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Type: Journal article
Title: Narratives of identity: Denying empathy in conservative discourses on race, class, and sexuality
Author: Johnson, C.
Citation: Theory and Society, 2005; 34(1):37-61
Publisher: Kluwer Academic Publ
Issue Date: 2005
ISSN: 0304-2421
Statement of
Carol Johnson
Abstract: Issues of identity are crucial in current political debate. This article analyses narratives of identity using three very different examples, namely colonial-settler Australia, lesbian romance genres, and the role of class in contemporary American and British politics. It explores both privileged and marginalized identity narratives and the tensions between them. For example, lesbian romance narratives are contrasted with religious right arguments against same-sex marriage. Some argue that the complex intersections, compatibilities, and differences between conflicting narratives of identity reveal a great deal about how specific concepts of identity are formed. The narratives examined do not produce explicit binary constructions of dominant and subordinate identity categories. Rather, being able to imagine (or not imagine) other narratives plays an important part in the process of constructing identities within these discourses. Narratives that foreclose empathy facilitate the denial that discrimination or subordination is taking place. Similarly, privileged narratives of identity facilitate subjects ability to think well of themselves and their treatment of others.
Description: The original publication can be found at
RMID: 0020050172
DOI: 10.1007/s11186-005-3295-2
Published version:
Appears in Collections:Politics publications

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