Polis Perspective 15/05/2015: The Paradox of Identity Politics
Polis Perspectives are weekly perspectives of our team on Polis-related topics. We also share our favorite articles and tweets. This week´s perspective is written by Balder Hageraats on the article: Kemal Derviş: ´The Paradox of Identity Politics´, Brookings, 13/05/2015
With the forces of globalisation influencing local dynamics in virtually every place in the world, identity politics is becoming increasingly pervasive. In order to reassert people’s sense of self in the seeming chaos and grandiose scope of an interconnected planet, returning to an “us” versus “them” narrative is both an attractive and powerful tool. As people across regions are more intertwined and interdependent than ever before, we yearn for a more distinctive and even antagonistic identity. Within small groups we need to perceive unique characteristics and destinies not shared by those not invited to our localised party. Kemal Derviş of the Brookings Institution writes about this phenomenon and its political consequences. ”The problem with identity politics is that it places the ‘in’ group at odds with the perceived ‘other’”. Quite. By being brought closer together through technological and systemic changes, we are brought back in touch with our very human side which craves differences between each other. In order to know who we are, we need to know who we are not. In this way, globalisation makes it both more attractive and paradoxically harder to find true schisms within humanity, however much we hanker after such conflict. In the eternal words of Cavafy, “what’s going to happen to us without barbarians? They were, those people, a kind of solution“.
Duncan Green: ´Which bits of advice to developing country decision makers actually listen to?´ Oxfam, 12/05/2015
Tony Elumelu: ´Entrepreneur-Led Development: A new Model for Africa´, AllAfrica, 12/05/2015
Sam Jones: ´EU Development finance needs completely completely new approach, report says´, the Guardian, 04/05/2015
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