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Identity and Violence the illusion of Destiny


IDENTITY AND VIOLENCE -THE ILLUSION OF DESTINY – Amartya Sen The world may be more driven 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, but 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. Reviews- “In this great boom of social science Amartya Sen brings to our generation a new and modern vision of how to obtain peace, by respecting the humanity an diversity of others” George Akerlof, Nobel Laureate in Economics, 2001 “A lucid and convincing critique of current trends in communitarian and culturalist thinking, underlining for us in a way that only a scholar of his background and learning can the complexity and multidimensionality of modern identity” Francis Fukuyama ‘In identity and violence, Sen probes, with reason and humour, the roots of some of the most difficult and explosive problems of our day, those of race, identity and conflict. This is an indispensible book’ Anwar Ibrahim, Former Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia ‘Amartya Sen is uniquely qualified to explore this central conundrum of our time. From 1947 when he witnessed the explosive identity violence of India’s partition, to the identity savagery I witnessed in Bosnia and Rwanda, Palestine and Sudan, and now the war between extreme Islam and the west, or world cries out for solutions. Amartya Sen challenges and sets conventional wisdom on its head as he finds new answer’ Christiane Amanpour, CNN ‘The world’s poor and dispossessed could have no more articulate or insightful a champion’ Kofi A. Annan


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