Transcending Racial Divisions: Anti-racism and Identity Politics


Louis Dit Sully, Christine Aristide 2021. Transcending Racial Divisions: Anti-racism and Identity Politics. Thesis
AuthorsLouis Dit Sully, Christine Aristide
Qualification namePhD

The issue of race is one of the most important concerns of Western society today. This concern takes many forms and has entered all aspects of our lives. The social, economic and political worlds are all affected by discussions, contestations and conflicts involving racial thinking and the notion of race. In the political realm, the question of racial identities is one of the forms in which this contemporary concern for race takes place. The use of our racial identities in political discussions is understood today as ‘identity politics’. This research examines the notions of race, racism, identity, politics and identity politics in the past and in the present and explores the contemporary relationships between politics, identity politics, the concern for racial identities and the notion of race. With such a comprehensive approach, it provides insights as to why the question of racial identity has taken such an important space in public discourse and in politics. It shows that the notion of race, a product of history, has anti-human, anti-rational and anti-political foundations which have been kept in the modern notion of culture. The use of racial identities in politics, a particular form of identity politics, is not a new phenomenon. Identity politics using politicised racial identities has existed throughout the historical development of race. The research compares the classical and contemporary meaning of politics and argues that identity politics, understood as identity-based politics or as the use of social identities within the political realm, is not politics in the classical meaning of politics. What has changed since the first use of politicised racial identities is the various understandings of humanity as individuals and the consequent degradation of political thinking. The philosophical concern for the Self, personhood, subject or identity has been a very particular interest in the Western world since the seventeenth century. However, the focus on psychology and personal identity has given rise to the psychological self. Under certain social and political circumstances such as the widespread atomisation of society, the development of the therapeutic culture, the common support for anti-Enlightenment ideas and the psychological approaches to understanding the world has led to contemporary identity politics being organised within a culture of competitive victimhood. This research shows that the focus on racial identities in public discourse is creating problems for an effective opposition to racism but is also producing an expansion of anti-political and anti-human thinking.

KeywordsRace, Identity, Racial thinking, racial identity, Politics, anti-racism, Identity Politics, Society and Culture, Political Philosophy, Humanism, Universalism
PublisherUniversity of Derby
College of Arts, Humanities and Education
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Deposited12 Oct 2021, 14:20
Publication dates15 Sep 2021

Attribution 4.0 International

ContributorsHayes, Dennis (Advisor) and Mieschbuehler, Ruth (Advisor)
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