In recent decades theories of liberal multiculturalism as articulated by political philosophers such as Will Kymlicka and Charles Taylor have come to dominate debates about identity and difference politics in western political theory. This book provides a nuanced critique of these debates by questioning liberal multiculturalism's preoccupation with culture and, just as important, its unintended consequences.
Identity/Difference Politics offers an alternative theoretical model to liberal multiculturalism, one that centres not on culture but on power. Issues of power are examined through accounts of meaning-making - those processes through which meanings of difference are produced, organized, and regulated. From an anti-racist feminist perspective, it explores accounts of the immigrant, ableism, oralism, sexual difference, Deaf cultures, and gendered racialization - forms of identity/difference not typically examined in liberal multicultural theories - to establish the analytic and normative value of Dhamoon's approach.
By rejecting the liberal multicultural politics of culture in favour of a critical politics of meaning-making, Identity/Difference Politics exposes how an exclusive preoccupation with culture can dissolve into essentialism and provide a rationale for state regulation of groups deemed to be too different. Students of contemporary political theory, multiculturalism, identity politics, Canadian politics and culture, dis/ablity studies, critical race theory, and feminist and gender theory will find it an invaluable resource.
Rita Dhamoon teaches in the Department of Philosophy and Political Science at the University of the Fraser Valley, British Columbia. She is co-editor of Sexual Justice/Cultural Justice: Critical Perspectives in Political Theory and Practice.
Preface Acknowledgments Introduction 1 The Problem with "Culture" 2 The Politics of Meaning-Making 3 Re-Thinking Accounts of the "Immigrant" 4 Regulating Difference: Accounts of Deaf and Trans-sexual Difference 5 Accounts of Racialized Gendering: Domination and Relational Othering 6 Possibilities for Democracy: Toward Disruption Notes References Index