Philosophers' Imprint (forthcoming)

Katherine Ritchie
University of California, Irvine
Identity politics has been critiqued in various ways. One central problem—the Reinforcement Problem—claims that identity politics reinforces groups rooted in oppression thereby undermining its own liberatory aims. Here I consider two versions of the problem—one psychological and one metaphysical. I defang the first by drawing on work in social psychology. I then argue that careful consideration of the metaphysics of social groups and of the practice of identity politics provides resources to dissolve the second version. Identity politics involves the creation or transformation of groups in ways that do not succumb to the metaphysical Reinforcement Problem.
Keywords Identity politics  oppression  social groups  social metaphysics
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