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5. Identity in politics

promises and dangerslocked

  • Florian Coulmas


‘Identity in politics: promises and dangers’ concludes that identity in politics is a challenge to democratic rule rooted in the principle of self-determination. As a natural child of nationalism, it gives rise to conflicts that political scientists study at multiple levels. At the subnational level, the focus is on ethnicities and group affiliations. At the supranational level, they are concerned with civilization identities. Considering conflicts in terms of civilization identities is sometimes persuasive for there is the risk of stereotyping, while identities are historically contingent and can be instrumentalized for various political purposes. Because identities tend to be presented as non-negotiable, identity politics is hard to reconcile with deliberative democracy as it makes compromise difficult to achieve.

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