Identity politics refers to the tendency of people from a specific background to form political alliances. Such as opposed to traditional broad-coalition party politics.
It is widely regarded as having played a critical role in advancing civil rights for many minority groups. However, some argue that forming these types of associations risks narrowing people’s perspectives on other groups. Others argue that the term itself is problematic.
What Exactly Is Identity Politics?
Identity Politics is a subset of politics. Concerning groups of people with a common racial, religious, ethnic, social, or cultural identity seek to advance their own specific interests or concerns.
Rather than sorting solely around belief systems, manifestos, or party ally. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Identity Politics “typically aims[s] to secure the political freedom of a specific constituency marginalized within its larger context.”
According to Philosophy Talk, “feminist movements, civil rights movements, and gay liberation movements are all examples of this type of political organizing.” Also according to Vox, the emphasis “typically falls on women, racial minorities, immigrants, LGBTQ people, and religious minorities.”
“All the social issues you may have heard of in the past several years. Same-sex marriage, police shootings of unarmed black men, trans people in bathrooms. Also, the fluidity of gender, discussions about rape culture, campus battles about safe spaces and trigger warnings. They are typically the kinds of issues people mean when they refer to identity politics,” the news site adds.
Why is it important?
Identity politics’ rise in mainstream politics is frequently viewed as both a cause and an effect of populism’s global rise. The Guardian reports that “when groups feel threatened, they retreat into tribalism.” It causes people to become “more defensive, more punitive, more us-versus-them.”
“Whites and blacks, Latinos and Asians, men and women, Christians, Jews, and Muslims, straight people and gay people, liberals and conservatives. All feel their groups are being attacked, bullied, persecuted, discriminated against,” the paper adds.
Could it have an effect on the general election?
The shift toward identity politics has not spared UK politics, and the upcoming December election, according to The Scotsman, appears to be defined less by policy and more by identity.
The country has shifted from making decisions based on “economic arguments such as ‘am I happy with paying more tax. Do I want to pay less tax/which party will protect my job/my pension’ etc.” To “one where people put the concerns they feel are more relevant to their own ‘identity.’ Be it race, religion, sex, ethnicity. Or sexual orientation, gender choice, or even age group, first and foremost.”