Damaged Identities, Narrative Repair (Paperback)

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Hilde Lindemann Nelson focuses on the stories of groups of people--including Gypsies, mothers, nurses, and transsexuals--whose identities have been defined by those with the power to speak for them and to constrain the scope of their actions. By placing their stories side by side with narratives about the groups in question, Nelson arrives at some important insights regarding the nature of identity. She regards personal identity as consisting not only of how people view themselves but also of how others view them. These perceptions combine to shape the person's field of action. If a dominant group constructs the identities of certain people through socially shared narratives that mark them as morally subnormal, those who bear the damaged identity cannot exercise their moral agency freely.Nelson identifies two kinds of damage inflicted on identities by abusive group relations: one kind deprives individuals of important social goods, and the other deprives them of self-respect. To intervene in the production of either kind of damage, Nelson develops the counterstory, a strategy of resistance that allows the identity to be narratively repaired and so restores the person to full membership in the social and moral community. By attending to the power dynamics that constrict agency, Damaged Identities, Narrative Repair augments the narrative approaches of ethicists such as Alasdair MacIntyre, Martha Nussbaum, Richard Rorty, and Charles Taylor.

About the Author

Hilde Lindemann Nelson is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Michigan State University. She is coauthor of The Patient in the Family, editor of Feminism and Families and Stories and Their Limits: Narrative Approaches to Bioethics, and coeditor of Recognition, Rights, and Responsibilities: Feminist Ethics and Social Theory.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780801487408
ISBN-10: 0801487404
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication Date: March 9th, 2001
Pages: 228
Language: English

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