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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

The Perils of Identity

Group Rights and the Politics of Intragroup Difference

Many liberal theorists consider group identity claims a necessary condition of equality in Canada, but do these claims do more harm than good? To answer this question, Caroline Dick examines the identity-driven theories of Charles Taylor, Will Kymlicka, and Avigail Eisenberg in the context of Sawridge Band v. Canada, a case that sets a First Nation’s right to self-determination against Indigenous women’s right to equality. The concept of identity itself is not the problem, Dick argues, but rather the way in which prevailing conceptions of identity and group rights obscure intragroup differences. Her proposal for a new politics of intragroup difference has the power to transform rights discourse in Canada.

260 pages

Table of Contents



1 Gender Discrimination within First Nations: The History and Nature of the Sawridge Dispute

2 Group Rights and the Politics of Identity

3 Taylor’s Theory of Identity Recognition

4 Kymlicka’s Cultural Theory of Minority Rights

5 Eisenberg’s Theory of Identity-Related Interests

6 Culture, Identity, and the Constitutional Rights of Aboriginal Peoples

7 The Politics of Intragroup Difference

8 Sawridge Revisited





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