• “However, even though I find much of this anti-essentialist-inspired analysis compelling, I nonetheless hope to illuminate two problems that arise when this form of criticism is uncritically wielded in the context of Indigenous peoples’ struggles for recognition and self-determination. First, using recent feminist and deliberative democratic critiques of Indigenous recognition politics as a backdrop, I demonstrate how normative appropriations of social constructivism can undercut the liberatory aspirations of anti-essentialist criticism by failing to adequately address the complexity of interlocking social relations that serve to exasperate the types of exclusionary cultural practices that critics of essentialism find so disconcerting. Second, and perhaps more problematically, I show that when constructivist views of culture are posited as a universal feature of social life and then used as a means to evaluate the legitimacy of Indigenous claims for cultural recognition against the uncontested authority of the colonial state, it can serve to sanction the very forms of domination and inequality that anti-essentialist criticism ought to mitigate.”

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