Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny
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Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  761 ratings  ·  87 reviews
In this sweeping philosophical work, Amartya Sen proposes that the murderous violence that has riven our society is driven as much by confusion as by inescapable hatred. Challenging the reductionist division of people by race, religion, and class, Sen presents an inspiring vision of a world that can be made to move toward peace as firmly as it has spiraled in recent years...more
Paperback, Abridged, 215 pages
Published February 1st 2007 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published January 1st 2006)
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أحمد أبازيد Ahmad Abazed
يتلخّص كتاب أمارتيا صن في أنّه يريد القول أن لا هويّة واحدة للإنسان , وإنّ كلّ إنسان يدخل في دوائر متعدّدة من الانتماءات و الهويّات و الجماعات , لا يمكن اختزالها بهويّته الدينية أو العرقيّة وحدها , و أنّ الهويّة اختيار لا اكتشاف .
إضافةً للتعليق على حوادث دالّة على التعصّب فيما يتعلّق بالعنصرية ضد السود أو الحرب الأهلية في راوندا أو النزاعات بين الهندوس و المسلمين في الهند , أو الأصوليّة الإسلاميّة كما يراها , مع التعريض ببعض حوادث العنصريّة الغربيّة ضدّ المسلمين , و يرى أمارتيا صن إنّه من الخطأ...more
عاطف عثمان
(1

للنظريات حياة خاصة


من الغريب حقا أن تستمر الأفكار والتصورات عن العرق والجنس والطبقة بالرغم من منافاة الواقع والظواهر لتلك التصورات والتحيزات. يذهب أمارتيا صن صاحب كتاب الهوية والعنف إلي أن "النظريات لها حياة خاصة بها، شديدة التحدي لعالم الظواهر التي يمكن رصدها واقعيا" ويري أن المشكلة ليست في ظهور هذه التعميمات المبسطة وتأثيرها علي تفكيرنا ونظرتنا للآخرين، بل في أنها تتحول إلي نظريات كبري في التفسير.

فإذا كانت المرأة قد عاشت حينا من الدهر وهي قليلة الخبرة وغير متعلمة وغير مثقفة وغير قادرة علي الف...more
أميــــرة
هذا الكتاب دخل ضمن قائمة أهم عشرة كتب قرأتها حتى الآن. إنه متعة فكرية خالصة، ويتعرض لمسألة عالمية هي الهويات الفردية وكيف يمكن استغلالها لتزكية العنف. الفصل الأخير بعنوان (حرية التفكير) كان أكثر الفصول إنسانية وواقعية ومناسب جدًا لما تشهده مصر وقت كتابة هذه المراجعة.

أمارتيا صن فيسلوف ويعشق الاقتصاد، لكن ما أشعل تلك القدرة الذهنية لديه على تحليل الأمور وربطها ببعضها البعض هو تلك الهزة النفسية العنيفة التي تعرض لها وهو في الحادية عشرة من عمره عندما رأي القتل بعينيه في الشغب الطائفي الذي حدث بالهند
...more
Ryan
Nov 12, 2007 Ryan rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those totally unfamiliar with any critique of the "clash of civilizations" thesis
The points that Sen makes in this book are valid and I agree with his basic thesis that people inhabit many different identities and to box people into identities solely based on religious ones fails to acknowledge the many different ways in which people see themselves. This type of thinking contributes to the widespread "us vs. them" mentality that leads to greater violence and less understanding between people. Sen's corrective to the widely prevalent "clash of civilizations" thesis is greatly...more
Divyanshu Jha
Strongly recommended. A book that asks you to reason with it.Discusses real world issues of multiculturalism, sectarianism, Islamic fundamentalism and globalization with a lucidity of expression that befits the writer. Sen's benevolent world view and optimism shines through regularly in his analysis.
At some point of time, I could even map the issues the book raised to Hall 3 Hall 2 rivalry. :)
In short, more easily written than Sen's other more arduous works and a pleasure to read and think over...more
Joe
Sometimes it’s nice to read a book with which you wholeheartedly agree. Amartya Sen provides a very eloquent defence of recognising that humans have multiple identities and points out the sometimes dreadful results of only assigning one.

Sen seems to have an extremely good grasp of human psychology; a particularly rare attribute for an economist. He comes across as an eminently sensible and humane observer and is eloquent in his critique of both overt sectarianism, but also well meaning yet deepl...more
Dan
Amartya Sen really gets it. He has the language and the argument for thoughts I've had jangling in my head for years. I'd encourage this for anyone who has ever doubted monolithic identities, or has disliked being labeled, or worried over just what multiculturalism means.

I would try to summarize the book, but I think you should just read it.
John David
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. We all have multiple identities, which Sen repeatedly points out. For example, he says of himself that "I can be, at the same time, an Asian, an Indian citizen, a Bengali with Bangladeshi ancestry, an American or British resident, an economist, a dabbler in philosophy, an author, a Sanskritist, a strong believer in...more
nanto
Membaca awalan dari buku ini cukup menarik. Sen mengajak kita memasuki diskusi seputar identitas yang di paruh akhir abad 20 kembali menjadi hangat.

Identitas sebagai bagian inheren dari manusia dibawa dalam diskusi Sen menjadi sesuatu yang tidak semata teknis, tapi juga personal. Ceritanya berawal saat ia ditanya petugas bandara berkaitan dengan alamat yang tercantum dalam paspornya. "Anda bersahabat dengan Rektor Trinity College?" Pertanyaan itu merupakan sebuah awal yang personal ketika selanj...more
Andrew
Amartya Sen makes one central, relatively novel argument that individuals have multiple components to their identities and problems arise when people are reduced to singular adjectives (whether Muslim, Hindu, Sunni, Shia, etc). Sen argues that periods of genocide are precipitated by pidgeonholing people into singular identities (ie. the relatively arbitrary distinction between Hutu and Tutsi in Rwanda). Sen also described Britain and India as two countries that have met the task of assimilating...more
E7san
الكتاب مملّ .. مملّ جدًا، يستمرّ مارتيا سن بتكرار نفس الفكرة في كلّ صفحة ! وكنتُ سأعتقد أنّ التّرجمة وحدها هي السّبب لولا أنّ تقييمات النّسخة الانجليزية الأصلية انتقدت نفس النّقطة !

عمومًا، أتممتُ قراءة ١٠٠ صفحة تقريبًا منه كي لا يستمرّ ضميري بتأنيبي في ما بعد، ثمّ تركته .

وبالنّسبة للترجمة، فأعتقد بأنّني لو قرأتُ النسخة الانجليزية لكان الفهم أسهل علي ! تركيب الجمل المتَرجمة معقّد وبائس جدًا !
Jeffcolli
Although Samuel Huntington puts forth an interesting social theory in his book "The Clash of Civilizations", this book pretty effectively points out how ridiculous it is. Sen explores the multiple identities we all have and examines the validity of using a single shared identity to group huge numbers of people into civilizations.
Thủy Phan
It is indeed a useful and informative book discussing Sen’s view on human identities. In his respect opposing Huntington’s view in “Clash of Civilizations”, human identities should not and cannot be boxed based solely on civilization as a basic factor because this only leads to less understanding between people, causes more violence and resistance around the world. Rather than that, one should take many other factors into account, for instance, education, choice and history in order to find the...more
Ilya
Samuel Huntington and many armchair geopoliticians want to divide up humanity into distinct civilizations; in particular, they want to call India a Hindu civilization. Hold on! says Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen. India has more Muslims than any other country except Indonesia and Pakistan; the richest Indian, software entrepreneur Azim Premji, is a Muslim, and so is Shahrukh Khan, star of the film "Asoka" about the great Maurya Emperor who converted to Buddhism. India also has had Sik...more
Kyaw Win Tun
Sen suggested choosing one's identities in multiple terms, not in a single term. He points out the effect of perceiving a people, a person, a region or a civilization in the framework of only one identity which is their religion. He argues that even in that particular framework, policy makers see a certain kind of religion in a very rigid box ignoring various interpretations and choices of individuals. He attacks Huntington's concept of "Clash of Civilizations" and denies the communitarian's vie...more
Paul
This book lives up to half of its title - there's a lot on identity, very little on violence. It seems to be more concerned with ethnic conflict in the abstract, which isn't the end of the world but a little misleading if, like me, you're reading it for an essay on the ethnic roots of aggression.

I'll give it a solid but unexceptional three stars, because I must admit it's a decent and readable introduction to the constructivist/modernist approach to identity. Still, it doesn't add much to the de...more
Gordan
Dec 27, 2009 Gordan rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody
Shelves: junk
First of all it has to be mentioned that I’m by far no racist or anything comparable. The reason for reading this book was certainly the curiosity in someone’s opinion on the topic of discrimination from the "other side". By saying this I don't claim to be in a group which has different attributes to identify with in a racist manner but maybe some others think that this is my way of thinking.
Anyway, the author of the book tries to point out what the term identity means to people from minorities...more
Dan Yost
Oct 26, 2007 Dan Yost rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
This book presents an issue that is growing in importance. In particular, Amartya Sen argues that a growing tendency to view individuals (and ourselves) as belonging to separate groups defined by only one particular characteristic (in the vein of Samuel Huntington's 'Clash of Civilizations) is both unrealistic and dangerous. Specifically, he cites the growing tendency in American foreign policy and by Islamic extremists to define the other as singularly "Muslim" or "Western." When policy decisio...more
I-in
an interesting paragraph at the prologue.

“Some years ago when I was returning to England from a short trip abroad (I was then Master of Trinity College in Cambridge), the immigration officer at Heathrow, who scrutinized my Indian passport rather thoroughly, posed a philosophical question of some intricacy. Looking at my home address on the immigration form (Master's Lodge, Trinity College, Cambridge), he asked me whether the Master, whose hospitality I evidently enjoyed, was a close friend of mi...more
Manderson
I almost put this book down after I began reading it, fearing that it was a bit overly academic. But I'm glad that I slogged through it, because Amartya Sen's clarity of intellect more than makes up for the barrier of his sometimes academic language and poor cohesiveness in editing. And yes, he does seem to have bundled together the book out of a collection of other writings, as he pointlessly repeats the same statements throughout the book.

His point is simple: reduction of the human identity,...more
Elliot Ratzman
May 30, 2012 Elliot Ratzman rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Elliot by: Conservatives, people who are fond of identity politics
In this hastily written/edited book, the award-winning economist-philosopher Amartya Sen counters both the “clash of civilizations” thesis and the reductionist claims of fundamentalists and nationalists. Both extremes believe that humans have a primary identity—whether religious or nation—which determines (or should determine) the shape of civilization and one’s primary allegiances. This tendency also shows up among postcolonial critics who sometimes blame “The West” to justify their rejection o...more
leighcia
I was drawn to this book by its title, and also because I had heard of Amartya Sen (a recent Nobel Prize Winner in Economics). However, I only read the introduction—because most reviews said that the book was very repetitive. The book is a edited compilation of various essays and talks given by Amartya Sen on ethnic or religious identity. His basic argument is that a person’s identity is far too complex to be reduced to a compartment such as one’s ethnicity or religion, and that by recognizing t...more
Mary
Incredibly repetitive and overall not greatly illuminating (I had, surprisingly, concluded before reading Identity and Violence that individuals possess a variety of different identities, and should not be defined by one alone), Identity and Violence is, however, an interesting read.

Providing interesting snippets of Indian social and political history, Sen also offers (what I feel to be the strongest point of the book) a solid dismissal of the concept of the clash of civilisations and the idea o...more
Shridevi
Accidentally stumbled upon this book & what a pleasure it was to go through it. The author has questioned the relevance/non-relevance of caste-language-gender-class barriers in defining 'identity'. It simplifies concepts and at the same time opens up new ways of looking up things, which of course, are very positive and very very sensible. One of my best reads till date. :-)
Sujan
An enjoyable text suggesting that assigning a singular identity to human beings is closely related with the creation of violence. The author, with much reason and justification, tells us that we should try to see ourselves as total human beings having multiple identities simultaneously. And, rather than being imposed on with a specific identity, we should be given the freedom to chose our own identity.

This book is all about hope. Someday the widespread hatred of human species towards each other...more
Ilker Balkan
Extremely written but not that much impressive in telling facts clearly. Many parts made me conflicted by the facts just read a few chapters before.
The Super Moop
I like this book more for the idea behind it than for Sen's writing, because the man carries on like a favourite (but slightly embarrassing) uncle who's got this one story stuck in his ageing head and will insist upon repeating it to all your friends.

Still, it's not difficult to work through, and the solitary, straightforward idea at its centre is one that is extremely dear to me, viz. that we absolutely need to not let ourselves be pigeonholed into one of our many, many identities.

It might be t...more
Shubha
Amazing book, very thought-provoking. Tedious (as with all of his books), but well worth the effort. His basic premise is that violence results when a person's identity is boiled down to one dimension (e.g., race, ethnicity, nationality), rather than allowing the person to simultaneously occupy many dimensions of identity (sex, age, interests, religion) and importantly, to choose for herself what emphasis to place on each of these dimensions. Examples from islamic terrorism, anti-globalization p...more
Allan Leonard
Sen argues that British policy on multiculturalism is undermining individual freedom (that it represents 'plural monoculturalism'). It represents a classic debate on whether identity is (a) monolithic and (b) ascribed or chosen.

For Sen, it's not the specific identity that matters but its context. Meanwhile, others highlight those individuals who accept their identity as given (not chosen).

Of course, this always gets complicated when a national identity is involved. I agree with Sen's argument, t...more
Amarjyoti
Jun 03, 2008 Amarjyoti rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: interested students
While he does make for an interesting read, Amartya's dealing with the topic of Identity is interesting and reflects the third world view that one often encounters within the so-called "new cultural politics of difference". While one can forgive the communitarian bias of this book, he could have dealt much better the topic at hand. The issues of individual identity and 'group' identity and their tug-of-war that marks most issues over identity needed a better treatment from a scholar of his reput...more
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82531
Amartya Kumar Sen is an Indian economist who was awarded the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his contributions to welfare economics and social choice theory, and for his interest in the problems of society’s poorest members.

Sen was best known for his work on the causes of famine, which led to the development of practical solutions for preventing or limiting the effects of real or perceiv...more
More about Amartya Sen...
The Argumentative Indian: Writings on Indian History, Culture and Identity Development as Freedom The Idea Of Justice On Ethics and Economics Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation

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“إن التحريض على العنف يحدث بفضل هويات مفردة انعزالية وعدوانية، يناصرها ويؤيدها محترفون بارعون للإرهاب، على أناس بسطاء وساذجين” 3 likes
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