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Identity in Democracy - Amy Gutmann

Identity in Democracy

Paperback Published: 5th September 2004
ISBN: 9780691120409
Number Of Pages: 256

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Written by one of America's leading political thinkers, this is a book about the good, the bad, and the ugly of identity politics.Amy Gutmann rises above the raging polemics that often characterize discussions of identity groups and offers a fair-minded assessment of the role they play in democracies. She addresses fundamental questions of timeless urgency while keeping in focus their relevance to contemporary debates: Do some identity groups undermine the greater democratic good and thus their own legitimacy in a democratic society? Even if so, how is a democracy to fairly distinguish between groups such as the KKK on the one hand and the NAACP on the other? Should democracies exempt members of some minorities from certain legitimate or widely accepted rules, such as Canada's allowing Sikh members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to wear turbans instead of Stetsons? Do voluntary groups like the Boy Scouts have a right to discriminate on grounds of sexual preference, gender, or race?

Identity-group politics, Gutmann shows, is not aberrant but inescapable in democracies because identity groups represent who people are, not only what they want--and who people are shapes what they demand from democratic politics. Rather than trying to abolish identity politics, Gutmann calls upon us to distinguish between those demands of identity groups that aid and those that impede justice. Her book does justice to identity groups, while recognizing that they cannot be counted upon to do likewise to others.

Clear, engaging, and forcefully argued, Amy Gutmann's "Identity in Democracy" provides the fractious world of multicultural and identity-group scholarship with a unifying work that will sustain it for years to come.

Winner of the 2003 Award for Best Professional/Scholarly Book in Government and Political Science, Association of American Publishers "Typically, discussions of identity politics in American life are tinged with vitriol. Gutmann's book, by contrast, calms the debate with an unflappably reasonable analysis... She argues that, since humans are social creatures, identity politics is a permanent fixture of the political landscape."--The New Yorker "There is much to admire in this book. It is clearly written, deploys interesting and topical examples, and is accessible without losing important nuance and careful insight."--Margaret Moore, Political Science Quarterly "Although Gutmann writes as a philosopher, her text is accessible to the nonspecialist interested in analyzing core issues of diversity, identity, and community... Gutmann's analysis of identity groups is instructive to those who seek a more complex understanding of the tensions between expressions of individual identities and the creation of an equitable community."--Kristen A. Renn, Academe

FrontMatter, pg. iContents, pg. viiAcknowledgments, pg. ixIntroduction. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Identity Politics, pg. 1Chapter One. The Claims of Cultural Identity Groups, pg. 38Chapter Two. The Value of Voluntary Groups, pg. 86Chapter Three. Identification by Ascription, pg. 117Chapter Four. Is Religious Identity Special?, pg. 151Conclusion. Integrating Identity in Democracy, pg. 192Notes, pg. 213Index, pg. 235

ISBN: 9780691120409
ISBN-10: 0691120404
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 256
Published: 5th September 2004
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.2  x 0.64
Weight (kg): 0.37