Tagged: identity

Identity, Late-Modernity, and the Consumer Society

The concept of identity is one that holds great appeal; gripping the attention of both scholars and society. Nevertheless, the literature reveals little consensus as to what identity actually means. The term is expansive and the prevailing way to study it is to select out specific aspects of any individual such as their gender, nationality, race/ethnicity, job status, family role, sexuality, and so on. However, there have been dominant theoretical perspectives when considering identity. Additionally, it appears that current social...

Boundaries, Power, and Self Expression

Sociologists frequently note that individuals – in effort to understand the social world – construct boundaries and make distinctions (Zerubavel, 1991). That is, in efforts to make sense of the world and its reality, individuals cut up, carve out, and make meaningful distinctions. Distinguishing one from another, that is “masculine” from “feminine”, “affluent” from “deprived”, “strong” from “weak”, and “right” from “wrong” provides an avenue for meaning and reality materialize. However, the same boundaries that construct a reality for individuals,...

The Ethnicity of White Americans: Hidden or All-Pervading?

In the U.S., whites are the dominant ethno-racial group. Interestingly, however, Doane (1997) and Nayak (2007) point out that this group has often been ignored in the race and ethnicity literature. As a result, Doane argues that the study of the dominant ethnic group in the United States has been underdeveloped, the ethnic hierarchy has not been adequately researched, the strategic use of the dominant role has lacked attention, and the evolution of this group has not been fully examined....

Muslim Identity, Cultural Trauma, and the Racialized Backlash

Jeffrey Alexander writes that “cultural trauma occurs when members of a collectivity feel they have been subjected to a horrendous event that leaves indelible marks upon their group consciousness, marking their memories forever and changing their future identity in fundamental and irrevocable ways” (2004). With this basic definition in mind, can we call the shootings that took place at the Fort Hood army base a “cultural trauma”? In this case, the identity of the United States military may have been...

The Clothes Make the (Heterosexual) Man

Dress codes in schools have long been a source of intergenerational conflict, control, and increasingly obvious, a way to police gender norms and sexuality.  In an article that interrogates these instances of specific gender and sexuality “violations” through clothing and accessories, we can see both an increase in apparel as a means of identity formation and exploration but also a trend that has received little attention.  Why is it that anytime a child or teen decides to transgress norms through...

The BNP meets the BBC

by paulabowles For the past few weeks the British media and public have hotly been debating the rights and wrongs of allowing the controversial British National Party [BNP] leader to appear on the BBC’s ‘flagship’ politics programme Question Time. Despite attempts to halt Nick Griffin’s appearance, the programme finally aired on Thursday 22 October 2009, with record viewing figures of 8 million. Since the broadcast, media analysis has been at fever pitch in an attempt to make sense of the...

Virtual Conference Report: Day Three (21 Oct, 2009)

Today’s papers have focused once more on the key motifs of the conference, that of breaking down borders and indisciplinarity. Nancy Naples (University of Connecticut) uses her paper: ‘Borderlands Studies and Border Theory: Linking Activism and Scholarship for Social Justice’ to highlight just some of the difficulties faced when ‘negotiate[ing] different disciplinary frames, methods, and theoretical assumptions in order to move forward toward collaborative problem solving’. The second paper today entitled ‘Theorizing Borders in a ‘Borderless World’: Globalization, Territory and Identity’...

Are you a Lesbian?: The Reification of Dichotomous Thinking

nmccoy1 For all of the talk about sexual expression and deconstructing gender categories, much of the public discussions regarding sexuality continue to reify the very concepts that tend to constrain us.  Proponents and members of LGBTQ communities must practice what they preach: to end discrimination and challenge heternormative institutions we have to move beyond hard and fast sexual designations.  A recent CNN article (see below) illustrates the pressures faced by bisexual and lesbian women to categorize themselves.  But does advocating...

Comparing the role of government in self-control problems from behavioural and neoclassical economic perspectives

This post has moved to http://williampaulbell.wordpress.com/2009/09/12/comparing-the-role-of-government-in-self-control-problems-from-behavioural-and-neoclassical-economic-perspectives/ <About>  <Portfolio>  <Academia>  <LinkedIn>  <Twitter>  <Blog> Member of the World Economics Association – promoting ethics, openness, diversity of thought and democracy within the economics profession

When the private becomes so very public: The case of Caster Semenya

By Rachael Liberman As the controversy surrounding 18-year-old  Caster Semenya’s gender (note the incorrect usage of “gender” as opposed to “sex”) verification test continues to raise questions about racism and sexism, issues of humiliation and trauma have surfaced as well. London’s The Guardian quoted Leonard Chuene, head of Athletics South Africa, as saying, “If gender tests have to take place, they should have been done quietly. It is a taboo subject. How can a girl live with this stigma? By...

(Untold) Storytelling

by theoryforthemasses Immigrants’ stories of sacrifice and (re)settlement are often overshadowed by statistics about demographics like educational attainment, income, and family size; the stories themselves remain untold. A recent New York Times article explores the impact of these stories on the children of immigrant families. Each year sociologist and Hunter College professor Nancy Foner teaches a class entitled “The Peopling of New York” wherein she asks students to interview a close relative about recent family history. Given that many of...

The Facebook Privacy Fiasco of 2009

by nathan jurgenson All over the news the past few days has been the outing of Facebook for changing its terms of service so that it could keep its user’s data for whatever it pleased for as long as it pleased. Even if the user deleted their account. Next came the vast uproar to this move followed by Facebook’s backtracking, arguing that the wording was harsher than what they would actually do in practice. Under continued pressure, however, Facebook backed...

prosumers of the world unite

by nathan jurgenson Lately, we have been doing lots of work, for others. For free. Millions of users of sites like Facebook and MySpace are clicking away at their profiles, adding detailed information about themselves and others. “We” are uploading content to sites like Flickr, YouTube, the microblogging service Twitter and many others, and our labor creates vast databases about ourselves –what I previously described as a sort of mass exhibitionism. Facebook’s profit model is built upon an ownership of...

the (post-structural) new-media digital-divide

by nathan jurgenson A major study (.pdf) on the way teens use social networking sites suggests that, “…their participation is giving them the technological skills and literacy they need to succeed in the contemporary world. They’re learning how to get along with others, how to manage a public identity, how to create a home page.” [quote is from this article’s coverage] Parents can no longer view MySpace as just a waste of time. In fact, so important are the skills...

Of Malls and Mosques

by theoryforthemasses Classical sociologists, Karl Marx, Max Weber, and Emile Durkheim, all suggested that as societies modernized, religion would begin to lose its influence on individuals and become more of a personal choice than a public mode of cohesion and control.  This secularization thesis is exemplified by Dubai, a place where Islam has converged with contemporary material luxuries, consumerism, and new notions of religious identity.  The secularization of Islam here is obvious as young and middle-aged Muslims, many of whom...