ABSTRACT

Identity, or, more broadly, consciousness formation, as argued here, is the sense of individuality or subjectness of the mind determined and negated, as Theodor Adorno points out, by society through, in Foucaultian terms, its “manifold forms of domination,” i.e., power relations. This means in contemporary times, the “manifold forms of domination” by which the “modernizing ethos” of capital coming out of the West (America in particular) seeks to universalize its identity and form of social relation all in the attempt to (re)produce surplus value on a global scale (Wallerstein 1982). The problematic of this sociocultural turn in identity or consciousness formation-that is, the view that race and ethnicity, culture, and identity are not determined by biology but are instead sociohistorical constructs based on institutionalized power relations-has been raised by post-colonial theorists. This problematic centers on the notion of the heterogeneity/hybridity of the subjected individual and whether or not those who have been oppressed (subaltern) or discriminated against on account of their

“distinct” identity, i.e., “Other” form of being-in-the-world, from the “practical consciousness” or hegemony of the determining global (American) capitalist social structural (i.e., societal) framework, have a distinct identity or consciousness from which to utter confrontational words against their oppressors. Homi Bhabha and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, whose writings represent the two divergent views, are also the two most outstanding postcolonial scholars on these subjects. This paper critiques their understandings of identity construction in order to better understand the identitarian antisystemic nature of contemporary Islamic fundamentalist movements’ vis-à-vis that of communist Cuba and the black American struggle for freedom.