identity politics

noun, plural in form but singular or plural in construction
Updated on: 18 May 2018

Definition of identity politics

: politics in which groups of people having a particular racial, religious, ethnic, social, or cultural identity tend to promote their own specific interests or concerns without regard to the interests or concerns of any larger political group
  • Identity politics took its modern form during the second half of the last century. It emerged as an emancipatory mode of political action and thinking based on the shared experience of injustice by particular groups—notably blacks, women, gays, Latinos and American Indians.
  • —Orlando Patterson
  • Although the UCLA center's standards promoted rigorous history, they set off a major culture war because of their relentless emphasis on identity politics.
  • —Diane Ravitch
  • Identity politics is contemporary shorthand for a group's assertion that it is a meaningful group; that it differs significantly from other groups; that its members share a history of injustice and grievance; and that its psychological and political mission is to explore, act out, act on and act up its group identity.
  • —Catharine R. Stimpson
  • A number of critics have viewed her work through a lens of identity politics, taking her to be some sort of oracle of Muslim womanhood.
  • —Lauren Collins

Recent Examples of identity politics from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'identity politics.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of identity politics

1979

in the meaning defined above

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