• Marco Mosbæk Olsson
4. term, Applied Philosophy, Master (Master Programme)
This master thesis attempts a conceptual contribution to the deliberative democratic theory and political philosophy in general. While this thesis doesn’t take a stand of opinion on the many and increasing examples of cases of identity-politics, it does take a thorough view on the concept of identity-politics itself. The common concept of the identity is divided in the current western political sphere in many different parts. We talk about ‘religious identity’, ‘political identity’, ‘national identity’ etc. as if the identity is something that we talk about and examine in disconnected parts. Current “liberal” states use this divisibility to illegalize different types of practice and actions – not because it directly affects other citizens in the state, but because the state is under the impression that the given practitioners is suppressed and forced to maintain these practices. It is the “ethical” agenda of these liberal democracies to illegalize Muslim scarfs, because simply wearing them is considered suppressive or supporting a suppressive type of religious practice. In this way the liberal governments never fully understand the cultural practice of scarfs’ relation to individual identity. It is understood only as a religious practice, as a Muslim practice of the religion of Islam, and thereby generalizing and alienating the relation between self-identity and cultural traditions.

This is a position not untypical in the matters of identity politics. By following the discourse-theoretical and narrative conceptions of the identity, this thesis views the concept of identity as a dialogical dynamic between the social and public world and the introspective understanding and certainties of the individual. Such a perspective on the identity is a sort of “middle-ground” between the liberal democratic theory’s strict separation between the private and the public, and the inseparable conceptualization the citizen and the community-state in the communitarian democratic theory. This is also where the thesis’ theoretical position becomes obvious by following Habermas’ own view of his procedural-deliberative democratic theory as something “in between” the two. It is on that reason, that a considerable part of this thesis is constructed as a critique of both the liberal and communitarian theory, while pointing out the need of an explicit articulation of an individual and identity perspective that recognizes the Habermasian view on the public.

The concept of culture and politic becomes connected, but not mixed. The thesis makes this understanding clear with an ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ distinction of the concept of culture, as well as makes a case for a pluralistic (but non-ethnocentric) political powerful populations. These different concepts are being connected with an identity-perspective, that makes the political views and actions of humans possible to see as an inherent part of the identity itself. In some ways, this is a step further from the Aristotelian view on humanity as a political species, as it makes it a personal and not a generic trait. While the conceptual contribution of the term ‘politicity’ is considered something inseparable from the individual identity, it is still something a lot more particular and complex than “just” a trait of humanity.

‘Politicity’ is a term that this thesis defines and explains throughout presentations of inspirational democratic theories as well as a specific theory, that seems to recognize the phenomena of politicity while not having the specific term and conceptual knowledge of it. Furthermore, the thesis points out in its analysis’s practical political issues why this concept is needed to be recognized. This, however, makes the need of a contrast between the concept of ‘politicity’ and ‘civility’ obvious. In political actions made from certain unsatisfied opinions on the community’s normative values, rules and customs, the ‘civility’ concepts distinction of civil disobedience resembles actions of politicity. But it is merely a superficial resemblance, which this thesis definitively unravels in its last part. Conclusively, the definition of politicity is finally stated in accordance with and expansion of the drafted definition that is presented in the beginning of the thesis. This also answers the thesis’ core problem, that the definition of politicity must outline a recognition of the individual identity across isolating perspectives, so that it also can contribute to an understanding of the splitting tendencies of contemporary identity-politics.
Publication date3 Jun 2019
Number of pages72
ID: 304885512