How should democratic societies deal with identity groups? For some, identity politics is a threat to democracy. When one is identified as a member of a group, defined in terms either of race, sex, sexual orientation, religion or social station, he or she is denied the type of individuality associated with his or her own character as well as his or her ability to choose freely his or her affiliations. In other words, identity groups alienate people rather than free them. They separate them rather than bring them together as members of the same polity. For others, identity groups are not prejudicial to freedom, individuality or social justice but are the very basis from which their meaning is drawn and the source we may rely on when we wish to promote and protect them. Identity groups come in many guises. To suggest that they should be both politically and legally recognized and accommodated is often highly controversial. In this seminar, we will examine some of these controversies, engage in the discussion of the normative principles involved and try and assess their import from a political and ethical perspective.
April 7th: Introduction
Taylor Ch. (1976), Neutrality in political science
April 21st: Modernity and politics of recognition
Taylor ch. (1995), Politics of recognition
Barry B. (1998), The limits of cultural politics
Kymlicka W. (1995), Individual rights and collective rights