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Culture and Identity (Kidd, 2002)

Monday, November 12th, 2007 @ 12:17 pm
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I have been reading this book which gives an interdisciplinary theoretical perspective to the topic, although the main emphasis is from a sociological point of view. It emphasis that culture and identity is a major thoretical and empirial development in contemporary sociology. It is good to record soem quotes for future reference in my literature review, such as:p. 9

the sociologist Raymond Williams (1983) in his book Key words: a vocabulary of culture and society says:

“culture is one of the two or theree most complicated words in the english language. This is partly so because of its intricate historical development, in several European languages, but maily because it has now come to be used for important concepts in several distinct intellectual disciplines and in several distinct incompatible systems of thought”

p, 13 reference to links to psychoanalytic theory etc

p. 23: Margaret Archer (1996), echoing William’s statement suggests that the concept of culture suffers from two main problems in modern thought: a. the concept is too vague as there are many unclear definitions and it means different things to different thinkers and b. teh concept is interpreted in 2 extreme ways: either as a supreme power rulling over all and controlling all actions or as shared meanings that individuals have the power to manipulate as they wish

p. 26 Stuart Hall (1990) notes that “identity is not as transparent or unproblematic as we think”. he suggest an image of a moving, fluid and dynamic identity, much of a process of becoming (very much like Rogers!)

p. 84 good discussion about postmodernity. According to Anderson (1996: 6): “postmodernity us teh age of over-exposure to otherness – because, in travelling, you put yourself into a different reality; because, as a result of immigration, a different reality comes to you; because, with no physical movement at all, only the relentless and ever-increasing flow of information, cultures interpenetrate”(so relevant to my research!)

p. 92 Richard rorty (1989, 1996) about Truth

BRICOLAGE (p. 144, Levi-strauss) – to connect this to my methodology chapter….he uses the term to discuss the role played by humans in the creation of cultural meaning:

“Bricoleurs create new cultural meanings from the vintage point of existing meanings within the cultural system, from which they borrow their raw materials. Accepted cultural meaning is ‘played with’and changed, but from within the structure. Menaing cannot come from ‘nothingness’. It has to use what is already there, but in different forms and combinations. this process of bricolage -the creation of symbolic cultural meanings – is the same for work of adt as it is for tribal cultural myth, a sociological theory or even a Western scientific law”


Kevin Robins (1997) notes that although globalisation refers to the global narrowing of space and time it does not, paradoxically refer to the loss of local identities and cultures. Rather is refers to the spread of the ‘local’ to teh global stage. In other words, we become more aware of the difference of others through the spread of the regional and local differences across time and space. We are not moving towards a common global culture shared by all, but towards greater awareness of teh variety of ethnic identities. the end result of globalisation is not global similarity, but increased awareness of global difference (I would challenge that with the arguments for universal values and spiritual connectedness!). The questioning of boundaries and identity is both disorientating and liberating. It can lead to increase anxiety and conflict, or to increased tolearance and harmony

David Morley (1994) gives a warning around postmodern interpretation of globalisation! What many postmodernists ignore is that there has always been a global awareness of difference and others, especially as a result of the colonial and imperial past of many European nations. when postmodenists write about such increased awareness, tehy are referring to the increased recognition by those in the rich countries. third world societies have been having such awarenss long ago….so interconnectedness of global cultures and identities is not that new!

p. 203: Bauman (1990) talks about notions of community and togetherness, he suggests that while groups may talk about ‘us’ and ‘them’, one cannot exist without the other

This is a book to look at again, especially the conclusion comments in each chapter

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