Defining narratives of identity in Canadian political science: Accounting for the absence of race

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15 Citations (Scopus)


This article maps how Canadian political science has considered and shaped the logic of identity across the institutional, societal and governance dimensions of this disciplinary subfield. Focusing on the ubiquitous analytic absence of race in the mainstream literature, this article argues that mainstream Canadian political science reproduces a logic that limits the conversation to particular dimensions of identity- (identity- as a basis of political action, a collective phenomenon denoting sameness and a core aspect of individual/collective selfhood) at the expense of others (identity- as a product of social or political action, a product of multiple and competing discourses and a governmentality). In addition to this logic of identity-, eight methodological tendencies in the mainstream literature further impede analyses of race-. By challenging these methodological tendencies, abandoning identity- as an analytic category and reflecting on the consequences of deactivating and erasing race-, Canadian political scientists may become better equipped to interrogate the operating logic of identity-, to substantively incorporate race- as a conceptual, analytic and explanatory device, and perhaps most critically, begin to redefine the canon.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-193
Number of pages33
JournalCanadian Journal of Political Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar. 2011


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