Identity Politics Challenging Universalism Essay

994 words - 4 pages

Now in order to get down to explaining exactly how identity politics is challenging the notion of universalism. We must first understand what exactly is to be understood by the term identity politics and of course universalism. So firstly I will begin by explaining what is meant by each term and the secondly I will try to analyse how it is exactly that identity politics reflects a shift away from universalism and towards particularism. I will also explain a bit about particularism and how it relates to identity politics.
Identity politics is the recognition of the importance of the differences within society. It is a political focus upon the individual and seeing them as embedded in a ...view middle of the document...

Most especially it can be found in numerous amounts movements, ranging from gay and lesbian movements and ethnic movements to disability movements, feminist movements and post-colonial movements amongst many more.
Universalism in a very basic and broad understanding refers to political religious, theological, and philosophical concepts, which have a universal application. In other words, as put by Heywood, “Universalism: The theory that there is a common core to human identity shared by people everywhere.” (Politics, pg.212) In essence, it is the opposing theory to that of particularists, who believe that identity is set in particular rather than general characteristics, seeming to highlight the importance of factors such as locality, culture and ethnicity. “Politics in this context is defined as a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and possibly the purpose of the universe, in particular when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.”(L. A. Kauffman, "The Anti-Politics of Identity," pg.67–80) Universalism in other words is a term that is used to identify particular principles or policies considering all the people that fall in their society.
Political particularism is the ability of policymakers to further their careers by appealing to narrow interests rather than the wider interests of the country, (A. Gaviria; "Political Institutions and Growth Collapses".) It is commonly distinguished by its adversaries as the politics of group identity that tops universal rights and consequently the rights of minorities and or any other kind of group rights. within particularism, the crucial or significant dynamic of politics becomes religious and ethnic identity, as well as many others, and the interests of the societies are defined by these identity ties as an alternative to the ideals and values of political...

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