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Afghanistan Solvency– Women....................................................................................................2 ME is inherently violent................................................................................................................4 The clash of civilizations thesis assumes much about Muslim attitudes toward the rise of a global society, and it may exaggerate the fundamental nature of perceived incompatibilities between Muslim and Western culture. Consequently, the danger of a self-fulfilling prophecy exists with regard to Islam and the global community in that the presumed gulf between cultures may well be realized if those presumptions harden attitudes between Islamic nations and the rest of the world. Thus, while several conflicts such as the IsraeliPalestinian quagmire can be traced to particular historical, political, and geographical circumstances, future global conflicts could arise without any such justification. The mere existence of misperceptions between Islam and the West may be sufficient to inflame hatred and precipitate conflict. ................................................................................................................5 A/T Said– Orientalism makes Empire Inevitable.......................................................................6 ID P-TIX Rely on Essentialism.....................................................................................................7 ID P-TIX Inevitable.......................................................................................................................9 A/T ID P-TIX don’t matter.........................................................................................................12

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Afghanistan Solvency– Women
No Solvency for Afghanistan– Conceptions of identity politics leaves out womyn. Decolonizing does not solve cultural norms that rip womyn’s identity between the state and rebellion. Bond ‘03
(Joanna E., Visiting Associate Professor of Law and Assistant Director, International Women's Human Rights Clinic, Georgetown University Law Center, “INTERNATIONAL INTERSECTIONALITY: A THEORETICAL AND PRAGMATIC EXPLORATION OF WOMEN'S INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS”, Emory Law Journal, LEXIS NEXIS. Winter 2003) Essential difference allows those who rely on it to rest reassuringly on its gamut of fixed notions. Any mutation in identity, in essence, in regularity, and even in physical place poses a problem, if not a threat, in terms of classification and control. If you can't locate the other, how are you to locate yourself? n1 Ardent identity politics dominate the world stage. As Afghanistan struggles to overcome Taliban rule, the international community attempts to help rebuild a nation torn apart by violent ethnic clashes. n2 Recent eruptions of violence between the Hindu majority and the Muslim minority in the Indian state of Gujarat have focused international attention on communal conflicts in the region. n3 In both cases, and many more like them, women's bodies become [*72] one of the primary sites for contested national identity. In Afghanistan, the struggle for nationalist identity violated women's international human rights through extreme forms of seclusion, isolation, and violence. n4 In Gujarat, the religious conflict led to large-scale rape and murder. n5 In addition to the violence visited on women as a result of extreme nationalism around the world, women in such situations are also often forced to choose between nationalist struggles and struggles to achieve gender equality. Identity politics, as popularly conceived, leave no room for women to situate themselves at the crossroads of both struggles and lead to oversimplified notions of women's identity. Although feminists in the global South have criticized this understanding of women's identity as one-dimensional and static, the international human rights community has largely failed to explore the impact of such identity politics on women's human rights around the world. The international human rights community has, in fact, relied on its own permutation of a unified, monolithic identity for women, which has led to a myopic approach to women's human rights that fails to address complex forms of human rights violations. The international human rights community n6 has, in recent years, expanded its definition of human rights violations to include many of the human rights abuses commonly perpetrated against women. n7 Although this expansion represents significant progress for the world's women, the movement has consistently relied on a rigid, unitary category of "women." With the exception of some voices from the global South, the international women's human rights community's focus on "women" to the exclusion of other identity categories, such as ethnicity, race, n8 class, religion, and sexual orientation, has [*73] resulted in a limited understanding of women's human rights. One explanation for this is that, like the domestic women's rights movement in the United States, the international women's human rights movement began by focusing on perceived "shared experience" in an effort to maximize support for the movement. Only in the last few years have activists begun to critically examine whether the international women's human rights movement, as currently understood, can accommodate a complex, nuanced understanding of human rights violations. n9 The predominant narrow, relatively static notion of women's human rights does not adequately reflect the experience of women within minority racial or ethnic communities, lesbians, disabled women, or other women who may experience discrimination or human rights violations as a result of both gender and another ground. n10 In 1998, for example, members of the Indonesian ethnic majority raped a number of ethnically Chinese women who constitute an ethnic minority in Indonesia. n11 These women suffered human rights violations, including death threats and rape, based simultaneously on their gender and ethnicity. The international community, however, largely failed to recognize abuses such as these as products of both racism and sexism. [*74] The international human rights community historically has not responded to such human rights violations as both violations of rights related to race or ethnicity and gender. "Neither the gender aspects of racial discrimination nor the racial aspects of gender discrimination are fully comprehended within human rights

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discourses." n12 This is due to both the theoretical framework of human rights and the fragmented structure of human rights organizations and institutions, which divide responsibility for addressing human rights along rigid substantive lines separating, for example, race and gender. n13 Indeed, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights observed, "The United Nations, governments, inter-governmental and nongovernmental organizations have often addressed racial and gender discrimination as two separate problems, leaving women faced by multiple forms of discrimination unsure of where to turn for redress." n14 The current theoretical foundations, organizational structure, and practice of the United Nations and many nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) does not permit a nuanced human rights analysis that would account for multiple forms of human rights abuses occurring simultaneously.

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ME is inherently violent
Burkean realists assert that some societies are inherently violent. The Middle East is one of those societies, consolidating and reconciling identity will not solve. Anderson ‘07
(Kenneth, Professor of Law, Washington College of Law, American University, and Research Fellow, the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, “Review Essay: Goodbye to All That? A Requiem for Neoconservatism”, American University International Law Review, LEXIS NEXIS) Fukuyama's is not the ugly, near-racist argument of "lesser breeds without the Law." n21 Fukuyama's argument might be unfairly caricatured as that; in any case, it is a position George W. Bush has repeatedly and forthrightly assailed, declaring flatly that the desire for liberty and the dream of freedom are universal and not merely a Western birthright - only to be ridiculed and scorned, however, by supposedly "liberal" elites in America and Europe for his arguments on behalf of liberal universal values - arguments that, once upon a time, they themselves would have made. Yet we stand in a difficult position today in which calls for a new realism in foreign policy, as against neoconservatism, must walk a very fine line between two closely related claims. The first is the Burkean assertion that although most individuals, most people, most places, indeed have what Bush calls a universal desire for freedom and perhaps even for democracy, not all societies, as collectivities, possess the historical evolution and social conditions necessary to bring that about - even allowing for great differences in what those terms mean in concrete historical and social circumstances. The second is the belief - often [*292] unexpressed, but equally often lying just beneath the surface of contemporary foreign policy debates - that some people, some peoples, are just incapable of liberty or democracy or self-government of any kind, now and likely forever - to wit, the Arabs. The line between acknowledging the Burkean constraints of culture, including religious culture, upon politics, on the one hand, and cultural essentialism of a very unattractive kind, on the other, is a very thin one. But Fukuyama's Burkeanism is not strictly a realist argument - it is, rather, a quintessentially realist caution upon moralist action, a caution that Fukuyama is quite right to say is precisely what neoconservatives in U.S. domestic policy have typically said to their blindly idealist liberal counterparts, eager to remake, revise, and reorder society without thought to the flooding forces they might inadvertently set in motion, the consequences of social incentives and disincentives that they cannot now foresee. And its Burkeanism entails not only the recognition that liberal democracy results from particular long-term social and cultural matrices that are not immediately enactable through, for example, mere elections - it is also the recognition that democracy itself is frankly a fragile social condition even where it exists, and that its underlying conditions can be destroyed far more quickly than they can be created. It is a deeply conservative critique of neoconservatism - exogenously Burkean while endogenously pointing to a profound contradiction within neoconservative moral assumptions. It is not precisely realist in the sense of narrow national interest or mere state stability alone; it is, instead, the position of a moral realist. It is, in fact, an important critique precisely because it is so, well, neoconservative.

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Middle East Violence is inevitable. The extreme social displacement of the Middle East does NOT allow for decolonization. The Middle East is stuck in the social placement of the Apocalypse which does not allow for space to decolonize. Margulies ‘04
(Peter. Professor of Law, Roger Williams University, “Making "Regime Change" Multilateral: The War On Terror And Transitions To Democracy”, Denver Journal of International Law and Policy, Summer 2004 LEXIS NEXIS) The role of trauma is evident in the way the tragic events of September 11 contributed to some Americans' sense of their own identity as a people embattled in a hostile world. The experience of displacement has also been constitutive for a broad range of other groups, including African-Americans, n28 Jews, n29 and Palestinians, n30 each fashioning narratives of hope and resistance. For Arabs and Muslims throughout the globe, the Palestinian experience in particular has been a compelling metaphor for threats posed by the West. n31 Media technology makes instances of trauma or perceived disparate treatment, such as the attacks of September 11 against the United States by Al Qaeda, the Israeli government's measures against alleged Palestinian militants, or the United States military's causing of civilian casualties during the war in Iraq, immediately available, graphic, and vivid. n32 The "social comparisons" fueled by such images can spur change for better or worse. Identification with a group, coupled with the perception that the treatment accorded that group is unfair or unjustified, impels people to take action. n33 Human history and experience teach us, however, that intuitions about equity and fairness can all too easily degenerate into envy, resentment, and rage. n34 Particularly when a group within a society or region that is dominant in terms of numbers, culture, or historical pedigree feels threatened by those perceived as outsiders, social comparisons [*395] can fuel murderous and even genocidal hatred. n35 Where social identity and social comparison go, social capital soon emerges. Social capital is the constellation of groups, networks, and organizations that help provide the infrastructure for action. n36 Social identity and social comparison can skew social capital in either positive or negative ways. For example, profound feelings of powerlessness can turn networks toward self-destructive and risk-prone behavior. n37 When the future looks bleak, many people refuse to invest time and effort in building long-term institutions. Instead they adopt an apocalyptic perspective, creating a vacuum between today and eternity. n38 This is the temporal domain of the suicide bomber. Suicide bombings and other acts of coordinated violence require social capital of a special kind. n39 Discipline and coordination are necessary to construct munitions, select a target, avoid detection, and execute an attack. n40 Unfortunately, this brand of social capital is not readily transferable to the construction of institutions that nurture democracy and the rule of law.

Violence between the West and Islam is inevitable as long as there is misunderstanding McDaniel ‘03
(Charles, J.M. Dawson Institute, Baylor University, “Islam and the Global Society: A Religious Approach to Modernity”, Brigham Young University Law Review, 2003, LEXIS NEXIS) The clash of civilizations thesis assumes much about Muslim attitudes toward the rise of a global society, and it may exaggerate the fundamental nature of perceived incompatibilities between Muslim and Western culture. Consequently, the danger of a self-fulfilling prophecy exists with regard to Islam and the global community in that the presumed gulf between cultures may well be realized if those presumptions harden attitudes between Islamic nations and the rest of the world. Thus, while several conflicts such as the Israeli-Palestinian quagmire can be traced to particular historical, political, and geographical circumstances, future global conflicts could arise without any such justification. The mere existence of misperceptions between Islam and the West may be sufficient to inflame hatred and precipitate conflict.

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A/T Said– Orientalism makes Empire Inevitable
Increased knowledge and understanding of different cultures allows the imperialist machine access to the tools of domination. The West will use the new knowledge to formulate new empire. Olmsted ‘05
(Matthew, Assistant Attorney General for the Federated States of Micronesia. “Are Things Falling Apart? Rethinking the Purpose and Function of International Law”, Loyola of Los Angeles International & Comparative Law Review, Summer 2005 LEXIS NEXIS) But Orientalism's use of binomial norms does more than provide the West with a superior self-image. When combined with another hegemonic discourse - the global economic expansion - it also provides ""the necessary furniture of Empire.'" n170 It accomplishes this in at least three ways. First, Orientalism's particularizing, systematizing, and essentializing techniques supply Western imperialists with the knowledge necessary to grasp an entity, like the Orient, that is otherwise impossibly diffuse. n171 Paraphrasing Lord Evelyn Cromer, Said writes that "knowledge of subject races or Orientals is what makes their management easy and profitable; knowledge gives power, more power requires more knowledge, and so on in an increasingly profitable dialectic of information and control." n172 Second, by dividing mankind into the categories of "Oriental" or "Occidental," it is possible to believe that for the Oriental, "liberation, self-expression, and self-enlargement were not the issues they were for the Occidental." n173 This permits the imperialists to commit themselves to liberal ideals at home, while disregarding such ideals when engaging in conquest. Finally, Orientalism's normative distinctions provide imperialism with a universal and moral purpose. Whether called the "White Man's Burden" (e.g., Britain a la Rudyard Kipling), "Manifest Destiny" (e.g., United States), or "mission civilizatrice" (e.g., France), the important thing is "to turn the appetite for more geographical space into a theory about the special relationship between geography on the one hand and civilized and uncivilized peoples on the other." n174 Said explores this issue further in Culture [*432] and Imperialism, arguing that imperialism's accumulation of land is propelled by the ideological notion that certain people require domination. n175

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ID P-TIX Rely on Essentialism
ID Politics uses essentialization to locate primary identity. This Destroys individual political agency. Millner ‘05
(Michael, no quals given, “Post Post-Identity”, Project Muse, American Quarterly, p.541-554 Google Scholar) Michaels has been for the last decade finding just about everyone wrong— conservative, liberal, and left—when it comes to identity. His well-known 1995 book, Our America: Nativism, Modernism, and Pluralism, argued that 1990s post-identity theory never escaped the essentializing that it claimed to escape. In other words, if you thought that by understanding identity as performative, contingent, and cultural rather than physical, biological, and genetic, you were avoiding the problems of essentialism (its ahistoricism, inalterability, and legacy of racism), you are wrong. In Our America’s view, it doesn’t matter whether identity is understood as biologically fixed or culturally performative—both understandings require an essentializing move because “it is only once we know who we are”—that is, know something beyond performativity—“that we will be able to tell what we should do”—that is, know what we should perform.5 The question of who we are (the essentializing question) is still always prior to the question of what we perform. Our America made this critique of 1990s revisionist approaches to identity in a somewhat indirect manner: by reading an array of nativist American texts, both well known and long forgotten, from the 1920s, and arguing that the logic of these nativist works is parallel with 1990s post-identity logic. Michaels made this case through a series of dazzling, close readings of the nativist-modernist texts— he is among the most brilliant close readers at work in the academy—and a crystalline, aggressive, argumentative mode that might be called syllogistic: if you think this, and if you believe that, then you must also conclude this. The conclusions are always surprising, often devious—reversals of conventional wisdom. Unaccountably, however, Michaels in Our America only glancingly engages those thinkers he is criticizing—the most sophisticated post-identity theorists of the 1990s—and never addresses the ways the deployment of an identitarian discourse transformed the post-1960s political landscape.6 These unexplained gaps, combined with the circuitous critique of 1990s identity politics through 1920s nativism and an emphasis on de-historicized structural logics, made Our America problematically hermetic, sealed off from the pragmatic, historical, and political workings of identity, as several reviewers observed. Eric Lott granted that Michaels may well be right—that the politics of identity relies on essentialism—but in Lott’s view this observation shouldn’t be understood as disabling. After all, as Lott notes, for movements that mobilize identity, it’s not the identity—as essentializing and logically incoherent as it may be—that matters most—it’s the politics.7 Robyn Wiegman made a similar criticism: “What use is it to say that identity makes no sense without engaging how and why identity has been mobilized in the first place?” “Michaels demonstrates little interest,” Wiegman reiterates, “in reading racialist [that is, identitarian] logic as part of the broader conversation about the complexities— historical, economic, political—that identity has tried to speak for.”8 Our America was surely susceptible to such critiques, and, in many ways, Michaels’s more recent book, The Shape of the Signifier, is a response to them, but a response that will further incite Michaels’s critics rather than satisfy them. In the new book, Michaels does engage much more extensively with 1990s theoretical post-identitarian work (Judith Butler, Norma Alarcon, Donna Haraway, Christopher Newfield, Avery Gordon, Michael Hardt, and Antonio Negri, among others). He also addresses recent mobilizations of identitarian cultural politics (most centrally the debates over reparations for slavery and the Holocaust). But while The Shape of the Signifier does pay some notice to contemporary deployments of cultural identity in the public sphere, it is still most concerned with the problematic of identity, as if Michaels is saying one may well seek to understand what identity has produced by examining its recent history (in, say, political activism, university curriculums, the law, or governmental policy), but to understand what it has not produced—to understand its limits—analysis of its logics is called for. If the point of Our America was to show the incoherence of post-identity’s anti-essentialist logic (“it makes no sense” [142], as the final clause of Our America puts it), the point of The Shape of the Signifier is much more grand: it is that the logic of post-identity is not only inconsistent and essentialist, but that it in fact undermines identity’s political efficacy. The crux of Michaels’s argument is that the commitment to identity is always about a commitment to subject position (or point-of-view or perspective, as he also calls it). Michaels makes this claim by turning to an astonishingly diverse array of sources, ranging from political science to science fiction, from graphic novels to the contemporary gothic, from photography to philosophy (all of the last thirty or so years)— Francis Fukuyama, Samuel Huntington, Toni Morrison, Leslie Marmon Silko, Judith Butler, Octavia Butler, Kim Stanley Robinson, Art Spiegelman, Richard Rorty, Slavoj ˇ Ziˇzek, Cindy Sherman, James Welling, among many others—who in Michaels’s view share this commitment to subject positionality no matter how

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they think about identity (as fixed or fluid, as performative or species-based—even as geological, as is the case with some deep ecology positions). Michaels has a great deal of fun showing what strange bedfellows follow: for instance, Morrison shares an allegiance to the subject position with Huntington, Silko with Fukuyama, ˇ Ziˇzek with Arthur Schlesinger Jr., and (Michaels wants us to believe) Judith Butler with George W. Bush. Michaels’s point with these pairings is that all politics is now the politics of the subject position, which is to say, the politics of identity. In turn, he’s not interested in siding with Huntington or Morrison, the right side or the left side of the axis; rather, Michaels’s argument’s aim is to “attack the axis” (33) itself.

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ID P-TIX Inevitable
Identity is inevitable, the ability to use identity for political agency is not. Political group competition precedes individual identity. Wenman ‘03
(Mark Anthony, Staffordshire University, “What is Politics? The Approach of Radical Pluralism”, Politics: 2003 Vol 1. P.57-65, Google Scholar) The theoretical suppositions of conventional pluralism are perhaps best laid out in Polsby (1963) and Truman (1962). Politics is conceived as competition between a plurality of organised ‘interest groups’ or ‘pressure groups’ to influence the outcome of executive decisions (Polsby, 1963, pp. 118 and 121; Truman, 1962, p. vii). These ‘interested groups’ are conceived as coalitions of citizens that have ‘shared attitudes’ towards particular prevailing issues (Polsby, 1963, p. 115; Truman, 1962, p. 33). It is important to note that political competition is presumed to take place between social entities – interest groups – whose identity is taken as given. The actual constitution of the identity of these social groupings is of no concern to the student of politics. This is effectively excluded from the arena of politics, and is explained as the inevitable outcome of the individual’s capacity for ‘rational action’ (Polsby, 1963, p. 120). It should also be noted that political competition is understood to take place within certain ‘rules of the game’ (Truman, 1962, p. 507). These are also treated as given, and therefore beyond the scope of political adjudication.

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Identity changes as political climate changes. As the climate changes violence will follow as a result of Identity change. This is inevitable. Wenman ‘03
(Mark Anthony, Staffordshire University, “What is Politics? The Approach of Radical Pluralism”, Politics: 2003 Vol 1. P.57-65, Google Scholar) Because the other is experienced as both the condition of possibility and impossibility of my identity, this experience is one of antagonism. As Laclau and Mouffe put it: ‘the presence of the “Other” prevents me from being totally myself’ (Laclau and Mouffe, 1985, p. 125). In the approach of radical pluralism, the political qua antagonism is conceived as an event that takes place between intrinsically relational entities because the necessary presence of each prevents either from ever achieving complete identity. The political is an ontological dimension of each and every identity, because ‘it’ is constituted in and through its necessarily antagonistic relations with diverse others. In his contribution to this journal Burns equates the ‘poststructuralist relational view of power’ with the idea that politics requires the presence of at least two human beings (Burns, 2000, p. 97). This is incorrect. As Derrida has emphasised, we should resist equating the who? of the other with the human (Derrida, 1995, pp. 269 and 277). The other that I confront is literally ‘other’, that which is alien and outside. The other that I confront at any given time may be animal, vegetable or mineral. The radically pluralist conception of the political can explain the hypothetical situation of Crusoe and his relationship to his desert island – that Burns invokes to illustrate the pervasiveness of politics – although for most of us most of the time identity is formed in relation to diverse human and non-human others. As Connolly puts it: ‘each identity is fated to contend – to various degrees and in multifarious ways – with others it depends on to enunciate itself. That’s politics, the issue is not if but how’ (Connolly, 1993, p. 28). An example drawn from recent political practice may help to explicate this difficult theorisation. In the demonstrations in Seattle, Gothenburg, Prague, Genoa, and elsewhere against the (alleged) mischief of the World Trade Organisation, the EU, the G8, the IMF and the World Bank, many campaigners have styled themselves as ‘anti-capitalists’. These campaigners have been relatively successful in their objective to draw the world’s attention to their cause, and to disrupt the meetings of these various organisations. However, in the highly unlikely event that the ‘anti-capitalists’ manage to overthrow the ‘capitalist system’ as such, they would not in any way realise their full identity. Instead, by annulling the ‘other’ that is constitutive of their identity as a political movement – i.e. the ‘capitalist system’ – they would annul that identity. The continuing antagonistic relationship of the ‘anti-capitalists’ to the ‘system’ that they wish to overthrow is therefore paradoxically the condition of possibility of their being. On the other hand, the defiant protestations of the campaigners are a reminder to the so-called ‘political’ officials and management gurus of the IMF and the World Bank that their ideology of ‘free’ trade also has its constitutive outside. This is the suffering of entire populations who are systematically excluded from the benefits of economic growth, and also the wanton destruction of the environment that the protesters seek to re-present and to transgress.

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Hegemony makes political struggle constant. Exclusion will be inevitable. Wenman ‘03
(Mark Anthony, Staffordshire University, “What is Politics? The Approach of Radical Pluralism”, Politics: 2003 Vol 1. P.57-65, Google Scholar) In contrast to the empiricism of conventional pluralism (see for example Dahl, 1958, pp. 463–469), radical pluralists tend to be explicitly concerned with the links between the descriptive and the prescriptive dimensions of political analysis, with the interface between politics and ethics. This brings radical pluralism close to the traditional concerns of political philosophy. However, for radical pluralists the ‘good’ is always politically constructed and contextually specific. Ethical concerns never entirely escape politics. There is no moral or ethical de-contextualised ‘universality’, whether of an Aristotelian, Kantian, or Utilitarian inspiration. I will show that Connolly and Mouffe’s approaches to the question of the ethicopolitical are distinct but complementary. In her more recent work Mouffe emphasises the potentially disastrous implications of political antagonism. This she effects through persistent references to the work of Carl Schmitt. According to Schmitt the ‘criterion’ of the political is the ‘friend and enemy antithesis’ (Schmitt, 1996, p. 28). Schmitt conceptualises the political as antagonism. What characterises his approach, however, is the emphasis on the ‘ever present possibility’ of ‘actual physical killing’ (Schmitt, 1996, pp. 32–33). For Mouffe the purpose of good politics is to defuse the potentially disastrous implications of political antagonism (Mouffe, 2000, p. 101). Antagonism may be ineradicable but it is not irreducible. What is at stake in the struggle for the ethico-political is the hegemonic struggle to articulate ‘a common political identity of persons’ (Mouffe, 1993a, p. 82). The struggle for hegemony is the struggle to create a political community of citizens. This is a community that transforms antagonism into ‘agonism’ (Mouffe, 2000, p. 103). This is an ethico-political community because ‘within the context of the political community the opponent should be considered not as an enemy to be destroyed, but as an adversary whose existence is legitimate and must be tolerated’ (Mouffe, 1993b, p. 82). Agonistic citizens meet – paradoxically – as ‘friendly enemies’ (Mouffe, 2000, p. 13). As David Marsh has recognised, what is at stake here is the struggle to establish the ‘rules of the game’ which the conventional pluralists naïvely took as given (Marsh, 1998, p. 6). However, given the previous analysis, it is clear that this ethico-political community will have been constructed on the basis of some constitutive exclusion. The rules of the game will always be only partially complete, and subject to the possibility of dissolution through hegemonic political struggle.

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A/T ID P-TIX don’t matter
ID should be explored and constantly challenged to solve the “other” Wenman ‘03
(Mark Anthony, Staffordshire University, “What is Politics? The Approach of Radical Pluralism”, Politics: 2003 Vol 1. P.57-65, Google Scholar) Once identities are seen as inessential and intrinsically relational, we can appreciate that all social identities are constituted and transformed through political practice. To repeat, for conventional pluralists ‘interest groups’ enter the arena of politics with fixed and essential identity. For radical pluralists on the other hand politics is coextensive with ‘the social’. Social identities do not exist prior to the moment of politics. Politics – in its multifarious practices – is the very means by which the multiplicity of social identities are perpetually formed and reformed. Consequently, as Ernesto Laclau puts it: ‘social identity is an act of power and identity as such is power’ (Laclau, 1990, p. 31). Mouffe and Connolly use the terms ‘articulation’ and ‘enactment’ respectively to describe this political process of identity formation/reformation (Mouffe, 1993a, p. 83; Connolly 1995a, p. xiv and p. xxi). Contra the conventional pluralists, politics cannot be separated off as a distinct sphere of social activity: politics is ubiquitous. This approach allows for the theorisation of a host of contemporary political struggles that may have nothing to do directly with the development of ‘public policy’. For example, radical pluralism can explicate the politics of cultural and life-style differences associated with various forms of counter-culture, the micro-politics of superordination and subordination within the family, or the subtle shifts of power relations in and between various actors within the school or the workplace. These forms of politics (amongst many others) require analysis of the manner in which language (for example) and cultural codes more generally are articulated in ways which perhaps seek to challenge existing constellations of identity, and to bring alternative relations of identity into being. For the radical pluralist this is the material of politics.

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