SG – A Political Diversion?

What does the emergence of emancipatory movements based on identity actually tells us about the underlying fault lines?

Organised by Studium Generale

Tue 23 February 2021 20:00

Venue Online

A Political Diversion

What if identity politics, despite its progressive outlook, might actually be entrenching the very dynamics it intends to challenge? Tonight we take on this thorny question by getting to the bottom of what is at play. Ewald Engelen draws on his recent works, Het is Klasse, Suffie, niet Identiteit (2018) and Wake up! Leave your Neoliberal Slumber (2021) to explore what the emergence of emancipatory movements based on identity actually tells us about the underlying fault lines. His analysis tours identity politics as a symptom of wider processes at work in political, economic and social order. Focusing on the foundations of exploitation and injustice, he will touch upon meritocracy, neoliberalism, technocracy, among others to gain insights into the tensions smoldering in the Netherlands and in societies elsewhere around the world.

About Ewald Engelen

Ewald Engelen was trained as a political and social philosopher in the tradition of the Frankfurter Schule. He currently holds the chair of Financial Geography at the University of Amsterdam. He writes essays, does interviews and writes columns for De Groene Amsterdammer. He is the author of After the Great Complacency (2014) which deals with the aftermath of the Great Financial Crisis and why nothing has changed, Het is Klasse, Suffie, niet Identiteit (2018) which castigates the Left for the betrayal of their traditional electorate, and, together with Marianne Thieme of the Partij voor de Dieren, Kanarie in de Kolenmijn (2016) which sketches a way out of the multiple crises humanity is facing. Engelen’s research focuses on elites, neoliberalism and the power of ideas. He lives near Arnhem, loves to walk his dog and is an accomplished trail runner.

About lecture series Identity Politics

Moving beyond psychological perspectives, we now look at identities in collective public political experience. While the term ‘‘Identity Politics’’ may be unfamiliar to some, groups and movements defined by a common sense of identity may not be. Race, gender, LGTBQ, class, religion, social backgrounds, age or for that matter any other commonly shared experience taking on an identity have been at the centre of struggles by those challenging power, speaking out against oppression and/or seeking inclusion. But what do we really know about the politicization of identity and the contending perspectives on it as an inclusive emancipatory approach to change? Markha Valenta (UU), Ewald Engelen (UvA) and André Krouwel (VU) look at identity politics through the lenses of cultural anthropology and history, as well as economic geography and political science.