Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny Hardcover – 3 Aug 2006
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'Identity and Violence' is a moving, powerful essay about the mischief of bad ideas. -- The Economist, August 13, 2006
Identity and Violence is a book both rich in ideas and easy to read, a model of its kind. -- Anthony Daniels, The Spectator, 29 July, 2006
Impassioned, eloquent and often moving -- John Gray, The Guardian, August 5th 2006
One of the few world intellectuals on whom we may rely to make sense out of our existential confusion. -- Nadine Gordimer
The world's poor and dispossessed could have no more articulate or insightful a champion. -- Kofi Annan
About the Author
Amartya Sen is Lamont University Professor at Harvard. He won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1998 and was Master of Trinity College, Cambridge 1998-2004. His last book, The Argumentative Indian, was also published by Penguin. His books have been translated into thirty languages.
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Top Customer Reviews
While both points are true i felt he never really got to the heart of why people prioritise particular identities in certain contexts (place, time, circumstances).
Nor did he seem to understand that an identity constructed in terms of multiple identities is an identity in itself. This is significant because it is this "meta-identity" that Sen himself prioritises. The book seemed to me to be about a perceived threat to Sen's identity rather than about identity, the concept.
I am a man who is or has been during his life an Italian citizen, a secular agnostic, a European, has lived many years in the United States, philosphically sceptical and politically cynical, a political scientist, an economics amateur, an international civil servant, a military analyst, a diver, a photographer, a consultant, heterosexual, a defender of civil liberties, an opponent of capital punishment, a believer in universal values, an existentialist, someone who is strongly attracted to Buddhism, a lover of classical music and cool jazz, someone who can't stand heavy metal and sports programs on TV (except the soccer world cup!), pro choice, in favor of birth control, someone who never watches TV, a hater of cigarettes who likes his pipes and a cigar once in a while, gastronomically and enologically curious, and many other things it would be too long to list.
Therefore, I can identify with many categories of mankind indeed. These categories are all like overlapping circles. Together, all of them make my identity, so I find it easy to be tolerant because I can share one or more of the above with most people alive on this planet.Read more ›
Recognising the complex and multifaceted nature of our modern identities, Sen argues that communitarian and cultural thinking that is the bedrock of conventional communal and collective identities results in a divisive reductionism that is bound to evoke conflict. He then articulates an alternative approach founded on the view that individuals form their identities through their diversely different set of attributes, associations and affiliations. These pluralities of human identity, he believes, cut across each other and work against a sharp separation along one single hardened line of impenetrable division.
In other words, in a strategic alteration of the relation between the core concepts, he challenges our currently dominant paradigm of thinking and offers a richer, more flexible and more comprehensive framework of perceptions. This new approach, he convincingly argues, enables individuals and societies to rise above their divisions; transcend superficial boundaries and barriers; and reach a new understanding that unites mankind, not in spite of, but precisely because of her rich diversity.
Luckily in this work he has used accessible everyday examples throughout the book, making the argument easy to understand for average but enthusiastic readers, in spite of the abstract and complex nature of the subject matter.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a famous book like others written by Amartya Sen.
When a book is written by Amartya Sen, it does not require any comments. Read more
The Indian economist Amartya Sen came to prominence with his work on social choice theory, a field pioneered by Kenneth Arrow. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Metropolitan Critic
New approach to find out the causes of violence with great erudite.Published 24 months ago by Sujan Chowdhury
a really great book by a great man. The answer to Wilders, lePen and their freinds and that little racist/sexist/simplifying corner in everybodys mind. Read morePublished on 10 Oct. 2011 by Hugh van der Mandele
Ought to be a must read for everyone. Having said that, there were certain points that seemed to be repeated, maybe to drive the message home.Published on 21 Dec. 2010 by Ms K