Rethinking Progress and Identity
Chapter 7 returns to the earlier questions of the book about social justice: how far we come and what is left to do. It steps back from the historical analysis and argues that this analysis challenges the notions of power and social movements of previous work by emphasizing that movements not only expand freedom but also exert control. The preceding chapters enable us to think about identity in this more complex way. This “complex way” then does not discourage activist work; it simply encourages us to always see that work as partial, and to ask who is doing the activism, who is not, what issues are being discussed, what issues are not, what representations are mobilized and what are not. The chapter also reviews the major innovations of the analysis in terms of past work on the lesbian and gay movement and collective identity, most notably the book’s use of a capitalist political economy framework. This framework inserts a materialist dimension to previous work on intersectionality and multiple institutional approaches.