Politics is increasingly dominated by the 'struggle for recognition' – different social groups (genders, ethnic and religious groups, rural and urban dwellers) clamouring to be treated with respect and dignity in the eyes of others. Many feel forgotten, and they're increasingly angry about it. But identity politics is not going to peak with the election of Donald Trump or Brexit. In the coming years, digital technology could transform what it means to be disrespected or marginalised – with profound political consequences.
As Francis Fukuyama explains in his new book, at the heart of identity politics is the desire to be seen and treated by others as a person of equal moral worth. Above all, this requires the removal of legal regimes which wrongly prioritise certain social groups (like Jim Crow or the Nuremberg Laws); but it also means the demolition of the norms, values, habits, and manners that allow some to flourish while others are disrespected, abused, ignored, or attacked. (It is a sobering fact, for instance, that persons with disabilities are 2.5 times more likely to be the victims of violent crime.)