Identity and Violence : The Illusion of Destiny, Paperback

Identity and Violence : The Illusion of Destiny Paperback

1.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


Profound and humane, Amartya Sen's "Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny" examines some of the most explosive problems of our time and shows how we can move towards peace as firmly as we have spiralled towards war.

In this penetrating book, Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen argues that we are becoming increasingly divided along lines of religion and culture, ignoring the many other ways in which people see themselves, from class and profession to morals and politics.

When we are put into narrow categories the importance of human life becomes lost.

Through his lucid exploration 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 hope of harmony in today's world lies in a clearer understanding of our sheer diversity. ""Identity and Violence" is a moving, powerful essay about the mischief of bad ideas". ("The Economist"). "Impassioned, eloquent and often moving, "Identity and Violence" is a sustained attack on the "solitarist" theory which says that human identities are formed by membership of a single social group". (John Gray, "Guardian"). "Rich in ideas...I would love to send it to Osama bin Laden and have his reply". ("Spectator"). "Sen's moving and most personal book yet". ("The Times Literary Supplement"). "Stimulating ...simple and persuasive". ("Financial Times"). "An accessible and exceptional humanitarian". (Jon Snow, "New Statesman", "Heroes of Our Time"). Amartya Sen is Lamont University Professor at Harvard.

He won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1998. His other books published by Penguin include "The Argumentative Indian" and "The Idea of Justice".


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Political science & theory
  • ISBN: 9780141027807



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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.

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