Collective Identity, Oppression, and the Right to Self-Ascription

Collective Identity, Oppression, and the Right to Self-Ascription

by Andrew J. Pierce


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Collective Identity, Oppression, and the Right to Self-Ascription by Andrew J. Pierce

Collective Identity, Oppression, and the Right to Self-Ascription argues that groups have an irreducibly collective right to determine the meaning of their shared group identity, and that such a right is especially important for historically oppressed groups. The author specifies this right by way of a modified discourse ethic, demonstrating that it can provide the foundation for a conception of identity politics that avoids many of its usual pitfalls. The focus throughout is on racial identity, which provides a test case for the theory. That is, it investigates what it would mean for racial identities to be self-ascribed rather than imposed, establishing the possible role racial identity might play in a just society. The book thus makes a unique contribution to both the field of critical theory, which has been woefully silent on issues of race, and to race theory, which often either presumes that a just society would be a raceless society, or focuses primarily on understanding existing racial inequalities, in the manner typical of so-called “non-ideal theory.”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780739190579
Publisher: Lexington Books
Publication date: 01/15/2014
Pages: 142
Product dimensions: 6.02(w) x 8.99(h) x 0.42(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Andrew J. Pierce is lecturer in the Philosophy Department at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Minority Cultures and Oppressed Groups: Competing Explanatory Frameworks
Chapter 2: Collective Identity, Group Rights, and the Liberal Tradition of Law
Chapter 3: Identity Politics Within the Limits of Deliberative Democracy
Chapter 4: The Future of Racial Identity: A Test Case

What People are Saying About This

David Ingram

Pierce's probing analysis of the limits and possibilities of current thinking about multiculturalism, race theory, and group rights is comprehensive, judicious, and thoroughly original. Elegantly written, it represents the first sustained application of critical theory and discourse theory to the most current analytic literature in the field, and the most exhaustive attempt hitherto undertaken to rethink a positive and legitimate conception of racial identity from that perspective.

Charles Mills

If mainstream liberal political philosophy now grudgingly recognizes cultural minorities as well as atomic individuals, it still balks at admitting the centrality of group oppression, and the corresponding ontology of subordinating and subordinated groups, to liberal polities. Racial oppression, for example, is displaced and obfuscated by a discourse of multiculturalism. In this brief but penetrating book, Andrew Pierce shows the theoretical inadequacy of multicultural liberalism for handling these issues. Instead he urges a redemptive reconstruction of identity politics within a modified Habermasian theory that excludes as illegitimate those racial identities predicated on the disrespect and exploitation of others. Synthesizing elements from the analytic and Continental political traditions, the result is a challenge to mainstream theory very much worth reading.

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