Identity in Democracy

Identity in Democracy

by Amy Gutmann
     
 

ISBN-10: 0691120404

ISBN-13: 9780691120409

Pub. Date: 08/16/2004

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Written by one of America's leading political thinkers, this is a book about the good, the bad, and the ugly of identity politics.Amy Gutmann rises above the raging polemics that often characterize discussions of identity groups and offers a fair-minded assessment of the role they play in democracies. She addresses fundamental questions of timeless urgency while

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Overview

Written by one of America's leading political thinkers, this is a book about the good, the bad, and the ugly of identity politics.Amy Gutmann rises above the raging polemics that often characterize discussions of identity groups and offers a fair-minded assessment of the role they play in democracies. She addresses fundamental questions of timeless urgency while keeping in focus their relevance to contemporary debates: Do some identity groups undermine the greater democratic good and thus their own legitimacy in a democratic society? Even if so, how is a democracy to fairly distinguish between groups such as the KKK on the one hand and the NAACP on the other? Should democracies exempt members of some minorities from certain legitimate or widely accepted rules, such as Canada's allowing Sikh members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to wear turbans instead of Stetsons? Do voluntary groups like the Boy Scouts have a right to discriminate on grounds of sexual preference, gender, or race?

Identity-group politics, Gutmann shows, is not aberrant but inescapable in democracies because identity groups represent who people are, not only what they want—and who people are shapes what they demand from democratic politics. Rather than trying to abolish identity politics, Gutmann calls upon us to distinguish between those demands of identity groups that aid and those that impede justice. Her book does justice to identity groups, while recognizing that they cannot be counted upon to do likewise to others.

Clear, engaging, and forcefully argued, Amy Gutmann's Identity in Democracy provides the fractious world of multicultural and identity-group scholarship with a unifying work that will sustain it for years to come.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691120409
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
08/16/2004
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
941,266
Product dimensions:
5.74(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.63(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Identity Politics1
Ch. 1The Claims of Cultural Identity Groups38
Ch. 2The Value of Voluntary Groups86
Ch. 3Identification by Ascription117
Ch. 4Is Religious Identity Special?151
Conclusion: Integrating Identity in Democracy192
Notes213
Index235

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