The problem with identity politics

O'Shea, Louise

Publisher:  RedFlag
Date Written:  06/07/2017
Year Published:  2017  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX21099

An examination of identity politics, and how experience alone is an inadequate foundation from which to develop an analysis of oppression or to devise political strategies to end it.


Excerpt: The sexism experienced by someone like Julia Gillard or Gina Rinehart, for example, is dramatically different from that experienced by a migrant woman worker on the minimum wage or a single mother dependent on a pension. Likewise, the experience of a refugee who has spent years languishing in detention and one who has managed to avoid this ordeal are very different, although equally valid, examples of the refugee experience.

Political strategies based on subjective experience will tend to arbitrarily elevate certain experiences over others, reduce the complex reality of oppression to a mere stereotype or become overwhelmed to the point that the coherence of the oppressed group itself is called into question.

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