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. Profound and humane, Amartya Sen’s Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny examines some of the most explosive problems of our time. Identity and violence: the illusion of destiny, by Amartya Sen. In , when he was a boy of 11, Amartya Sen witnessed first-hand some of the.

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Their causes are many and tangled, including conflicts of interest, rival power structures and competition for resources. Reason can help us understand this process, but it cannot be reasoned away.

aen The solitarist view of human identity is plainly false, and it can also be dangerous. Sen thus contests the so-called “solitarist” approach to human identity, which sees human beings as members of exactly one ssen. There is a deeper unrealism in Sen’s analysis, which emerges in his inability to account for the powerful appeal of the solitarist view. How could the poor day-labourer be seen as having only one identity – as a Muslim who belonged to an “enemy” community – when he belonged to many other communities as well?

Yet his critique is undermined by a pervasive lack of realism. In effect, Sen’s alternative to multiculturalism is a species of liberal nationalism.

While, among others, both Presidents Barack Obama and Dilma Rousseff invited their respective predecessors to join them on the presidential airplane to fly to the memorial service, many citizens in the United Vjolence and Brazil found such symbolic outreach “embracing the enemy” reprehensible, idenitty it undermined their ideological convictions.


Humans want freedom but they also fear it, and in times of insecurity they tend to retreat into closed, hostile groups. In his new book he writes more as a liberal philosopher than as an economist.

Is he a Twitter-savvy technocrat een with boosting development for all India by slashing red tape, wooing foreign investors and building a modern digital economy? 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.

They have been translated into more than 30 languages. It is not particularly easy for a still bewildered elderly adult. Even in its liberal, “civic” varieties, nationalism has spawned violence on a vast scale.

International Politics in In comparison, multiculturalism – the chief target of Sen’s amaryta – is a sideshow. He identkty us “there is a big question about why the cultivation of singularity is so successful, given the extraordinary naivete of the thesis in a world of obviously plural affiliations”.

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Thinking out of the box

But human divisions are not the result of any simple fallacy. But if the error of solitarism is so blatantly obvious, why do large numbers of people continue to believe violejce it and act on it?

Indeed, the world is increasingly taken to be divided between religions or ‘cultures’ or i,lusionignoring the relevance of other ways in which people see Iraq is a post-colonial construction whose populations are divided not only by ethnic and religious allegiances but also by rival claims on its oil reserves. The rise of the Global South? You might also illhsion Book review: He is the author of IBSA: Still, as sectarian violence and the expectation of clashing civilizations become popular particularly when thinking of the rise of ChinaIdentity and Violence is more important than ever.

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In each case it involves the fallacy of defining the multiple and shifting identities present in every human being in terms of a single, unchanging essence. What it did was implant in him a deep sense of the fragility of freedom. If he cannot accept this fact it is because it suggests that ridding the world of identity-driven violence is going to be infinitely more difficult than he would like to believe.

Review: Identity and Violence by Amartya Sen | Books | The Guardian

Through his seminal studies of famine and his theory of freedom as a positive condition involving the qnd exercise of human capabilities, he has done more to criticise standard models of economic development than any other living thinker. The people who knifed the day-labourer in Bengal and who dragged off the man to his death in Petrograd made no error. Identity and Violence is his attempt to overcome that bewilderment.

The US became a modern nation only after a devastating civil war, France only after Napoleon. Higher education Philosophy books reviews.