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Beyond identity ?
IDIS - Identity in the information society (2009)
  • Serge Gutwirth
The concept of ‘identity’ offers little hope, even when it is subtly and dynamically conceived. My reasons for this scepticism are clear. On the one hand, collective identities are always constraining reductions, limiting the freedom of self-determination of the individual, reducing him or her to one or two of his/her characteristics. On the other, in most of its common understandings, the individual concept of ‘identity’ refers to something static, pre-existing, determining and even ‘imprisoning’ the individual. Even when such a narrow view is not taken and when the concept of individual identity is more subtly and dynamically conceived, I persist, because then the word ‘identity’ is oddly chosen, and at least confusing. Indeed, ‘identity’ is not exactly the first word that comes to mind to describe a never-ending interactive, unconstrained, highly complex and pragmatic process of construction and reconstruction of the self and its place in the many networks and societies of our lives. To put it bluntly, there might well be no worse concept than ‘identity’ to express this process.
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Serge Gutwirth. "Beyond identity ?" IDIS - Identity in the information society Vol. 1 Iss. 1 (2009)
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