2006 Abstracts Stage 3

Identity and Postmodern Society: a Philosophical Investigation into the way Identities are Constructed in Contemporary Societies

Victoria Stansfield, 2006, Stage 3

Outline: I will be exploring the different factors that contribute to the formation of identity in a Postmodern society and the idea that too many choices/influences have induced a new desire for singular, primary identities i.e. those based around fundamental religious beliefs/ rooted in a particular locality etc. Aims: • To investigate what ‘identity’ means in the Postmodern age. • To explore how the influence of social institutions such as the Church, state, patriarchal family etc has been eroded by factors such as globalisation and contrast this with the ways in which people were influenced by these things in the past. • To examine the ways we try to construct identity on a daily basis i.e. through consumer culture and provide an exposition of the range of choices available to us. • To show that Postmodernism and the ‘Network Society’ in the ‘Information Age’ may leave the individual feeling detached from any kind of immediate society/community meaning that the chaos and pastiche of postmodernity has led to a need for direction and this is leading to a ‘regrouping’ around primary identities. • To provide an exposition of different types of primary identity such as the American Militia and religious fundamentalist groups. Sources: My key thinker will be Manuel Castells and I will be using his book: ‘The Power of Identity’. Further sources will include:- • David Harvey: The Condition of Postmodernity • Craig Calhoun: Social Theory & The Politics of Identity • Anthony Giddens: Modernity & Self Identity • Charles Lasch: The culture of Narcissism

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