Volume 95, Issue 2, April 2018
Special Conference Issue: Race and Gender
Michele M. Moody-Adams
Democracy, Identity, and Politics
Democratic politics is always identity politics and there are some varieties of identity politics without which full and genuine democratic cooperation would not be possible. Indeed, the very existence of a democratic people involves mobilization of political concern and action around a democratic national identity. But a genuinely democratic national identity must be an open identity that can accommodate internal complexity and acknowledge external responsibilities. Moreover, in democracies characterized by a history of discrimination and oppression, there must also be political space for a revitalizing identity politics that initially mobilizes political concern and action around the identities of those groups that have been subject to discrimination and oppression. Yet a revitalizing identity politics is likely to go awry if it is hostile to the possibility of reconciliation between the oppressed and former oppressors, or intrinsically resistant to political collaborations that might transcend the boundaries of familiar social groups.