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Reasons of IdentityA Normative Guide to the Political and Legal Assessment of Identity Claims$
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Avigail Eisenberg

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199291304

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199291304.001.0001

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Multiculturalism, Identity Quietism, and Identity Scepticism

Multiculturalism, Identity Quietism, and Identity Scepticism

(p.43) 3 Multiculturalism, Identity Quietism, and Identity Scepticism
Reasons of Identity

Avigail Eisenberg

Oxford University Press

Two types of critics oppose any role for identity in democratic politics. On one hand, identity quietists are advocates of multiculturalism who believe that multicultural principles can be applied without recourse to identity assessments. On the other hand, identity sceptics raise deep reservations about identity claims and therefore strongly oppose a form of politics, such as multiculturalism, which takes seriously identity claims. This chapter focuses on the failures of identity quietism using the debates over legally recognizing Muslim religious arbitration in the context of Canadian multiculturalism. It shows that when identity is not assessed in an open, direct, and structured manner, it is likely to be assessed implicitly and thereby remain open to the risk that racial stereotyping and democratic alienation will characterize assessments. The chapter rebuts identity quietism and outlines the four varieties of identity scepticism addressed in subsequent chapters.

Keywords:   identity quietist, identity sceptics, racial stereotyping, religious arbitration, Muslims, Canadian multiculturalism

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