The Perils of Identity

Group Rights and the Politics of Intragroup Difference

Caroline Dick

  • Published: 2011. Paperback 2012
  • Subject Listing: Native American and Indigenous Studies
  • Bibliographic information: 272 pp., 80 illus., 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: US rights only
  • Distributed for: UBC Press
  • Contents

Many liberal theorists consider group identity claims a necessary condition of equality in Canada, but do these claims do more harm than good? To answer this question, Caroline Dick examines the identity-driven theories of Charles Taylor, Will Kymlicka, and Avigail Eisenberg in the context of Sawridge Band v. Canada, a case which sets a First Nation's right to self-determination against indigenous women's right to equality. The concept of identity itself is not the problem, Dick argues, but rather the way in which prevailing conceptions of identity and group rights obscure intragroup differences. Her proposal for a new politics of intragroup difference has the power to transform rights discourse in Canada.
Caroline Dick is an assistant professor in theDepartment of Political Science at the University of WesternOntario.

"Well-written and accessible, The Perils of Identity significantly advances the debate around multiculturalism and group rights, some of the most pressing issues of our time. I would assign it to students interested in Aboriginal politics, but also as a reading for courses on equality rights, constitutionalism, or politics/identity."
-Byron Sheldrick, author of Perils and Possibilities: Social Activism and the Law


1 Gender Discrimination within First Nations: The
History and Nature of the Sawridge Dispute

2 Group Rights and the Politics of Identity

3 Taylor's Theory of Identity Recognition

4 Kymlicka's Cultural Theory of Minority

5 Eisenberg's Theory of Identity-Related

6 Culture, Identity, and the Constitutional Rights of
Aboriginal Peoples

7 The Politics of Intragroup Difference

8 Sawridge Revisited