Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Politics of Idenity

Writing in the Critical Review (Vol. 14, Num. 2-3) Reihan Salam expounds thusly:

…asymmetries in identity and self-representation are very much a “dialogical process,” one that is intimately tied to privileges and institutions secured by the state; they are not autochthonous by any stretch of the imagination. Though cultural collectivities certainly can precede their political articulation, politicized and institutionalized cultural collectivities do not.
Though, for them to be politicized and institutionalized at all, they must precede the articulation of their existence. They become, once recognized and constructed—for a myriad of state-interested purposes—politicized and institutionalized not by the very articulation alone, but as a result of past grievances and an overall disconnection from the avails afforded, it is assumed, other cultural collectives.

Identity Politics
founders on the contradictory principles that underlie liberalism: universal equality and the inviolable right to individual freedom. Yet, as is natural with the variety of human cultures, self-interested collectives fortify their inviolable rights to freedom, assuming that a standard of universal equalization is being actualized.

This, however, is not the case. Because, again, the variety of human cultures trends to a heterogeneity of outcomes and, therefore, a heterogeneity and hierarchy of rights to freedom and equality, cultural collectives outside the articulated realm of equality rights will inevitably agitate for particular self-interested concessions.

If Identity Politics are to be denied, it is on the supposition that a variety of human-cultural collectives are also to be denied, which, regrettably, is on the supposition that an ethnic/homogenous, rather than a civic/heterogeneous, national consciousness is more viable as an instrument of statecraft. This cannot be a realistic proposition given that it denies heterogeneity--a variable that is a priori to any honest discourse-theoretic.

No comments: