Conservatism in a Divided America

  • The Right and Identity Politics

  • by George Hawley

  • 368 pages, 6.00 x 9.00

  • Hardcover | 9780268203740 | November 2022

  • eBook (Web PDF) | 9780268203764 | November 2022

  • eBook (EPUB) | 9780268203733 | November 2022


George Hawley, who has written extensively on conservatism and right-wing ideologies in the U.S., presents a telling portrait of conservatism’s relationship with identity politics.

The American conservative movement has consistently declared its opposition to all forms of identity politics, arguing that such a form of politics is at odds with individualism. In this persuasive study, George Hawley examines the nature of identity politics in the United States: how conservatives view and understand it, how they embrace their own versions of identity, and how liberal and conservative intellectuals and politicians navigate this equally dangerous and potentially explosive landscape.

Hawley begins his analysis with a synopsis of the variety both of conservative critiques of identity politics and of conservative explanations for how it has come to define America’s current political terrain. This historical account of differing conservative approaches to identitarian concerns from the post-war era until today—including race, gender, and immigration—foregrounds conservatism’s lack of consistency in its critiques and ultimately its failure to provide convincing arguments against identity politics. Hawley explores the political right’s own employment of identity politics, particularly in relation to partisan politics, and highlights how party identification in the United States has become a leading source of identity on both sides of the political spectrum. Hawley also discusses this generation’s iteration of American white nationalism, the Alt-Right, from whose rise and fall conservatism may develop a more honest, realistic, and indeed relevant approach to identity politics. Conservatism in a Divided America examines sensitive subjects from a dispassionate, fair-minded approach that will appeal to readers across the ideological divide. The book will interest scholars in and enthusiasts of political theory and psychology, American history, and U.S. electoral politics.