Root identity
—is founded in the distant past in a vision, a myth of the creation of the world;
—is sanctified by the hidden violence of a filiation that strictly follows from this founding episode;
—is ratified by a claim to legitimacy that allows a community to proclaim its entitlement to the possession of a land, which thus becomes a territory;
—is preserved by being projected onto other territories, making their conquest legitimate—and through the project of a discursive knowledge.

Root identity therefore rooted the thought of self and of territory and set in motion the thought of the other and of voyage.

Relation identity
—is linked not to a creation of the world but to the conscious and contradictory experience of contacts among cultures;
—is produced in the chaotic network of Relation and not in the hidden violence of filiation;
—does not devise any legitimacy as its guarantee of entitlement, but circulates, newly extended;
—does not think of a land as a territory from which to project toward other territories but as a place where one gives-on-and-with rather than grasps.

Relation identity exults the thought of errantry and of totality.

Édouard Glissant

Édouard Glissant, “Distancing, Determining,” Poetics of Relation [1990], trans. Betsy Wing (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2010), pp. 143–4.

Bryce Wilner
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