Thursday, 13 December 2012

Lecture Nine - Identity.

  • to introduce historical conceptions of identity
  • to introduce Foucaults 'discourse' methodology
  • to consider 'post modern theories of identity
  • to consider identity today, especially in the digital domain

Theories of identity
  • essentialism
    • phrenology
      • not a real science
      • perfect ratio of your brain make-up with different areas
      • with this you will have a balanced identity
      • moral, refelctives, self perfecting, perceptives, animal, domestic, aspiring
    • physiogonmy
      • stereotypes
      • grades of intelligence
      • the more you veer from the vertical the less intelligent you are
      • legitimising racism
      • Hieronymous Bosch (1450 - 1516) 'Christ carrying the Cross', exaggerates facial stereotypes
      • Chris Ofili, 'Holy Virgin Mary' (1996), black virgin mary, was removed from an exhibition as it offended people

Historical faces of Identity
  • pre-modern identity
    • personal identity is stable
    • institutions determined identity
    • through marriage, monarchy, government
    • 'secure' identities
    • the identity you're born with will be the one you have for the rest of your life
  • modern identity
    • 19th and early 20th centuries
    • rise of a new working class
    • three important writers acknowledge it
    • Charles Baudelaire - introduces 'flaneur' (gentlemen stroller)
    • Thorstein Veblen - 'conspicuous consumption of valuable goods is a means of reputability to the gentleman of leisure', an identity of not having to go to work
    • Georg Simmel - trickle down theory, emulation, distinction, the 'mask' of fashion', hiding behind fashion, aspiring to the upper class the lower class where similar clothes to bridge the gap, the upper class then update their wardrobe
  • post-modern identity
    • discourse analysis
    • identity is constructed out of the discourses culturally available to us
    • possible discourses - age, glass, gender, sexual orientation etc
    • discourses to be considered - class, nationality, 'race/ethnicity and gender and sexuality' = 'otherness'
    • awareness of your own identity
    • national identity

The post modern condition
  • liquid modernity and liquid love
  • identity is constructed through our social experience
  • Erving Goffman 'The presentation of self in everyday life'
  • Zygmunt Bauman - "yes identity is revealed to us only as something to be invented rather than discovered, as a target of an effort, an objective"
  • introspection a disappearing act in modern society

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