Nancy Leong


The intense legal and social preoccupation with the appearance of diversity and nondiscrimination both reflects and reinforces a process I call “identity capitalism.” Through that process, ingroup individuals and ingroup-dominated institutions derive value from outgroup identity. This process results in the commodification of outgroup identity, with negative consequences for both outgroup members and society. Outgroup members actively participate in the process of identity capitalism in various ways. In particular, they leverage their outgroup membership to derive social and economic value for themselves. I call such outgroup participants “identity entrepreneurs.” In this essay, I apply the framework of identity entrepreneurship to the notion of dissent within outgroups and discuss the different ways in which such dissent serves to leverage identity.