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Development Economics - What Is Identity Politics and Why It Is Relevant Today?

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What is identity politics and why it is relevant today?

Politics according to Heywood is all about phenomenon of conflict and cooperation. And Identity is a "sense of separate and unique selfhood" (Tshering & Choki 2011). The very reason to be oneself and defining the people amongst peoples in terms of religion, ethnicity, race, class, gender and lifestyles that an individual prefer is an assertion of identity. Modern identity is characterized by an emphasis on its inner voice and capacity for authenticity - that is, the ability to find a way of being someone, which is somehow, true to oneself (Charles Taylor in Heyes Cressida 2009)

Identity politics is all about how an individual defines himself in a political regime politically (Mahler 2008), just as how some of us call ourselves as Sharchops (regional based identity) or Drukpa (national based identity). According to Danziger 2011, identity politics particularly applies to groups of people that they feel they are being oppressed, neglected and marginalized within the social order. Supporting Danziger; Heyes Cressida 2009 states that the Identity politics starts from analysis of oppression to recommendation, rather than accepting the negative dominant culture. They try upholding one's own sense of self and community by raising consciousness within.

Seeking its relevance in the modern politics, Dryland &Jaward (2011) says that identity becomes more important when in crisis and stability is being displaced to some extent. The memories of discrimination of Walloon against Flemings in Belgium (Dahl & Stinebrickner), the black civil rights of USA in 1950s, the everlasting war between the Hezbolah, Israel defense forces and Hariri of Lebanon (Ommering 2011) and ethinic conflict between Tamil and Sinhalese in Sri Lanka (Eller in Tshering & choki 2011) are nothing but an implications of identity politics in the present world.

For example, according to the research conducted by Ommering 2011, Lebanon is one of the countries since its independence in 1943, known for political system based on sectarian power sharing among eighteen religious groups, of which three of them (Maronite Christian, Sunni Muslim, and Shi'a Muslim) are more significant. There existed a continuous civil war where they remained semi-controlled under the neighboring countries of Israel and Syria, since peaceful method failed. Pressurized by Hezbollah (Shi'a socio political military movement founded in early 1980s) Israel withdrew and assassination of President Hariri in 2005 forced Syria to leave. After this incidence, there formed two distinct political group, pro-western, one lead by Hariri's son consisting of Sunni Muslim and another Pro-Syrian alliance, consisting of Shi'a muslim and christain party lead by Nasrallah (Hezbollah's chief).

Even now, there exists instability in Lebanon. Students, there, are being politicized

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