Liberal recognition for identity? Only for particularized ones
Communitarian writers argue that social identity is deeply important to individual autonomy and thus liberal societies have an obligation to recognize identity. Any liberal view that attempts to account for this charge must specify a procedure to recognize identity that also ensures that the liberal sense of autonomy is not weakened. In this article, I develop such an account. I argue that liberals must distinguish an identity that belongs to particular persons (particularized identity) from the collective form of that identity. For instance, Naisha will have her own particularized way of being Indian in addition to the collective form of the culture that she shares with others. To determine which acts would be about recognizing the particularized form, I provide a counterfactual test. One major implication of the test is that special collective rights would not be endorsed. At the same time, the test is not equivalent to the liberal positions of insisting either that rights belong to individuals or that individuals are not harmed. Because identity is almost always viewed in terms of groups, valuing identity seems to be at odds with the principles of liberalism and democratic theory in which individual persons are the ultimate source of value. I show that there is a significant way to recognize identity that is harmonious with these principles.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sae:pophec:v:10:y:2011:i:1:p:66-87. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (SAGE Publishing)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.