Identity in Democracy

Identity in Democracy

by Amy Gutmann
     
 

"Even though identity is a big subject these days, the role of identity in democratic politics has received far too little critical attention. It tends to get either indiscriminate praise as a route to self-realization and to group justice, or derogatory dismissal as a vehicle of prejudice and partiality, or radical neglect as a poor relation of group interest. Amy

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Overview

"Even though identity is a big subject these days, the role of identity in democratic politics has received far too little critical attention. It tends to get either indiscriminate praise as a route to self-realization and to group justice, or derogatory dismissal as a vehicle of prejudice and partiality, or radical neglect as a poor relation of group interest. Amy Gutmann's book provides a splendid scrutiny of this rich and diverse terrain, ending with a coherent and integrated understanding of the role of identity groups in democratic politics. We have reasons to be grateful."—Amartya Sen, Trinity College, 1998 Nobel Laureate in Economics

"For anyone who believes that identity politics is just identity politics, this timely book will be a revelation. Comprehensive and full of brilliant insight, it remains always accessible as it puts identity politics through its philosophical paces, revealing along the way its indispensability to all politics, to 'civic equality, liberty, and opportunity'—to democracy itself."—Claude Steele, Stanford University

"Amy Gutmann has an unusual—and extremely valuable—ability to take large, contentious subjects and discuss them calmly, lucidly, and imaginatively. The politics of identity and culture easily arouse violent passions even in academia, but this book shows that it is possible to argue toughly and to reach firm conclusions without once resorting to name-calling. I doubt that even one of her readers will agree with all of Gutmann's conclusions—but they will all have to take account of the wealth of empirical evidence and stringent reasoning in this book."—Alan Ryan, Oxford University

"Like all of Gutmann's work, this book is very well written, clear, convincing, and most of all a pleasure to read. It will become a must for those interested in democracy and human rights as well as in identity group politics and the status of minorities, and will therefore draw the attention of large audiences."—Yael Tamir, Tel-Aviv University, author of Liberal Nationalism

"Identity in Democracy is marked by all of the scholarly virtues to which Amy Gutmann has accustomed her readers. It is a sensible and humane work by a theorist who has no particular theoretical axe to grind, aside from the laudable concern to spell out principles that will allow individuals and liberal democratic societies to benefit optimally from associational life while avoiding some of its seamier aspects."—Daniel Weinstock, University of Montreal

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691120409
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
08/16/2004
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
1,085,542
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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