Reasons of Identity: A Normative Guide to the Political and Legal Assessment of Identity Claims

Paperback | September 22, 2011

byAvigail Eisenberg

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The current legal and political context is perhaps more congenial than ever before to considering claims made by minorities for the protection of some aspect of their identity. This book argues that diverse societies depend for their success on having courts and legislatures which are capableof assessing these identity claims in a fair and transparent manner. Despite the ubiquity of these claims today, how public decision makers assess minority identity claims in the course of decision making is only vaguely understood and mostly ignored in normative political theory and public policyanalysis. This book examines several key approaches used by national and international institutions to assess the identity claims of religious, cultural, and indigenous minorities today. It takes up the central challenges to the public assessment of identity claims which raise concerns about theincommensurability and questionable authenticity of such claims, and about the risks of essentializing and domesticating the identities of the people who advance identity claims. It develops a guide to aid in the fair assessment of identity claims, which is grounded on the requirement that publicinstitutions must respect what people claim is deeply important to their self understandings and ways of life, without merely accepting such claims at face value or deferring to claimants in every case, and that public institutions must have the capacity to refl ect upon their own unfair biases. Theguide developed in this book aims at interrogating the strength of any identity claim on bases that are respectful of differences without being blinded by them.

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The current legal and political context is perhaps more congenial than ever before to considering claims made by minorities for the protection of some aspect of their identity. This book argues that diverse societies depend for their success on having courts and legislatures which are capableof assessing these identity claims in a fair...

Avigail Eisenberg has been Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of British Columbia, where she spent the first ten years of her academic career. She has held visiting research fellowships at the University of Edinburgh (1996-7), and the Universite de Montreal (2004-5). She has been a resident fe...

other books by Avigail Eisenberg

Format:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.49 inPublished:September 22, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199604428

ISBN - 13:9780199604425

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments1. Introduction2. The Identity Approach : Public decision making in diverse societies3. Multiculturalism, identity quietism, and identity skepticism4. Diversity and sexual equality: The challenge of incommensurability5. Religious identity and the problem of authenticity6. Indigenous identity: The perils of essentialism and domestication7. Conclusion: Reasons of identityBibliography