Fragile Identities, Capable Selves

Roger W.H. Savage


The spotlight that Martha Nussbaum turns on the plight of women in developing nations brings the disproportion between human capabilities and the opportunities to exercise them sharply into focus. Social prejudices, economic discrimination, and deep-seated traditions and attitudes all harbor the seeds of systemic injustices within governing policies and institutions. The refusal on the part of a dominant class to recognize the rights and claims of subaltern individuals and groups has both symbolic and material consequences. The power that one group exercises over another brings the refusal to recognize the rights and claims of others to the fore. Thanks to the moral priority that Paul Ricoeur accords to the victim against such refusals, I tie the fragility of identity to the idea of justice’s federating force. This federating force, I therefore argue, accompanies the struggle for recognition among capable human beings.



Identity, Capability, Recognition

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Copyright (c) 2014 Roger W.H. Savage

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This journal is published by the University Library System, University of Pittsburgh as part of its D-Scribe Digital Publishing Program and is cosponsored by the University of Pittsburgh Press.

ISSN 2156-7808 (online)