Indentity Politics Needs Some Class

To be determined
To be determined

Session Code: APS5
Session Format: Roundtable
Session Language: English
Research Cluster Affiliation: Applied Sociology
Session Categories: Roundtable

At some point, social class fell out of fashion. In Canada, class really never was in fashion save briefly for Porter’s (1965) landmark “The Vertical Mosaic.” Social stratification in Canada was consigned to fringes. The remnants are colonial class-based narratives: the myths of the classless society and American Dream, bootstrap dogmas, rags-to-riches fairytales and meritocracy-type tropes. The erasure of class led to the emergence of identity politics. Groups are homogenised irrespective of how social characteristics intersect to oppress, exclude and discriminate. This ‘social characteristic siloing’ is most evident in the uptake of status quo equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) mandates. That is, EDI designs based on the Canadian Federal Employment Equity Act’s four-pillar trend: Equity-seeking groups are categorised as Aboriginal peoples, women, members of visible minorities and people with disabilities. This is the case even though Canada is colonised based upon racism, sexism, ableism—and, classism. Colonial laws, legislation, policies and institutions are built on this intersecting —ism foundation. Yet, leaders continue to ignore classism when developing strategic plans to address systemic discrimination. However, masses lack the privilege to be able to ignore class (Sayer, 2002). The result? A swath is cut through the population: The underclass are disenfranchised, excluded and punished. This has always been the case; COVID-19 made this injustice more visible. This virtual roundtable session seeks to tackle class-based injustices. Presenters have lived experiences of class discrimination. They will share their academic, everyday and boots-on-the-ground work, use a range of methodologies and engage with diverse forms of knowledge mobilisation. This interactive session honours the mosaic of lived experiences, knowledges and ways of being. Participants will have the opportunity to learn why identity politics needs some class, so we can collectively address how class stratification tears at the fabric of families, communities and nations and EDI and decolonising efforts. Tags: Canadian Sociology, Equality and Inequality, Feminist Studies, Politics and Social Movements, Social Class

Organizers: Elaine J Laberge, University of Victoria, Jes Annan, University of Victoria, Chelsea Thomas, University of Victoria, Charity Slobod, University of Alberta