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The hidden history of identity politics

by Frank Furedi

Identity politics is the dominant force in Western public life today. Yet too many draw the conclusion that the 21st-century identitarian is simply the latest version of those activists who demanded women’s or black liberation in the 1960s. This is misleading because it ignores the extent to which the drivers and concerns of identity politics have changed over the decades.

serie: Nederland op ABC-eilanden (17) : riolering / © Aart G. Broek

Indeed, since the politics of identity first emerged in the late 18th century, it has undergone significant transformations. It has been embraced by conservative movements, and celebrated by radical ones; it has focused on large-scale identities such as nations or peoples, and concentrated on particular individuals; and although it is identified today as a leftist force, it has often provided a political narrative for those on the right, be they traditionalists or nationalists.

So, if one is to grasp what is unique about contemporary identity politics, it is essential to explore its history. This can be divided up into four phases.

Please, continue reading on the Spiked! website, December 2017.

on 30.01.2018 at 11:09
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