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The idea of ‘identity politics’ has become quite prominent in news commentary. It has been referred to in explaining the 2016 US Presidential election result, the 2016 Brexit vote and a variety of other events in contemporary social life. The idea emerged under that title in the late twentieth century, and refers to political conflicts where groups unite and act on the basis of some shared identity. While the term initially referred to action by groups seeking to remedy past oppression, ‘identity politics’ may now refer to a wider range of cases where there is contestation based on recognition of some shared identity. Individuals’ identity is central to resurgent modern virtue ethics, but it has been suggested that virtue ethics is less relevant to political conflict than utilitarian views or theories of justice. However, an important distinction can be made between narrative identity, on the one hand, and social identity that emerges from individuals’ self-perceived group membership, on the other hand. It is narrative identity that figures in major accounts of virtue ethics. In many situations, narrative identity is importantly affected by group identity, but it is still only narrative identity that has intrinsic ethical weight. This suggests that virtue ethics has relevance to identity politics just because it urges attention to individuals’ narrative identity rather than to group identity.
In this commentary I take issue with Torpey's claim that political developments at the dawn of the new millennium caused liberal democracies to tilt away from those…
In this commentary I take issue with Torpey's claim that political developments at the dawn of the new millennium caused liberal democracies to tilt away from those visions that have the potential of promoting an inclusive and just society. I argue that the politics of identity and its modes of repair do not necessarily undermine these visions but rather render them often possible and even infuse them with their true meaning. I present my argument against Israel's recent policies to privatize state-owned lands and of the various strategies employed by different social groups to influence these policies in their favor. These policies, I claim, involve all the ingredients that figure in Torpey's lamentation against the politics of identity and its modes of repair. In a way, they buttress Torpey's disdain for the politics of difference, for they show how the category of culture or cultural affiliation figure detrimentally in the articulation of social groups’ demands for reparation based on their past. But nonetheless, and in contrast to his condemnation of identity politics, I present this account with the aim of underscoring its significance and of stressing the importance of reparation as a means to promote equal and full citizenship. My claim is that social and political arrangements in the nation-state are so ordered – either formally or informally – that they promote the interests of the dominant groups, based on their alleged past contribution to the res public, i.e., the common good of the nation. Put differently, the promotion of these interests is grounded in what we may label republican meritocracy. Republican meritocracy amounts to a reward system allocating benefits to dominant groups for the efforts they allegedly exerted in the past in promoting the ‘vital interests’ of the nation. Thus, this system takes on board the notion of compensation but incorporates it within a meritocratic system. It does not grant these groups with a compensation for past injustices inflicted upon them but a compensation for their alleged past contribution to the nation. Hence, when marginalized and oppressed groups embark upon identity politics they do not actually depart from a political system that looks askance at the idea of reparation and compensation, but rather they employ moral vocabulary which is already embedded in that system.
Social movement scholarship points to the significance of collective identity in social movement emergence. This chapter examines the relationship between structural…
Social movement scholarship points to the significance of collective identity in social movement emergence. This chapter examines the relationship between structural identities, such as race, gender, and sexuality, and the collective identity of student activist conferences in order to analyze how groups succeed or fail at engaging difference. Utilizing ethnographic participant observation at two student activist conferences – one of majority Black students and the other of majority white male students – this chapter employs an intersectional framework in analyzing the resonance of organizational collective action frames. This chapter finds that cultural resonance, frame centrality, and experiential commensurability are all important factors in engaging difference, and that the utilization of political intersectionality in framing may shape frame resonance. This framework that applies intersectionality to framing contributes to social movement analysis by recognizing how structural identities shape collective identity and group mobilization.
- Civil war
- Dysfunctional politics
- ELF index (index of ethno-linguistic fractionalization)
- Ethnic diversity
- Ethnic dominance
- Ethnic hatreds
- Fragmented societies
- Multiethnic societies
- Nation building
- OECD countries
- Victimization of minorities
The purpose of this paper is to add to the emerging literatures on organizational learning and strategic management by developing a practice perspective on strategic…
The purpose of this paper is to add to the emerging literatures on organizational learning and strategic management by developing a practice perspective on strategic organizational learning (SOL). While the literature on SOL has been growing, much of it has targeted exclusively practitioners and has not yet elaborated the mechanics and the micro‐dynamics of SOL. This paper is an initial attempt at exploring two important aspects of SOL: deep‐structure politics, and sensegiving.
The paper reports a qualitative case study of a major construction project undertaken by a mid‐size urban university as a part of its strategic change initiative.
Several ways in which deep‐structure politics shaped SOL at the research site are highlighted. The findings suggest that deep‐structure politics and sensegiving can shape identity processes in the context of SOL in important ways, such as dramatically altering the identity of the project team and symbolically separating it from the host institution.
The paper enriches the predominantly practitioner literature on SOL with empirical examination of the practices of SOL.
It has been argued that the workplace and the labor market in general, by processes of education, mobility and competition, have become the main forces behind the…
It has been argued that the workplace and the labor market in general, by processes of education, mobility and competition, have become the main forces behind the individualization and atomization in societies and in people’s lives. This paper inquires into the tensions between solidarity, identity, and individualism among workers in their efforts to organize collective struggles to improve their workplaces and their lives. Drawing on the dilemmas of increased diversity in the new workplace, the paper delineates three models of organized labor: (1) The Universalist-Individualist model of organized labor, peaking at the New Deal crisis and embedded in National Labor Relations Act, as an attempt to establish universal solidarity, which suppressed differences and presented a unified worker voice; (2) The Separatist model, which emerges as a reaction to intragroup exclusion and involves fragmentation of workers into identity groups, each representing the interests of its members; (3) The Coalitionist-Altruist model, envisioned in the paper as a middle ground between solidarity and self-interest, through interrelated moves: a move from totalizing universal solidarity to coalitionist solidarity through continuous dialogue and “rotation of centers” and a move from rights-based identity politics and the dominance of employment antidiscrimination claims to a fuller substantive theory for social reform.
The purpose of this paper is to develop a theoretical framework for understanding the identity politics associated with parental hesitancy and refusal of vaccines for…
The purpose of this paper is to develop a theoretical framework for understanding the identity politics associated with parental hesitancy and refusal of vaccines for their children (“vaccine hesitancy or refusal” or “VHR”). Understanding these identity politics helps policymakers to craft appropriate communication interventions that do not make the problem worse.
Social identity theory is a way of understanding how group identities develop around the lifestyle practices that often include refusal to vaccinate, and how this group identity is accentuated by conflict with the pro-vaccinating societal mainstream. This paper critically appraises existing studies of VHR to explore this groupness across many different contexts.
Groupness is evident across many different contexts. There are also key group characteristics: preference for natural birth and breastfeeding, nature as a concept and use of complementary and alternative medicine.
The paper is speculative and theoretical, using existing sources. Future studies will need to demonstrate empirically with new data. However, this theoretical approach sets up a new research agenda.
These findings can help governments and policymakers minimise social conflict that risks further polarising vaccine conversations and wedging parents on the fence.
This paper argues that the decision to vaccinate or not is an inherently social one, not a matter of pure individual rationality. This is a novel approach to engaging with what is often characterised and studied as an individual decision.
Populism is one of the main symptoms of the contemporary crisis in Europe. How can the rise of populism best be understood? Whereas existing analyses predominantly utilise…
Populism is one of the main symptoms of the contemporary crisis in Europe. How can the rise of populism best be understood? Whereas existing analyses predominantly utilise rationalist and behaviouralist approaches and focus on political, economic and cultural interests, this contribution proposes a different approach. The author focusses on affects and emotions. The author shows that where other parties or political movements opt for rational and dispassionate debates on merits of political programmes, populists instead offer, invoke and respond to strong emotions across multiple political settings. Emotions feed and propel populism in its bid for power by forming collective identities through the clustering of love for ‘us’ and hate for the ‘other’.
Ontological Security Theory (OST) is used here as a framework for understanding populist behaviour in the sphere of security perception, identification and community-building. In recent debates, OST has been used because it allows the motives for certain behaviours to be located in the need to maintain or recreate positive identity constructed via biographical narratives. OST suggests that any lack of narrative continuity regarding the shape of the self-images for both individual and collective identities will therefore constitute a source of ontological threat; the lack of a sense of security. In this contribution, the author uses the examples of populist policies and discourses in Hungary and Poland that illustrate this dynamic to analyse the past- and future-oriented collective identifications underpinning the recent rise of populism in Europe.
This article analyzes the question why the Dutch patients’ health movement, specifically its branch of organizations for handicapped people, increasingly appeals to civic…
This article analyzes the question why the Dutch patients’ health movement, specifically its branch of organizations for handicapped people, increasingly appeals to civic identity, and what consequences this has for the movement's mobilization efforts and effects. To address this question, we first analyze the meaning of ‘identity’ for patients’ organizations. In addition to an internal function (a shared identity as the basis for contact with other patients), the ‘patient identity’ also has an external function: identity movements can also produce instrumental actions. At the same time, it turns out that the specific ‘patient identity’ is being undermined through these instrumental actions, since in particular the instrumentally oriented wing of the movement insists on a broader basis for mobilization than the patient identity alone. This wing propagates citizenship as the empowering core topic, also because it seems to generate a better response in the political arena than the victim-like patient identity. This is a problematic situation. Employing a broad civic identity may appeal to some handicapped people. For other patients, however, this appeal works only in a very limited way, especially as long as citizenship does not take into consideration the differences between citizens, and as long as citizenship is defined in opposition to corporeality.
Purpose – Recent research on the modes of patient activism has displaced older notions of patients as passive, compliant subjects of biomedical power. This chapter expands…
Purpose – Recent research on the modes of patient activism has displaced older notions of patients as passive, compliant subjects of biomedical power. This chapter expands analyses of patient activism to examine the intersections between the processes of identity formation, the emergence of a new scientific field (human stem cell research), and political institutions.
Methodology – This chapter uses in-depth interviews, ethnographic techniques, and textual analyses to collect data regarding California's 2004 ballot initiative, Proposition 71, The California Stem Cell Research and Cures Act. Data were analyzed using a situational analysis approach. Situational analysis is a variant of grounded theory that organizes data in the form of maps of connections between actors and social worlds.
Findings – This chapter examines the content and significance of this event through the construction of a collective identity among supporters of Proposition 71, what I call “stem cell activists.” The construction of this collective identity serves as an important ground from which individuals and groups carve out political claims of self-representation. Stem cell activists also helped pass a controversial initiative through the efforts in publicly supporting Prop 71 and human stem cell research.
Research limitations – This research is limited in that it only examined individuals who became stem cell activists, and not individuals from whom this identity failed to gain salience. More research is needed to understand the conditions under which this identity becomes incorporated within a person's political repertoire.
Value of chapter – This chapter brings together theoretical perspectives on the symbolic aspects of identity construction and the political economy of biomedical science. This chapter will be of interest to scholars in medical sociology, science and technology studies, and social movement researchers.