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Identity in Anthropology


Finke, Peter; Sökefeld, Martin (2018). Identity in Anthropology. In: Callan, Hilary. The International Encyclopedia of Anthropology. U.S.A: John Wiley & Sons, 3091-3103.

Abstract

Identity is a key term in anthropology but it is also a contested one, dealing with the question of who we are in relation to others. It relates, on the one hand, to categories of the individual or sameness with oneself and, on the other, to collective distinctions of otherness. It is both a practice and a process of cognitive classification. It is fluid and transcends boundaries but, to a certain degree, has to be stable in order for others to identify one as theirs. Furthermore, it is at the same time a public discourse and an obvious phenomenon in the world and is thus an object of inquiry if not an analytical category. Most prominent among the many identity aspects we employ is probably the ethnic one, which hinges on a bundle of markers used to distinguish each other in presumed cultural terms, always embedded in power games that try to secure political support and loyalty.

Abstract

Identity is a key term in anthropology but it is also a contested one, dealing with the question of who we are in relation to others. It relates, on the one hand, to categories of the individual or sameness with oneself and, on the other, to collective distinctions of otherness. It is both a practice and a process of cognitive classification. It is fluid and transcends boundaries but, to a certain degree, has to be stable in order for others to identify one as theirs. Furthermore, it is at the same time a public discourse and an obvious phenomenon in the world and is thus an object of inquiry if not an analytical category. Most prominent among the many identity aspects we employ is probably the ethnic one, which hinges on a bundle of markers used to distinguish each other in presumed cultural terms, always embedded in power games that try to secure political support and loyalty.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, not_refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
390 Customs, etiquette & folklore
Uncontrolled Keywords:Alevis, Tajiks, Uzbeks, cognition, ethnicity, gender, nationalism, self
Language:English
Date:2018
Deposited On:07 Mar 2019 11:40
Last Modified:25 Sep 2019 00:28
Publisher:John Wiley & Sons
ISBN:9781118924396
Additional Information:Publikation online und print
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118924396.wbiea2142

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