Making Identity Matter provides a clear and lively critique of a variety of uses of the concept of 'identity' within sociology and associated human sciences. In the early chapters, Robin Williams draws on a range of historical and contemporary sources to describe and discuss some common images of identity -- as subjective achievement, as social location and as discursive effect. In later chapters, the author explores recent empirical studies, which have argued for the suspension or modification of conventional theoretical assertions about how and why identity matters to human subjects in their ordinary lives. Williams concludes by endorsing recent arguments for detailed descriptions of the ways in which identity matters arise and are dealt with within and through the accountability of social interaction.
Making Identity Matter will be essential reading for all those involved in the human sciences who are concerned to understand the significance accorded to identity within the wider effort to examine the relationship between subjectivity, action and social and cultural institutions.