Francis Fukuyama, is an interesting book discussing the recent trends and growth in identity politics. Fukuyama posits that this is a natural expression of liberal democracy, as society continues to promote freedom and examine ways to bring concepts and concrete improvements to this in society. Fukuyama looks at identity politics as one of the highest forms of expression. In the past, many countries existed as monarchies and ari ...more
Oleksandr Zholud
Dec 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
This new book by Francis Fukuyama about the hot issue in the US and EU politics today – identity. He doesn’t take neither left nor right side in the debate, but shows that the debate itself maybe out of focus.

He starts with Plato's The Republic and introduces concept of thymos - third part of the soul (first two are desires and reason, roughly equivalent to id and ego concepts of Freud) acts completely independently of the first two. It is the seat of judgments of worth: like a drug addict wants
Oct 28, 2018 rated it liked it
After hearing about the book on NPR my husband suggested I read Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment by Frances Fukuyama.

One thing I appreciated about this book is how the author presents his arguments, explains them, and before he moves on restates his case to that point. It really makes it easier for the general reader because this is a theoretical book.

The author begins with a brief history of the development of identity, from the ancient Greeks through the Ref
Aug 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
Francis Fukuyama gets a bad rap from many people for being known as the guy who appeared to declare the “End of History” as the brief moment when liberal democracy prevailed over communism at the end of the Cold War. In large part I feel that his bad reputation on this subject is undeserved. His famous book, titled “The End of History and the Last Man,” never actually said that an end of history had arrived that would mean an end to events, only that, according to a Hegelian teleological view of ...more
Mayim de Vries
Jan 25, 2021 rated it did not like it
Wow, this is some truly sloppy scholarship, Mr Fukuyama. I really expected more.
Dan Graser
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fukuyama's latest book is a relatively brief, extended-essay form work, that focuses on the history of identity at the personal level and how it is reflected in larger social and political movements. This is obviously a very timely subject on which to be writing as it seems everyone has an opinion on this concept and a series of articles and videos of their favorite speakers either railing against the very idea or explaining how all of their opposition just don't understand why someone would fee ...more
A Curious Mind
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Every individual has an impulse to be respected and recognized, says Francis Fukuyama. Recognition is a deeply rooted human desire; it has been the cause of tyranny, conflicts, and wars, but at the same time, it also acts as a psychological foundation of many virtues, such as courage, justice and the spirit of citizenship.

This struggle for recognition, or what today we call identity politics, has become hugely important in the contemporary political discourse. Identity grows, writes Fukuyama, “o
David Wineberg
Jun 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Identifying is innate

Francis Fukuyama’ Identity starts off very badly, with a bizarre defense of his famous claim that the crumbling of the USSR and the dismantling of the Berlin Wall constituted “the end of history”. Like a Donald Trump (who gets more criticism than everyone else in the book combined), he doubles down on the statement by claiming what it says is nothing like what he meant. He claims to have used a completely different meaning for the word “end” as in “target” or “objective”. S
Brad Lyerla
Jan 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
One of my bookclub mates insisted that we read Francis Fukuyama’s IDENTITY. I am very glad that he did. It is the most incisive and well-supported discussion of identity politics in the West that I have encountered. As a bonus, it is hopeful and pragmatic.

IDENTITY is almost three years old now. And much has been written about it. I will not repeat here what you already know. Instead, I recommend that you seek out Ezra Klein's podcast interview of Fukuyama that happened shortly after IDENTITY was
Scriptor Ignotus
Oct 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics
According to Fukuyama, the neoliberal political establishment has failed to properly account for and mitigate the disruptive rise of “identity politics”, which began in the middle of the last decade and has taken numerous forms within various cultural contexts, because it has relied excessively on an economistic understanding of human behavior which overemphasizes material needs and dismisses that part of human nature concerned with honor, status, social recognition, and dignity.

The first, and
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“…the preoccupation with identity has clashed with the need for deliberative discourse”

This is a balanced and well-argued account of contemporary identity politics that starts with an explanation of its ancient roots: “Thymos is the part of the soul that craves recognition of dignity; isothymia is the demand to be respected on an equal basis with other people; while megalothymia is the desire to be recognised as superior. Modern liberal democracies promise and largely deliver a minimal degree of
Apr 01, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, politics
An okay, if superficial and generic, read. It is also pessimistic, but not pessimistic enough.
I do agree with the author that the real danger lurks on the extreme end of the alt-right, but I disagree with the casual treatment and an easy pass he gives to the excesses of the ctrl-left, and the role they play in the current mess. For better or for worse, they have been summoning into the existence that particular stinky bogeyman we all fear and would rather not see again.

To quote Titania McGrath,
Jim Crocker
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE ALIVE TODAY
Fascinating and deep stuff: an analysis of everything behind the curtain. Fukuyama show how everything hinges together -- dependencies, relationships, prerequisites, hierarchies, dynamics -- to produce the world we live in. He doesn't cherry-pick the data. Nobody is immune. It's all there: the good, bad and the ugly. At any moment, this is the outcome we get. The one we have to live with. The one we need to adapt to. The cards you get to play. Like it or not . . . what it is.

And from where I sit
Angie Boyter
Jul 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Required reading, and very readable
In Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment, Stanford political scientist Francis Fukuyama presents an impressively well-reasoned and lucid explanation of the phenomenon of identity politics, which is being increasingly recognized as a powerful force within the United States and world-wide. Although he acknowledges in the Preface that the 2016 U S presidential election was the inspiration for the book, Identity goes far beyond an analysis
Andrew Howdle
Nov 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Certainly, this is a thoughtful piece of research and the book's ideas are applied across the globe, a fact that gives it weight and validity.

Fukuyama's thesis in brief is that politics and identity are fused, a thought that has its origins in Plato and his concept of worth/value/dignitythymos. The USA edition has a title that fits the book better than its alternative: "The Demand for Dignity".

I found that book an interesting path, but its conclusions were somewhat disappointing. Surely, such a
Jun 11, 2019 rated it did not like it
A badly structured compilation of unfounded, contradictory and meaningless concepts. The primary tool of argumentation is grossly obvious sleight of hand. Vomit.
Thomas Dietert
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
As someone who admittedly spends very little time paying attention to and being involved in modern western politics, I appreciated the insight I gained from Fukuyama's analysis of why the modern western political climate seems to have soured or regressed in the past decade or two; In short, "identity politics", comprising nearly the entirety of the foundations of both the left and right wing populist movements of the past decades, is a nuanced beast that needs to be reigned in and practiced effe ...more
Rajesh Kandaswamy
Dec 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tr-again

This is among the necessary books to understand the basis of some of the recent dramatic move toward populism, nationalism and even religious fundamentalism in many parts of the world. This book argues that concerns around ones’ identity are the root of many of the radical political manifestations of the day, the leading examples being the election of Trump and Brexit. While this book explains identity politics, it looks deeper into the issue of identity over time, satisfyingly. While books such
Aug 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Politics of the Right and Left is no longer about economic issues. It is about identity. The Right emphasizes national identity while the Left talks about oppressed minority identities.

Why is this renewed focus on identity, especially when economic disparities are growing within and across nations and economic growth is slowing down globally? Invoking Plato, Fukuyama argues that human personality has three aspects: reason, desire, and spirit. The spirited element in man seeks recognition. In pr
Nov 01, 2018 rated it liked it
A nice fusion of philosophy, psychology, and political science. And you learn some new words like traduce and thymos. I had found his much publicized book on the end of history rather obtuse but this is much sharper although it does have some moments of dryness. It has a timeliness as well as an urgency too.

Identity as an individual has given way to shared identity by groups of like individuals. Nationalism and religion exploit these unions and social media has given them a disproportionate loud
Matias Myllyrinne
Jan 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A great book and warmly recommended to those interested in politics, economy and what makes the world tick today. The writers intellect and balanced judgement hit commonly held myths on the left and right. His arguments are logical, insightful and well delivered. A great lens to view today and the future of EU, USA and the world.

The nature of nationalism and political affiliation in an age of conflict and division has never been better explained.
Harry Willis
Feb 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very good summary of the origins of, and problems caused by, identity politics
On the Road
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
The argument of this book consists of three parts: the need for social recognition is a major source of identity politics; the death of religion and the beginning of therapeutic culture in the West gave rise to the height of identity politics; and finally, we need to build a universal identity based on liberal democratic values (the rule of law, human equality, constitutionalism) to mitigate the downfalls of IP.

Overall, this book is disappointing. However, I point out that analysing the origin o
Nov 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: interested in nationalism or islamism
Recommended to Lord_Humungus by: I follow Fukuyama since his "Political Order" series
Review in English (not my mother tongue) and Spanish (below).

This book deals with a very interesting topic for me but unfortunately does not bring too many new things. Most of the text consists of generalizations that will be familiar to anyone minimally acquainted with History, especially recent History. We all know a couple of things about Islam, the war in Syria, and the Arab Spring. The new things that have struck me most are the following:

1. The concept of "thymos", the place of the soul wh
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Yoshihiro Francis Fukuyama (born 27 October 1952) is an American philosopher, political economist, and author.

Francis Fukuyama was born in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. His father, Yoshio Fukuyama, a second-generation Japanese-American, was trained as a minister in the Congregational Church and received a doctorate in sociology from the University of Chicago. His mother, Toshiko Kawata Fu

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If you're looking to fall head over heels for some LGBTQ+ romances, you'll find yourself quite lucky in love with recent books. In the first...
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“The left continued to be defined by its passion for equality, but that agenda shifted from its earlier emphasis on the conditions of the working class to the often psychological demands of an ever-widening circle of marginalized groups.” 3 likes
“In the second decade of the twenty-first century, that spectrum appears to be giving way in many regions to one defined by identity. The left has focused less on broad economic equality and more on promoting the interests of a wide variety of groups perceived as being marginalized—blacks, immigrants, women, Hispanics, the LGBT community, refugees, and the like. The right, meanwhile, is redefining itself as patriots who seek to protect traditional national identity, an identity that is often explicitly connected to race, ethnicity, or religion.” 2 likes
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