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Reasons of IdentityA Normative Guide to the Political and Legal Assessment of Identity Claims$
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Avigail Eisenberg

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199291304

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199291304.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Introduction
Reasons of Identity

Avigail Eisenberg

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides a general overview of the argument of this book. It explains how claims which are made for entitlements, resources, power, or opportunities on the basis of what is important to a group's identity have a legitimate place in public decision making. It shows how failure to recognize this fact has led to multicultural backlash and to confusion surrounding Indigenous claims to collective rights. Public institutions need better guidance to assess identity claims fairly. The chapter explains the basic threefold justification for an identity approach that can address identity claims in a fair and feasible manner. The approach is grounded in the need (1) to treat different peoples with respect, (2) to develop a means by which institutional humility can be secured and institutional biases can be more readily detected, and (3) to respond pragmatically to the current surge in identity claiming.

Keywords:   identity claims, indigenous peoples, collective versus individual rights, multicultural backlash, respect, institutional humility

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