Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny

Front Cover
Penguin Books Limited, Sep 24, 2015 - Social Science - 240 pages

The world may be more riven by murderous violence than ever before, yet Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen argues in this sweeping philosophical work that its brutalities are driven as much by confusion as by inescapable hatred.

Sen argues in his new book that conflict and violence are sustained today, no less than the past, by the illusion of a unique identity. Indeed, the world is increasingly taken to be divided between religions (or 'cultures' or 'civilizations'), ignoring the relevance of other ways in which people see themselves through class, gender, profession, language, literature, science, music, morals or politics, and denying the real possibilities of reasoned choices. In Identity and Violence he overturns such stereotypes as the 'the monolithic Middle East' or 'the Western Mind'. Through his penetrating investigation of such subjects as multiculturalism, fundamentalism, terrorism and globalization, he brings out the need for a clear-headed understanding of human freedom and a constructive public voice in Global civil society. The world, Sen shows, can be made to move towards peace as firmly as it has recently spiralled towards war.

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

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

Other editions - View all

About the author (2015)

Amartya Sen is one of the world's leading public intellectuals. He is Professor of Economics and Professor of Philosophy at Harvard. He was Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, from 1998 to 2004, and won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1998. His many celebrated books include Development as Freedom (1999), The Argumentative Indian (2005) and The Idea of Justice (2010). They have been translated into more than 30 languages.

Bibliographic information