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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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Diversity and Sexual Equality: The Challenge of Incommensurability

Diversity and Sexual Equality: The Challenge of Incommensurability

Chapter:
(p.65) 4 Diversity and Sexual Equality: The Challenge of Incommensurability
Source:
Reasons of Identity
Author(s):

Avigail Eisenberg

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199291304.003.0004

This chapter examines the first sceptical reservation to the public assessment of identity claims, namely that identity claims are incommensurable. The problem of incommensurability rests on the idea that no coherent basis exists upon which to evaluate conflicting views about how identity matters and how it is to be weighed against other putatively fundamental considerations at play in any given conflict. This challenge is explored in relation to conflicts that arise between claims to sexual equality and minority claims to cultural accommodation or autonomy. Two approaches, one of which is rights‐based and the other which focuses on resolving conflicts through democratic processes, often lead to inadequate resolutions. The identity approach is shown to provide a more helpful approach that does not founder on the problem of incommensurability. The chapter compares the three approaches in relation to conflicts about sexist membership rules in Indigenous communities, and in relation to polygamy.

Keywords:   incommensurability, sexual equality, membership rules, Indigenous peoples, polygamy

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