Scholars Corner is an ongoing SPICE initiative to share FSI’s cutting-edge social science research with high school and college classrooms nationwide and international schools abroad.
This week we released “The Rise and Implications of Identity Politics,” the latest installment in our ongoing Scholars Corner series. Each Scholars Corner episode features a short video discussion with a scholar at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) at Stanford University sharing his or her latest research.
This Scholars Corner video features New York Times bestselling author Francis Fukuyama discussing the recent rise of identity politics, both in the United States and around the world. “In the 20th century we had a politics that was organized around an economic axis, primarily. You had a left that worried about inequality…and you had a right that was in favor of the greatest amount of freedom,” summarizes Fukuyama. “[N]ow we are seeing a shift in many countries away from this focus on economic issues to a polarization based on identity.”
According to Fukuyama, this shift in politics is reflected in such domestic social movements as Black Lives Matter and #MeToo, as well as in international movements like the Catalan independence movement, white nationalism, and even the Islamic State.
The rise of identity politics may have troubling implications for modern democracies. “In the United States, for example, the Republican party increasingly has become a party of white people, and the Democratic party has become increasingly a party of minorities and women. In general, I think the problem for a democracy is that you’ve got these specific identities…[but] you need something more than that. You need an integrative sense of national identity [that’s] open to the existing diversity of the society that allows people to believe that they’re part of the same political community,” says Fukuyama.
“That, I think, is the challenge for modern democracy at the present moment.”
To hear more of Dr. Fukuyama’s analysis, view the video here: “The Rise and Implications of Identity Politics.” For other Scholars Corner episodes, visit our Scholars Corner webpage. Past videos have covered topics such as cybersecurity, immigration and integration, and climate change.
Francis Fukuyama is a Senior Fellow at FSI and the Mosbacher Director of the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. This video is based on his recent book Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment, which was recognized as The Times (UK) Best Books of 2018, Politics, and Financial Times Best Books of 2018.