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Identities and Identifications: Politicized Uses of Collective Identities (8th Edition)

Identity is one of the crown jewelries in the kingdom of ‘contested concepts’. Few concepts are so integral to social assumptions, beliefs and claims of belonging while simultaneously escaping a clear definition or even a minimal consensus. The idea of identity is conceived to provide some unity and recognition while it also exists by separation and differentiation. From personal to group and collective identities, multiple layers of identifications juxtapose conflict or exclude. Few concepts were used as much as identity for contradictory purposes. From the fragile individual identities as self-solidifying frameworks, to layered in-group identifications in families, orders, organizations, religions, ethnic groups, regions, nation-states, supra-national entities or any other social entities, the idea of identity always shows up in the core of debates and makes everything either too dangerously simple or too complicated. Constructivist and de-constructivist strategies have led to the same result: the eternal return of the topic. Some say we should drop the concept, some say we should keep it and refine it, some say we should look at it in a dynamic fashion while some say it’s the reason for resistance to change. In the meantime, identities are programmatically asserted and promoted to generate cohesion and demand recognition while the process of identification excludes and creates boundaries and alterity making practices.