Author Topic: Identities and Social Categories  (Read 339 times)

dubsartur

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Identities and Social Categories
« on: September 12, 2020, 10:13:42 AM »
I think that many educated people today are missing a lot of ideas from the 1940s through 1980s because they never actually read the original books or a good textbook with a full definition, just tried to absorb the gist.  The handful of experts assume that everyone got the idea and moved on to what is new and exciting to them, and did not realize that most people are at the "maybe light is both a particle and a wave?" level of understanding and that there is a lot more work to be done in educating people about these foundational ideas. 

One of those ideas is identity.  This blog post looks at the habit of calling all kinds of social categories 'identities' and argues that we should return to the clearer, narrower definition that someone identifies with something when they says "I am that thing."
« Last Edit: September 12, 2020, 10:23:14 AM by dubsartur »

Jubal

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Re: Identities and Social Categories
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2020, 02:38:31 PM »
I think this is interesting: I don't think I agree with its core argument and I quite like the breadth of use of identity as a term when talking about how identities are formed via communities/power relationships - but it was an interesting read all the same. I also don't think I'm quite a good enough theoretician (and I'm too tired) to articulate a full case on my thoughts here very effectively, at least at the moment and with the amount of energy I have.
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dubsartur

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Re: Identities and Social Categories
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2021, 08:39:15 PM »
Part 2 of the series explains a practical problem: identiites can be very important for living people we know personally, but because they are internal and subjective they are hard to access in the ancient world https://bookandsword.com/2021/02/06/identities-are-hard-to-get-at/

Jubal, if you ever have energy I would like to know what unambiguous term you use for sentences of the form "Lloyd was born near Mt. Snowdon but identifies as European" or "after escaping from the small religious community where he grew up, J now identifies as male and is pursing his first degree in accounting."  I think that having unambiguous, well-defined terms is much more important than which terms someone uses

Unambiguous as in different from "Lloyd is Welsh," "Lloyd is a  British citizen and no longer part of the EU," or "J is male in gender" or "J's friends know him as male" (or for that matter "Musa's income puts him in the census' working class, but he identifies as middle class"
« Last Edit: March 15, 2021, 04:27:37 AM by dubsartur »

dubsartur

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Re: Identities and Social Categories
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2021, 04:09:36 AM »
Part 3 on essentialism, identity, and history focuses on the historical context.  Essentialism was very fashionable around 1900, but then between 1914 and 1948 some things happened in the Old World which made the downsides of this approach more clear.  But in the past few years, the downsides of the identity model have also become obvious.  All models are false, but some are useful.