The Disidentified Subject: On the Critique of the Critique of Identity Politics (GER)

With surprising regularity, German journalism discovers ‘identity politics’ as a present-day problem, but has difficulty in two respects to give a precise description of what makes this form of politics a problem. On the one hand, the critique tends to frame ‘identity’ as a very recent category and thus ignores both the now considerable tradition of identity politics approaches and the long tradition and provenance of its own criticism. On the other hand, the critique must understand the relationship to the identity categories in the forms of politics it objects to as sharply different from ‘normal’ or ‘traditional’ forms of politics. This form of critique can be found across the political spectrum. For example, it can be just as effective from a left-wing perspective as from a liberal one. There is something self-understood about it in both German and US discourses: hardly anyone says affirmatively that they are pursuing identity politics. It is rather the others who are identarian.
But what happens if, on the one hand, we connect the history of identity-political discourses and the long history of their critique? It is an astonishingly persistent language game that hardly seems to be aware of its own persistence. So, what can we learn from this history and its sheer length? What, on the other hand, does the desire to distinguish objectionable forms of politics that operate via identity categories from others, that at first glance, function very similarly but seem miraculously exempt from such critique say about the understanding of politics and the public?