The theme of identity runs throughout Édouard Glissant's work and constitutes one of his most original contributions to postcolonial thought. It is always considered in relation to change, but his formulations of both identity and change themselves change in the course of his career. In this essay, three different versions of the interrelation of identity and change are considered. In Glissant's 1981 Le discours antillais, the emphasis is on the conscious construction of a collective identity as a means of promoting the struggle for independence. In his texts of the 1990s, in contrast, identity is formed through contacts with others within the nexus of Relation and créolisation, whereas in his 2006 Une nouvelle région du monde, it is largely a question of the relationship between human beings and place. In this essay, Glissant's ideas are compared with those of the theorists of créolité, from the point of view of the question of essentialism.

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