Week 11 Post
Dear Ed, I will finish the 9th post in these few days.
S During, “Debating Identity” in Cultural Studies: A Critical Introduction. Routledge: London, 2005, p. 145/
After reading this week’s reading “The Debating Identity” by During, my concept of identity, which has been existing in my mind for many years has expanded a lot. For many years, what I think of identity is it’s just a performance on stage, which let us to present a character. Moreover, in my view, it’s just an individual’s sense of personhood. However the read told me that identity is not just that simple.
I have noticed a few important features of identities described from this reading. First, identity is actually erasing the individuality we used to have. Second, sometimes we can’t choose our identities as it is give by others arbitrarily. However, we must enact the identity in order to show it out completely. Third, identities are culturally inflected as they could be fixed by the power relations within a community. Last, it could easily cause psychic damage to a person if his/her identity is under-evaluated.
The reading also introduced a term: “identity politics” to me. Identity politics began with the Civil rights movement in the USA during 1960s, after groups with specific cultural and social identities linked with politics. In the western cultural and politic, white, heterosexual men are considered as the in-group and the norm. They are looked as a group which have great power and high authority. Thus, the out-group people in this culture may face serious prejudice and discrimination. Sociologists think that there are problems in this concept as it erase internal differences, overlook identities around which lives are actually lived, as well as work, “by the principle of exclusion.” However identity politics did showed an importance of not to undervalue other’s identity and it could erase the negative stereotype and “undo” the psychic attack to the out-group.
The reading also introduced the Hybridity theory to me. The Hybridity theory identifies identity as not a marker and a stable trait shared across groups. Identity is actually a practice whose meaning and effect is constantly mutating as its context changes.
Identity is often linked with prejudice and discrimination. As a Chinese student in Australia, I often experience this kind of stuff. Like yesterday, when I was watching the UEFA champion league final in a pub, I was scolded by a white Aussie due to my cultural identity. He said, “Fxxk off you Chinese, you are not meant to be here!” After that, I was so scared then I left the pub.
As many sociologists said, identity is shaped by these social relationships and therefore is continually changing, reforming and solidifying. Thus, I really hope one day, the prejudice and discrimination problem between different cultural identify can be erased and solved.