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  • Identity

  • The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment
  • Written by: Francis Fukuyama
  • Narrated by: P. J. Ochlan
  • Length: 6 hrs and 35 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (16 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The New York Times best-selling 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 years later, his predictions were borne out by the rise to power of a series of political outsiders whose economic nationalism and authoritarian tendencies threatened to destabilize the entire international order. These populist nationalists seek direct charismatic connection to “the people”, who are usually defined in narrow identity terms that offer an irresistible call to an in-group and exclude large parts of the population as a whole. 

Demand for recognition of one’s identity is a master concept that unifies much of what is going on in world politics today. The universal recognition on which liberal democracy is based has been increasingly challenged by narrower forms of recognition based on nation, religion, sect, race, ethnicity, or gender, which have resulted in anti-immigrant populism, the upsurge of politicized Islam, the fractious “identity liberalism” of college campuses, and the emergence of white nationalism. Populist nationalism, said to be rooted in economic motivation, actually springs from the demand for recognition and therefore cannot simply be satisfied by economic means. The demand for identity cannot be transcended; we must begin to shape identity in a way that supports rather than undermines democracy. 

Identity is an urgent and necessary book - a sharp warning that unless we forge a universal understanding of human dignity, we will doom ourselves to continuing conflict. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2018 Francis Fukuyama (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Identity

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Seminal Addition to Polical Science

I enjoyed listening to the book.Presentation as well reading are excellent.
It added to my knowledge of the subject.

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Amazing insight into identity politics

So identity politics is being played all over the world. Glad to see India's actions in managing itself through this situation.

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  • Shahin
  • 19-09-18

Robotic narrator

Book content was excellent, but the gentleman narrating it for audible audiobook version read it like a robot reads an official memo.

26 people found this helpful

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  • Brad
  • 14-11-18

Important Book; Destroyed.

If you can withstand unbearably horrible narration; narration so incredibly bad that you almost can't believe it; narration that gives rise to homicidal thoughts that you didn't even know you were capable of; narration that makes you long for (1) a chalkboard to scrape your fingernails on while (2) shooting your brains out with a very strong gun, then this is the audiobook for you.
As far as books go, it's good. It's good in terms of being read - by you... not by this horrible, bad, in need of reprimand, so bad you can't believe it's possible, so called narrator. Dear GOD! WHY! Oh Audible... Please find someone... anyone... to re-read this. The book is too good to be destroyed by such an amazingly horrible narrator. Jeez.......

21 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 13-09-18

Good one if ur new to Fukuyama

Nice book only if u r new to Fukuyama but if u have read his others books then I think he is not offering that much of new thing other than repacking his idea

14 people found this helpful

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  • Gary
  • 17-09-18

Lacks foundation, poor framing, silly remedies

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 they don’t already know. In the first third of the book, the author breaks no new ground for those familiar with Charles Taylor’s ‘Sources of the Self’, Plato’s ‘Republic’, and for those who have listened to multiple Great Course Lectures on ‘identity’ and Martin Luther, and who are intimately familiar with Rousseau, and have read some of Freud, read lots of Kant, Nietzsche and Hegel, or have vaguely already understood what identity means. All of those items or people were presented within the first third of this book. I’ll even say it’s okay to bring the all too familiar up if the author can provide a narrative or look at it from a different angle and make the reader see differently, but this author did not. Do not underestimate your reading audience. Most of us want to really understand the world we live in and are doing what we can to the best of our abilities to learn about our world.

Charles Taylor made Schopenhauer his main character in his book. Fukuyama doesn’t mention Schopenhauer and he makes Rousseau his main character. That’s fine I guess, but there are connections that needed to be filled in that Fukuyama didn’t do for his reader and Rousseau’s dignity concept can be derived from Spinoza’s ‘conatus’ which led to Schopenhauer’s ‘will to live’ and Nietzsche’s ‘will to power’. In the end, it’s possible to describe Nietzsche’s ‘will to power’ as self worth or one’s own self esteem (this author makes dignity and respect, self worth and self esteem of the individual, pivotal). The author is out of his field and expertise (I think he is a political scientist) and sometimes I felt he covered his topic superficially and to be brutally honest he should stick to topics he understands.

The author uses dignity as his focal point for rationalizing ones hate. I’ll say that in order to feel superior to the other all one needs to do is hate them, but in order to be superior all one needs to do is not hate the other. Using the word ‘dignity’ does not change the fact that one is justifying their feelings over their reason. The author appeals to ‘lived experiences’ and dignity as he strives to defend his ‘both siderism’, and the squishy middle which really does not exist when it comes to a reality that includes Nazis, alt-right and those who want a return to 1950s America which privileges the privileged over all others.

For item 2), when a Nazi runs a car into peaceful protesters the proper response is not ‘both sides are to blame’. That’s psychotic and an appeal to identity based on dignity doesn’t make it any less psychotic. (I want to be careful here, the author is not advocating that response, but he does rationalize it in some ways, and he does not call it for the psychotic unacceptable behavior that it surely is). Tolerance is not necessary when it comes to the ultimate purveyors of identity, Nazis. Diversity and tolerance are good, but is not necessary when it comes to purveyors of hate or Nazis. There were a lot of false equivalences and poor framing the author made in the middle part of the book. The author seemed to justify mocking a disable person (as candidate Trump did) as a standing up to ‘political correctness’ and that doesn’t make the act itself any less hateful and wrong. Shrouding ones hate with the label of anti ‘political correctness’ doesn’t lessen the cruelty of the act. I always translate ‘political correctness’ into terms of ‘politeness’. Things which are impolite are politically incorrect.

The author mocked changing the name of ‘manhole’ covers for the sake of political correctness. He really seemed to be channeling the spirit of the ravings against political correctness as espoused in the Unabomber’s Manifesto (I really recommend people read that trash, not because of its stupid arguments, but because that kind of thinking still prevails among the alt-right and Trump followers and those who think ‘both sides are to blame’ when Nazis run their cars into peaceful demonstrators). I think one of the most eye opening segments I’ve seen on TV was when an award show a couple of years ago pointed out how the word ‘actress’ is really sexist and that the ‘actors’ male and female would individually stand up and say ‘I am an actor’, sometimes ‘political correct’ (polite) behavior can make us aware of the ‘ism’ that lies within us such as sexism. That made a difference for me and it changed how I speak (and think) because of that. Morons still want to live in the 1950s and ‘make America great again’ as those supposedly ‘good old days’ by retaining the privileges of the privileged over everyone else who is not a member of the in-tribe.

For item 3), the author’s solutions are the exact opposite from the ones I would recommend. He wants to meld everyone’s identity (and values) into an amorphous blob that would best be characterized by that currently possessed by the privileged. He wants to bring back unearned pride in one’s own culture and the belief that just because it is one’s own tradition that makes it superior and more just than those of the others not part of the in-tribe thus making it easier to exclude those who are different. I think that one should never outsource ones beliefs and must appeal instead to rational justification, evidence, analysis and empirical reasoning. Why is it that those with the power and the privileges never think they are motivated by identity? I’m being rhetorical and already know the answer, but this book doesn’t seem to question that premise.

Those who want to learn nothing new, and think both sides are to blame and want the status quo to remain will enjoy this book. For the rest who really want to understand the sources of the self, read or listen to the books, the authors and the Great Courses alluded to in the second paragraph above.

7 people found this helpful

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  • D. Will Crowley
  • 27-09-19

Let the author read!

I'm sick of voice actor readers on nonfiction books where the author is an articulate public speaker. Francis Fujiyama is a great communicator on this topic. He believes in it and understands it, so it's annoying to listen to someone else paid to just read the words on the page.

The reader isn't bad at his job, he's just not the expert here.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 14-07-19

Great book destroyed by horrible reading

Is it possible to make fascinating ideas sound boring?

Yes it is! Have P. J .Ochlan speak them out loud!

I like this book. Fukuyama is great on this topic. Listen to the interviews with him whenever you can, or buy the printed book. But I couldn't even finish this book. This narration style is probably the worst I've heard in an audiobook.

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  • yana
  • 12-07-19

Robot voice not human

I have just finished The End of History and I loved it. I want to listen to this program too, but this narration kills me. I'll return it.

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  • Charles
  • 26-03-19

Good but ignored a crucial point

The author made a good case but I believe he ignored finer points that might have painted a different picture. Perhaps that came from a lack of a hands on knowledge of what he spoke of or perhaps he was blindsided by political perspective. I think two things must be added: firstly identities can be cultivated but also can also be consumed as a product. Second: the american situation is gridlocked artificially by the involvement of money and a wealthy donor class. Identity came to the front precisely because it served as a distraction from the rising economical inequalities brought by neo-liberalism.

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  • Jeremias Pink
  • 22-10-18

Not Fukuyama's strongest work.

The solution to the rising problem of ethnonationalism is nationalism? We can bemoan the divisiveness of "identity politics" or we can see outcries over injustice from communities of women, migrants, and minorities as democracy in action. The white nationalist reaction to these movements is a concern, but the solution is not for minority communities to "assimilate" into anglo american cultural norms, nor is it simply the creation of a more inclusive American identity. In a global political economy the old notion of the nation state as a bounded territory with a common language and set of values no longer works. In many parts of the world it never did. The creation of more just, democratic institutions will require us to embrace cultural difference, not the developmemt or reformulation new forms of national identity. Why should the burden of assimilation be placed on those communities that have historically been the most disenfranchized? In the US, it is those of us who enjoy positions of privelege who need to learn to adapt to a more open, inclusive society.

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  • S. Archer
  • 07-04-20

Book is good; audiobook is awful

I read this book before, and thoroughly enjoyed it. This should be required reading for any candidates for office!

That said, I tried the audiobook to refresh my memory. The reading is awful. Sounds like a very dry monotone lecture. Would be great if it were read by a news anchor.

2 people found this helpful

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  • AGGELOS IOAKIMIDES
  • 31-03-19

Is so bad that it does not allow the content work

Yes it is very theoretical. Yeah it has difficult context to elaborate on. Yes it does not have. All of this is impossible to follow with the worst narration I have ever heard! Placing periods every four words and throwing commas around, finishing the sentence in the middle, without any understanding of context, any feel for the story, and tonality that sounds like an awful commercial. I really think this book should be re-recorded because the audiobook is destroyed by the narration. It sounds like it is machine made. Dr Sbaitso, not an audiobook. I will finish it because I payed for it and because it is interesting. I will wrestle. 40% in and I suffer.

14 people found this helpful

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  • Olly Buxton
  • 03-06-19

Mediocre arguments presented by terrible narrator

If Fukuyama is struggling to retain credibility after The End of History then this old-fashioned, pedestrian affair is not likely to help. Certainly not with a narrator that sounds like a speak-and-spell. Only 6 and a half hours long, no real penetration or insight into the issue du jour, citing Hegel, Kant and Hobbes like some sophomore term paper - there must be better efforts than this.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Good Grain
  • 12-11-18

Blandly academic

It starts badly with a dull disposition on the misunderstandings around his once famous but now rather dated book "The End of History and the Last Man" which really should have been left out as irrelevant to the topic at hand. It picks up thereafter but it doesn't offer anything beyond an academic overview of some of the key writers about identity over the last few hundred years and in this regard it is unspectacular but passable. Alas once it hits more modern times it becomes ever closer to a bog standard soft left editorial devoid of anything fresh to say and hence bland.

5 people found this helpful

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  • P Iveson
  • 28-01-19

Not so sure about this one.

I felt quite uneasy listening to this at times. I'm centre-right but I listen to and respect the opinions and work of an awful lot of liberals. But here there were quite a few occasions, increasingly towards the end, where I felt the author's bias coming through. Ordinarily I'd say a bias is to be expected, but it led to the author explaining certain elements of current affairs in a way that would lead someone less informed to confirm opinions they may hold about things the media are currently publishing, regarding trump and the right wing. He made several points that conflict with information I'm currently reading in Black Rednecks and White Liberals, as well as passing disingenuous comments about trump, all while defending and sympathising with the left. The biggest gripe for me being the incident at Charlottesville and trump's comments about "both sides" which he cleared up about 100 times since, and then the author makes vague statements about trump nodding to white supremacy. I don't even like trump and I have a clearer view of things than this book does.

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  • Adrian J. Smith
  • 27-05-21

The explanation of our present ills

Fukuyama may be one of the best known and most maligned political scientists due to his rather triumphalist End of History thesis, something he never argued as a definite conclusion and he has since revised.
Within Identity he looks at the roots of modern identity politics and examines how they play out in today's world.
Fukuyama examines the origin of modern identity, starting with the European Reformation and moving toward today's anxieties surrounding nationalism and supranational entities.
Two recurring themes are the election of Donald Trump, the departure of Britain from the EU and the movement toward more agitative nationalism from places such as Turkey to Russia.
The book is unsurprisingly America centric, as evinced in the final chapter detailing solutions for immigration reform in the US, but nonetheless Identity is universally applicable due to Fukuyama's understanding of the issue and his immense readability.
The narration is excellent and never lets down the pace, making it a highly enjoyable read or listen.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Miss B K M Jones
  • 17-05-21

Impossible to listen to

The narrator has such a robotic voice and repetitive intonation it's impossible to take in what he's actually saying.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Parissa
  • 01-06-21

Extremely interesting and relevant book

« Identity » is an extremely timely, relevant and interesting book, examining amongst others, the origins of group and national identity, the rise of identity politics and its consequences, the rise of populism, etc. It is very clearly and succinctly written and is a very accessible book. I found some of the ideas so interesting, I frequently had to stop or re-listen, to think about what had been said and absorb the ideas.
Such an extremely interesting book deserved a much better narrator. At first, it felt like listening to an automated voice. It was a credit to how interesting I found the content of the book that I carried on listening. Anything else by this narrator would have been promptly returned.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 20-03-21

exceptional

This book, along with "The end of history & the last man" have been the two books i have read that have helped me understand todays political climate nost clearly.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sly Jobs
  • 26-12-20

concise explanation

the theory, which it is, is well documented and spans diverse subtexts despite being presented in a concise and clear manner. its a good book from a great mind

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  • Grumpy Old Writer
  • 01-03-20

Brilliant

This book says everything you need to know about the political crisis we are in – fair, objektiv, deep. Thank you Mr Fukuyama

1 person found this helpful

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  • Martin David Middleton
  • 17-04-19

Good book, horrible narration

I really wanted to listen to this book but the narration is horrible. Gave up. Sounds like I am listening to a computer or some kind of automaton. Don't understand why Audible can't reliably get decent narration for its books.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Marita
  • 21-10-19

Opened my eyes to the topic

I'd been thinking a lot about the philosophical admonition to 'know thyself' when I stumbled on this book. It opened my eyes to the very practical needs of modern society at all levels. The book was read too fast to absorb it all in one sitting, so I've bought the Kindle version and will go back over various chapters. I think it would be best read one chapter per sitting. Well worth reading and studying.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 15-10-18

Helps to understand the 'why' of modern issues

This book does a great job of creating a common thread between issues that are intuitively connected but hard to articulate. It was dense at times, and has some assumed knowledge of history and philosophy, but still peices together the role of identity, particularly in transnational issues, in a compelling way.