Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny

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W.W. Norton & Company, 2006 - Political Science - 215 pages
Smashing such stereotypes as "the monolithic Middle East" or "the Western Mind," Amartya Sen examines the much-misunderstood concept of identity.

The world may be more riven by murderous violence than ever before; yet Amartya Sen, the galvanizing Nobel Laureate, proposes in this sweeping philosophical work that the brutalities are driven as much by confusion as by inescapable hatred. Conflict and violence are sustained by the illusion of a unique identity, overlooking the need for reason and choice in deciding on bonds of class, gender, profession, scientific interests, moral beliefs, and even our shared identity as human beings. Challenging the reductionist view that people of the world can be partitioned into little boxes in terms of civilizational categories, Sen draws on history, economics, science, literature, and his own memories of difficult as well as easy times on three continents to present an inspiring vision of a world that can be made to move toward peace as firmly as it has spiraled in recent years toward violence and war.

About the series: Issues of Our Time: "Aware of the competition for the attention of readers, W. W. Norton & Company and I have created the "Issues of Our Time" as a lucid series of highly readable books through which some of today's most thoughtful intellectuals seek to challenge the general reader to reexamine received truths and grapple with powerful trends that are shaping the world in which we live. The series launches with Anthony Appiah, Alan Dershowitz, and Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen as the first of an illustrious group who will tackle some of the most plangent and central issues defining our society today through books that deal with such issues as sexual and racial identities, the economics of the developing world, and the concept of citizenship in a truly globalized twenty-first-century world culture. Above all else, these books are designed to be read and enjoyed."Henry Louis Gates Jr., W. E. B. DuBois Professor of the Humanities, Harvard University

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User Review  - kant1066 - LibraryThing

This book is interested in the question of human identity, its inherent multiplicity, and the choices that we make in regard to aligning ourselves with certain identities over others. We all have ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Mandarinate - LibraryThing

Sen's point is that conflict is reduced when we recognize that individuals can hold multiple identities. It's a good point, but rather obvious in today's world of large scale immigration. Unfortunately, Sen does not pursue his idea very far so the book is pretty uninteresting. Read full review

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