Identity and justice : conflicts, contradictions and contingencies

Document Type


Publication Date



Peter Lang

Place of Publication

Brussels, Belgium

Publication Details

Rodan, D. (2004). Identity and justice: conflicts, contradictions and contingencies. Brussels, Belguim, Peter Lang.


Debbie Rodan adds breadth and depth to the field of literary, cultural and gender studies through a meticulous investigation of notions such as re-presentation, justice and legitimation. She examines their historical and philosophical trajectories as well as their politico-juridical underpinnings through an ambitious and timely recuperation of the Enlightenment projects of rationality and emancipation. The point of departure is a critical engagement with the theoretical work of John Rawls, Jürgen Habermas and Jean-François Lyotard. Rodan claims each can be read as foregrounding diverse ways of constituting identity within the social world. Recognition of other people's identity at the social, cultural and national level is crucial to the possibility of justice. Rodan tests the concepts of justice, legitimation and identity through detailed critical readings/analyses of a range of texts. The range includes the film East is East, a number of auto/biographical narratives as well as the Australian government report, Bringing Them Home, which is concerned with the removal of Aboriginal children from their families. She avoids polarising Aboriginal/non-Aboriginal notions of justice, identity etc. by including texts which raise and problematise questions of ethnicity and gender