Monday, 28 October 2013



You can't escape your own identity. This is essentialism or an essentialist way of thinking; for example personalities and characteristics are pre determined when born through their genetic make-up.

An anti-essentialist thinking is one which is adapted more often today in modern society. So for example, your characteristics are shown through modern day upbringing and society around us.

Identity and digital identity has changed through the past decades. Through this you can become someone entirely different with a new personality and identity. This is sometimes referred to as Escapism. Digital medias have made it easier and more appealing to promote the idea of identity, that people place more thought and attention into their 'alter egos', This is used through programmes such as 'second life'.  This has been commodified by consumerism and capitalism. 

Identity has become more fluid, and becomes more unstable with time goes on. We can constantly and endlessly reinvent ourselves. 

Identity and 'the Other' in visual representation:

Concept of Otherness. What makes us think we are what we are? And how we do this in the relation to the rest of society?

- Creation of Identities
- Concept of 'Otherness'
- Analysis of Visual Example.

Who we are, and how others perceive who we are.

Identity Creation; What Makes You, You?
Physical and Social Dialectic elements make up the topic of Identity. 

Hair Cut/Colour
Moaning Level
Marital Status & Conventions
Education - State vs Private, Higher Education, etc. Depends on class/social status/location/skill set.
Likes and Dislikes
Bedroom & Interiors
Origin & Heritage
Political Views
Parents/Socialisation (Institutions and framework)
Environment/Era - People view differently due to the context or era to which they're born in. Societies and environments change with time periods and eras, for example 1920s - Present.
Diet - Alters Body Image and Health - "You are what you eat". People's bodies are being commodified to the people which buy them. Eating and diet also affects diet.
Physical and Social Effects

In our day-to-day life, how do we show who we are?:

Make-Up, Jewellery, Tattoos, Piercings
Clothes, Brands, Fashion - Fashion is an expression and a barrier at the same time. 
Verbal Language
Body Language
Etiquette and Manners
Talking and Listening
Materialistic Items/Possessions
Money and Brands - Relative to clothing and fashion.
Mannerisms - Easily gets hidden in consumer society
Accent - Adapting identity to fit in with codes etc
Hobbies and Interests
Who you are associated with on a day to day basis; friends, colleagues etc.
Laws and legality.

What we are sometimes trying to put across, is not necessarily what is received through subcultures and pre-dertermined stereotypes. 

All of the above examples fall into 'Subjectivity' - our sense of ourselves which is complex and un easy to pin down. It is a complex, multi determined ideology, which has been given to use by society.

Culture is the framework within which our identities are formed, expressed and regulated. The diagram below shows the limitations and factors of society which give us our representation as an individual identity. Identity is a complex idea which is relfected through the diagram, it isn't enough to just say our identity is about our jobs, possessions etc. It is a multi-determined, interlinked idea which needs to be understood throughly before making judgements. 

The Circuit of Culture - Stuart Hall

Identity Formation:
Psychoanalyst - Jaques Lacan

- Sense of self (subjectivity) built on receiving views from others
- But this subjectivity is based on an illusion of wholeness and independence.
- The 'Hommelette' (French for Man, mixed up parts of identity) and The 'Mirror Stage' were founded by Lacan.
You have no perception of yourself as a separate being. 

'The Mirror Stage' is primarily known between 6-18 months old. It is the first stage in realising identity. We gain a sense of who we are by the outsiders reaction of to who we are. This makes us individuals and independent. 

Sense of self subjectivity is built on:

- an illusion of wholeness 
- receiving views from others

Result = Own subjectivity is fragile.

We are always searching for security and subjectivity causing a non-stable identity which can change day to day.

Constructing the 'Other':
Problems: relies on the assumption of opposition and radical otherness.

We measure ourselves against others as what we are not, or what we are. 

In the same way that we create our own identities, in opposition to what we are not, so does a society.