Tuesday 29 October 2013

Identity - Essentialsim

Overview of the lecture
  • People who were born a certain way, will therefore have a certain personality, that people were born with certain characteristics and identities.
  • Thinking about identity.
  • We still draw on essentialist ways of thinking.
Identity and 'the other' in visual representations
  • Creation of identities
  • Concepts of 'otherness'
  • Analysis of visual examples
  • Identity - who are we and how others perceive who we are.
Identity creation; What makes you, you?
  • Apperence
  • Education
  • Upbringing
  • Morals
  • Family and friends
  • Personality
  • Physical attributes (deformities)
  • DNA
  • Clothes
  • Fears
  • Sense of humour
  • Skills and abilities
  • Religion and beliefs
  • Accent
  • Gender
  • Sexuality
  • Essentialism vs anti-essentialism
How do you express and communicate your identity?
  • Clothes
  • Attitude
  • Behaviour
  • Languages
  • Music
  • Lifestyle
  • Choices - vegetarian - conspicuous consumption
  • Body modifications - piercings - boob jobs
  • Job/Career 
  • Emotional availability 
  • Social networking
  • Reality vs projected identity
A desire to project an identity about yourself, no simple answer to essentialism vs anti-essentialism debate.

The circle of culture;
Culture is the framework within which our identities are formed, expressed and regulated. We cannot discuss our identity without discussing, representation, regulation, consumption, production.

Identity formation;
  • Process from psychoanalysis
  • Jacques LACAN
  • The 'Hommelette'
  • The 'Mirror Stage'
When you are born you have no self awareness, LACAN called this 'Hommelette', a play on the word omelette, for a scrambled mess.
The mirror stage is a metaphor, a baby seeing itself in the mirror for the first time, seeing they are real, a thing, something whole and solid, 6-18months old.
  • Sense of self (subjectivity) built on.
  • An illusion of wholeness.
  • Receiving views from others.
  • RESULT=own subjectivity is fragile.
Constructing the 'other';
In the same way that we create our own identities, in opposition to what we are not, so does a society.
Problems; relies on the assumption of opposition and radical otherness.
 - I am a women as I'm not a man
 - I am white because I'm not black
 - I am straight because I'm not gay.
It is in the same way that we create our own.
 - Shores up unstable identities through illusion of unity.
 - Shared fashion, belief systems, values
 - Subterranean values (Matza, 1961)

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