Questions of Cultural Identity: SAGE Publications

Front Cover
Stuart Hall, Paul du Gay
SAGE, Apr 4, 1996 - Social Science - 208 pages
4 Reviews
Why and how do contemporary questions of culture so readily become highly charged questions of identity? The question of cultural identity lies at the heart of current debates in cultural studies and social theory. At issue is whether those identities which defined the social and cultural world of modern societies for so long - distinctive identities of gender, sexuality, race, class and nationality - are in decline, giving rise to new forms of identification and fragmenting the modern individual as a unified subject.

Questions of Cultural Identity offers a wide-ranging exploration of this issue. Stuart Hall firstly outlines the reasons why the question of identity is so compelling and yet so problematic. The cast of outstanding contributors then interrogate different dimensions of the crisis of identity; in so doing, they provide both theoretical and substantive insights into different approaches to understanding identity.

 

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Contents

Introduction Who Needs Identity?
1
From Pilgrim to Tourist or a Short History of Identity
18
Enabling Identity? Biology Choice and the New Reproductive Technologies
37
Cultures InBetween
53
Interrupting Identities TurkeyEurope
61
Identity and Cultural Studies Is That All There Is?
87
Music and Identity
108
Identity Genealogy History
128
Organizing Identity Entrepreneurial Governance and Public Management
151
The Citizen and the Man About Town
170
Copyright

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Page 4 - Though they seem to invoke an origin in a historical past with which they continue to correspond, actually identities are about questions of using the resources of history, language and culture in the process of becoming rather than being: not 'who we are...
Page 4 - Precisely because identities are constructed within, not outside, discourse, we need to understand them as produced in specific historical and institutional sites within specific discursive formations and practices, by specific enunciative strategies.
Page 4 - Above all, and directly contrary to the form in which they are constantly invoked, identities are constructed through, not outside, difference. This entails the radically disturbing recognition that it is only through the relation to the Other, the relation to what it is not, to precisely what it lacks, to what has been called its constitutive outside that the 'positive' meaning of any term - and thus its 'identity' - can be constructed (Derrida, 1981; Laclau, 1990; Butler, 1993).

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About the author (1996)

Stuart Hall was born and raised in Jamaica and arrived in Britain on a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford in 1950. In 1958, he left his PhD on Henry James to found the New Left Review, which did much to open a debate about immigration and the politics of identity. Along with Raymond Williams and Richard Hoggart he established the first Cultural Studies programme at a British university in Birmingham in 1964, bringing the study of popular culture into the understanding of political and social change.

After spending more than four decades as one of the UK’s leading public intellectuals, Hall retired from formal academic life in 1997 and since then has continued to devote himself to questions of representation, creativity and difference. He became the chair of two foundations, Iniva, the Institute of International Visual Arts, and Autograph ABP, which seeks to promote photographers from culturally diverse backgrounds, and championed the opening of Iniva’s new Rivington Place arts complex in east London in 2007.

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