Identity: A Very Short Introduction
Product details:

No. of pages:176 pages
Size:176x115x10 mm
Weight:132 g
Illustrations: 13 black and white images

Identity: A Very Short Introduction

Publisher: OUP Oxford
Date of Publication:
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Short description:

'Identity' as a concept has many faces, and its very versatility in different contexts can make it hard to define. Florian Coulmas discusses the many meanings of this slippery concept, considering why individual and collective identities are important to us, and discussing the problems asserting individual identities can create.

Long description:
Identity has become one of the most widely used terms today, appearing in many different contexts. Anything and everything has an identity, and identity crises have become almost equally pervasive. Yet 'identity' is extremely versatile, meaning different things to different people and in different scientific disciplines. To many its meaning seems self-evident, since its various uses share common features, so often the term is used without a definition of what, exactly, is meant by it. This provokes the core question: What exactly is identity?

In this Very Short Introduction Florian Coulmas provides a survey of the many faces of the concept of identity, and discusses its significance and varied meanings in the fields of philosophy, sociology, and psychology, as well as politics and law. Tracing our concern with identity to its deep roots in Europe's intellectual history, individualism, and the felt need to draw borderlines, Coulmas identifies the most important features used to mark off individual and collective identities, and demonstrates why they are deemed important. He concludes with a glimpse at the many ways in which literature has engaged with problems of identity throughout history.

ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

By setting the concept of identity in its correct historical, philosophical, cultural, political, and sociological context, Florian Coulmas brilliantly rescues one of the most overused and abused words of recent decades and demonstrates why it has such relevance for contemporary debates
Table of Contents:
Introduction: an identity wave
"Who am I?" Identity in philosophy
Identity in logic and the classical law of thought
Given or constructed? Identity in cultural anthropology
Adam and Eve, Hijra, LGBTQs and the shake-up of gender identities
Identity politics: promises and dangers
"Your station in life." Social identities in our time
Citizenship, legal status, and proof of identity - identity as a legal concept
Selfhood, character, and personality - the psychology of identity
"They don't speak our language." Identity in linguistics
Who is behind the mask? Identity in literature and literary criticism
Further reading