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Collective identities

“Collective identities are in constant interplay with personal


identities, but they are never simply the aggregate of
individuals’ identities. If collective identity describes what
makes people occupying a category similar, personal identity
is the bundle of traits that we believe make us unique”. 
Francesca Polletta, Collective identity and social movements (2001)
Collective identity
“a shared sense of one-ness or we-ness anchored in real or
imagined shared attributes and experiences among those
who comprise the collectivity and in relation or contrast to
one or more actual or imagined sets of ‘others’”.
David Snow, Collective Identity and Expressive Forms (2001)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcOQF4XLIVQ
Nation: Etymology
 c.1300, from Old French nacion "birth, rank;
descendants, relatives; country, homeland "
 and directly from Latin nationem: "birth,
origin; breed, stock, kind, species; race of
people, tribe", literally "that which has been
born".
 Earliest English examples inclined toward the
racial meaning "large group of people with
common ancestry".
The Gellner Thesis
'Nationalism is not the awakening
of nations to self-consciousness: it
invents nations where they do not
exist.‘

– Ernest Gellner (1965), Thought and Change, p. 169.


Construction of national
Identity: identification, Otherisation
 The notion of historical continuity:
– Invention of Tradition – Eric Hobsbawm
– Foundational Myths – Roland Barthes
 A marked sense of difference between the in-
group and significant Other(s):
– Imagined Communities – Benedict Anderson
– Narcissism of Minor Differences
Links Multiculturalism,
Globalisation
Globalisation, Santa's Workshop:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQh2C
or full film in one stretch (32 min.)
http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/santas-work
Multiculturalism, Merkel:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-1
Multiculturalism, Cameron:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-1237
Cultural Migration: processes

Acculturation: cultural modification of a


group; adapting to another culture and
adopting its traits. Transition of one culture into
another.

Deculturation: the parallel process that ends


in a loss or uprooting of home culture

Transculturation: the creation of new cultural


phenomena, hybridisation
Integration Policies:
Assimilation

'Physiology: the conversion of absorbed food


into the substance of the body'
(dictionary.com)

The expectation from migrants 'To fully


become part of a different society, country; to
absorb into the culture or mores of a
population or group'
(Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)

...to assume the identity of the receiving


community (zero-sum game/ dichotomy)
Integration Policies:
Multiculturalism

Descriptive / Demographic: A social context in which


many different ethnic communities live together
Ideological: An approach to dealing with cultural diversity
that endorses acceptance, equality, and pluralism
“A society that is at ease with the rich tapestry of human life and
the desire amongst people to express their own identity in the
manner they see fit”

Kevin Bloor, Political Scientist in J. Stuart, Unpacking the Impacts of Cultural Diversity: Why
Multiculturalism Matters

Slideshare: http://de.slideshare.net/nzhumanrights/jaimee-stuart-
why-multiculturalism-matters
Les Banlieux
Culture
 “ahistorically transmitted pattern of
meanings embodied in symbols, a
system of inherited conceptions
expressed in symbolic forms by means
of which men communicate, perpetuate
and develop their knowledge about and
attitudes toward life”
 Clifford Geertz
Culture
 Culture is
“simply the ensemble of stories we tell
ourselves about ourselves”
Geertz, The Interpretation of Culture

(But are they always the same stories?)


Cultural Shifts:
“a culture […] is always both traditional and creative”.

“The making of a mind is, first, the slow learning of


shapes, purposes, and meanings, so that work,
observation and communication are possible.

Then, second, but equal in importance, is the testing of


these in experience, the making of new observations,
comparisons, and meanings.

A culture has two aspects:


– the known meanings and directions, which its
members are trained to;
– the new observations and meanings, which are
offered and tested.“