Identity

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I found this week’s reading from During somewhat repetitive, however I felt as though there were some interesting points mentioned relating to this notion of identity.

Duram’s article “Debating identity” demonstrates the link between the individual and the social. The main argument that is being made within the piece is that identity is fundamentally social, and is out of our control. The article mentions how there has been growing interest in the concept of identity since the 70s and details how minority groups such as African Americans and women of the feminist movement classed themselves into their own categories to illustrate that “universal humanness” did not solely consist of “white, heterosexual, bourgeois men”. I think we can all relate to the experience of putting ourselves into a category to illustrate a particular point or to demonstrate how we each want to be seen and perceived.

Duram explains that we all have more than one identity because “identities are based on partial traits”. This notion suggests that identity is out of our control and lies within the social. I do agree with this concept to an extent, for example the fact that I am Caucasian and female, other people will always see me as this so to that degree how I am perceived is uncontrollable (if people see me in this way first). However, I can do things and associate myself with certain people so that I am first and foremost perceived as a something different and unrelated to my gender and nationality.

Duram also describes how identity can dislocate ourselves from our own self, which I found to be an interesting concept. The concept is that we hide our emotions and desires because they can’t be physically seen by the social and therefore aren’t made up of our identity that is allocated to us. I think it is also important to note that some may argue that feelings, emotions and desires can be seen and to a certain extent make up our identity.

An interesting point that I took away from the article is that part of who we are is anticipated by how we will be seen. An example of this that I can relate to is the fact that I pride myself on being fit and go out of my way to keep fit. I like to think that I go to these lengths to satisfy myself but how I am perceived by other s does also play a role in my actions.

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