Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Teo

Essentialism, Overview

  • Todd Dubose
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5583-7_649


Within various disciplines, the issue of essentialism arises when clarity of identity and belonging to a collective are called for or threatened, such as in recognitions, protections, or refutations of essentialist criteria for gender, sexual orientation, race, developmental norms, and other concerns.


Essentialism is the denoting of nonnegotiable qualities that identify or make a thing, person, encounter, or event what it is and not something else.


Essentialism; multiculturalism; haecceity; identity; difference; universals; nominalism; existentialism


The history of essentialist thinking reaches back thousands of years as the search for permanence and absolutes related to the sacred in counter-distinction from the profane in various religious traditions, more often than not aligning the sacred with that which was immutable and the profane with non-essentialist qualities such as mutability, impurity, relativity, and penultimate specificity...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Chicago School of Professional PsychologyChicagoUSA