This paper critiques the deployment of the term “identity politics” in Canadian political science. Through a critical discourse analysis (CDA) of research articles in leading English language academic journals in the Canadian social sciences, we examine whose politics are labelled identity politics and what intellectual work transpires through this label. Identity politics tends to be applied to scholarship that foregrounds analyses of ethnicity, race and gender, but with a lack of analytical rigour, indicating a degree of conceptual looseness. Moreover, the designation identity politics is not neutral; it is often mobilized as a rhetorical device to distance authors from scholarship that foregrounds analyses of ethnicity, race and gender, and to inscribe a materialist/culturalist divide in claims-making. We argue that the effect of this demarcation of identity from politics is to control the boundaries of political discourse, limiting who and what gains entry into the political. This serves to reassert an exclusionary conception of Canadian identity.