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Introducing Identity
 

Introducing Identity

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Introducing Identity Introducing Identity Presentation Transcript

  • Cultural Identities
    • who do you think you are?!!
    • Course Aims
    • Assessment
    • Reading
  • Cultural Identities
    • What is identity?
      • How are identities formed?
      • Do we have any control over our identities?
      • Theories – Concepts - Explanations
  • Key features of identity
    • Identity links the personal and the social
    • Identity combines how I see myself and how others see me
    • Identities involve being the same as some people and different from others, as indicated by symbols and representations
    • Identity involves some active engagement
    • There is a tension between how much control I have in constructing my identities and how much control/constraint is exercised over me.
  • So who am I?
  • So who am I?
    • I have three passports, all British … In the first one, I am a young man with a lot of hair and a confident smile. My height is 5ft 8in and I am a school teacher. In my second passport photograph, most of my hair has gone. I have a white beard and a serious expression. My height is now 1.72 metres and I am a college lecturer. In the third passport, the smaller red one, I am bald. Again I have a serious expression, but now my face is heavily lined. A friend asks: which is the real you? Of course people see me in many different ways … I want to have a closer look at my red passport … At the top are the words ‘European community’ … The passport refers to my nationality – British Citizen.
    • (Sarup, 1996: xiv)
  • So who am I?
    • I think of [British Citizenship] as a formal category. I am not ‘proud’ to be ‘British’; it reminds me of the scars of imperialism, the days of the Raj. I feel more sympathetic to being a citizen of the European Community, but here too I feel ambivalent. I would rather be a citizen of a federal European Community, but friends remind me of the concept of ‘Fortress-Europe’ is a Euro-centric strategy to maintain the power and privilege of the ‘First World’.
    • Sarup (1996: xv)
  • So who am I?
    • Think about your own passport(s) or any other identity card or official document you possess.
      • What does it say about you?
      • Does it suggest groups with whom you share an identity and those for whom you are different?
      • Does this suggest several different identities?
      • What is omitted?
      • What is the importance of such institutional identities?
  • Summary
    • Passports illustrate the tension between how I see myself and how others see me – between the personal and the social
    • Institutions like the state play an important role in constructing identities
    • Difference is clearly marked in relation to national identity
    • Official categories contain omissions – they cannot fully accommodate the personal investment we have in our identities nor the multiple identities we have
  • Concepts and Theories: Mead Concepts are used to create Theories are used to create Explanations
  • Concepts and Theories: Mead
    • Ideas, images and symbols
    • Individuals use images and symbols in a process of visualising themselves
    • Identity emerges from the individual’s ability to think of him/herself in terms of the community into which s/he has been socialised. This is a conscious, creative and reflective ability
    Concepts are used to create Theories are used to create Explanations
  • Concepts and Theories
    • When I rummage through my wardrobe in the morning I am not merely faced with a choice of what to wear. I am faced with the choice of images: the difference between a smart suit and a pair of overalls, a leather skirt and a cotton skirt, is not one of fabric and style, but one of identity. You know perfectly well that you will be seen differently for the whole day, depending on what you put on; you will appear as a particular kind of woman with one particular identity which excludes others. The black leather skirt rather rules out girlish innocence, oily overalls exclude sophistication … often I have wished I could put them all on together – just to say, ‘how dare you think any of these is me. But also, see, I can be all of them’.
    • Williamson, 1986: 91
  • Concepts and Theories
    • If identity involves how I see myself and how others see me, how does this take place?
      • We have to be able to imagine ourselves, to reflect on who we are and how we appear to others
      • We do this through symbolising, producing images and visualising ourselves.
  • Explanation – the claim
    • Mead claims that it is what goes on inside people’s heads and the use of symbols and images in the process of visualising themselves when they decide who they are which is important.
    • How do we investigate this claim?
    • What are the symbols which people use to imagine themselves?