Identity Politics, the Ethos of Vulnerability, and Education

Leena-Maija Rossi, Kristiina Brunila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


In this article, identity politics is understood as a form of politics stressing collective but malleable group identities as the basis of political action. This notion of identity politics also allows thinking of identity as intersectional. The focus of this article, and a problem related to identity politics, is that when discussed in the context of the neoliberal order, identity politics has a tendency to become harnessed by the ethos of vulnerability. Some implications of the ‘vulnerabilizisation’ are considered in the field of education, which is a field currently thoroughly affected by neoliberalism. Therefore, it is also important to look closer at the relationship between identity politics and the ethos of vulnerability. In addition, we re-consider poststructuralist thinking as a theoretical and political approach to see what it can offer in terms of re-thinking identity politics and in analyzing the ethos of vulnerability. When categories of vulnerability keep expanding into various psycho-emotional vulnerabilities defining subjects that can be known and spoken about, it is crucial to ask whether we regard these changes as educationally and politically progressive. The article discusses some problematic policies in educational environments and the phenomenon of trigger warnings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-298
JournalEducational Philosophy and Theory
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 22 Dec 2017
MoEC publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Education
  • identity politics
  • identity
  • trigger warnings

Field of science

  • Multidisciplinary
  • General and teacher education


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