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.” Identity entrepreneurship is neither inherently good nor inherently bad. Rather, I view identity entrepreneurship as a complicated phenomenon with both positive and negative consequences.
In this essay, I apply the framework of identity entrepreneurship to the notion of dissent within outgroups. Such dissent can take many forms. Here I examine two. First, I consider how outgroup members can leverage outgroup identity by minimizing outgroup associations — what I call “dissenting in” — by engaging in identity performances and adopting attitudes that distance themselves from the outgroup and associate them more closely with the ingroup. Second, I consider how outgroup members can leverage outgroup identity — what I call “dissenting out” — by engaging in identity performances and adopting attitudes that distance themselves from both the ingroup and the outgroup simultaneously. This theoretical grounding lays the foundation for a future examination of the ways that legal doctrines should treat dissenting in and dissenting out.In the US another instance of data breach - this one reportedly involving up to 40 million cards via malware on devices at the Target's 1,797 stores - has resulted in litigation in Massachusetts, Florida, Oregon, Washington, California, Illinois and Minnesota. The litigants argue that the retailer failed to notify them of the breach (involving credit card numbers, names, expiration dates and security codes) before it was first reported in the mass media and did not "maintain reasonable security procedures" to prevent the loss.