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Brubaker and Cooper (2000) have argued that while 'identity' is undoubtedly a 'category of practice' it is not useful as - Essay Example

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Identity as a Useful Category of Analyses Introduction The term ‘identity’ in psychology and sociology refers to an individual’s conception and expression of his or her own individuality or group connections (Jun & Kyle 2012, p.354); in this respect, identity may be both the unique individual features or the distinctive characteristics common to all members of a group…
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Brubaker and Cooper (2000) have argued that while identity is undoubtedly a category of practice it is not useful as
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Brubaker and Cooper (2000) have argued that while 'identity' is undoubtedly a 'category of practice' it is not useful as

Download file to see previous pages... Erikson postulated that identity is a function of the intricate equilibrium between identity synthesis, the combination of various components of an individual’s self-cognition, as well as identity confusion, the lack of consistency or harmony among the distinct components of a person’s sense of self. According to Brubaker and Cooper 2000 (p.5), there is no doubt that identity is a ‘category of practice’, however, they dispute that identity can be a useful ‘category of analyses’; this paper analyses their argument to its logical conclusion. Additionally, this paper extends this argument even further by considering a different own perspective that identity can possibly be used as a useful category of analyses by drawing evidence from various sources. Brubaker and Cooper’s argument Following their argument, Brubaker and Cooper contend that the term ‘identity’ may mean a lot in a broader sense but its meaning is highly constrained when one looks at it in a narrower sense; still they claim, ‘identity’ may not mean anything particularly because of its ambiguity. In this respect, Brubaker and Cooper 2000 suggest that irrespective of its suggestiveness and indispensability in strict practical situations, the word ‘identity’ cannot meet the demands of social analysis satisfactorily given that it is too ambiguous, caught up in between ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ senses, essentialist connotations as well as constructivist qualifiers (p.3). According to them, the concept of ‘identity’ undertakes a lot of genuine and crucial analytical work but remains largely unsuitable for that work because it is full of ambiguities, riven with conflicting meanings, and is laden with reifying connotations. This can be attributed to the fact that in the contemporary period, many terms that were once exclusive have progressively become more porous, less restrictive, and less bounded (Briggs & Way 2008, p.362). The constructivists’ position that identities are established, fluid, and multiple diminishes the justification to refer to ‘identities’, thereby constraining the examination of ‘hard’ subtleties and the essentialist arguments of modern identity politics (Hearn 2013, p.8). While constructivism allows the establishment of putative identities, it also leads to the devaluation of the potent analytical capacity of the term ‘identity’ since it loses particularity. Brubaker and Cooper make very fundamental commentaries in regards to the question of identity; for instance, they argue that if identity is widespread, then it is nowhere in particular. Brubaker and Cooper question the ways in which self-concepts emerge, solidify, and mature if indeed identity is fluid, as well as, the nature of the powerful forces of external identifications while investigating the appalling uniqueness that is often sought considering that identity is multiple. Identity and social analysis Brubaker and Cooper 2000 acknowledge that indeed identity is a core principle in modern politics as well as social analysis, but are quick to point out that this does not impose the use of the term as a category of analysis (p.5). Furthermore, they claim that the pervasion of the term identity in contemporary politics does not ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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