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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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The Identity Approach: Public Decision Making in Diverse Societies

The Identity Approach: Public Decision Making in Diverse Societies

Chapter:
(p.15) 2 The Identity Approach: Public Decision Making in Diverse Societies
Source:
Reasons of Identity
Author(s):

Avigail Eisenberg

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199291304.003.0002

This chapter provides an overview of the theoretical framework for interpreting and assessing identity claims developed in this book. It situates this project in relation to two widely held positions in normative political theory which conclude that identity claims have no independent moral force (1) as long as just background social conditions exist and (2) because identity claims are merely social constructs. By contrast, the identity approach maintains that identity claims sometimes have moral force. It provides a general template to assess the strength of these claims via the application of three basic criteria: (1) the jeopardy condition, which establishes what of importance to identity is jeopardized in a conflict; (2) the validation condition, which asks how a contested practice or a limitation to a practice is validated; and (3) the safeguard condition, which focuses on whether the practice or restriction on the practice places people at risk of harm.

Keywords:   identity approach, jeopardy condition, validation condition, safeguard condition, harm

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