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Identity: A Very Short Introduction

Florian Coulmas

February 2019

ISBN: 9780198828549

168 pages
Paperback
174x111mm

In Stock

Very Short Introductions

Price: £8.99

'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.

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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.

  • Introduces identity, one of the most iconic concepts of our time, which is used ubiquitously but rarely explained
  • Discusses the various uses of 'identity' separately for different fields of study - philosophy, psychology, sociology, gender studies, and linguistics
  • Compares Western concepts and theories of identity with similar concepts in other parts of the world.
  • Explains how contemporary trends in marketization and globalization have made identity increasingly important to us in the last 50 years
  • Outlines the historical background to the concept of identity
  • Part of the Very Short Introductions series - over nine million copies sold worldwide

About the Author(s)

Florian Coulmas, Professor of Japanese Society and Sociolinguistics, IN-EAST, Duisburg-Essen University, Duisburg, Germany

Florian Coulmas is Professor of Japanese Society and Sociolinguistics at the IN-EAST Institute of East Asian Studies at Duisburg-Essen University. Prior to this, he has held research and teaching positions at Georgetown University, the National Institute of Japanese Language and Linguistics, and Chuo University. He has published numerous books, including An Introduction to Multilingualism (OUP, 2017) and Writing and Society: A Introduction (Cambridge University Press, 2013). For the past three decades he has served as Associate Editor of the International Journal of the Sociology of Languages, during which time he has observed the steadily increasing use of the concept of identity in both general and scholarly publications.

Table of Contents

    Introduction: an identity wave
    1:"Who am I?" Identity in philosophy
    2:Identity in logic and the classical law of thought
    3:Given or constructed? Identity in cultural anthropology
    4:Adam and Eve, Hijra, LGBTQs and the shake-up of gender identities
    5:Identity politics: promises and dangers
    6:"Your station in life." Social identities in our time
    7:Citizenship, legal status, and proof of identity - identity as a legal concept
    8:Selfhood, character, and personality - the psychology of identity
    9:"They don't speak our language." Identity in linguistics
    10:Who is behind the mask? Identity in literature and literary criticism
    Conclusions
    Further reading
    Index

Reviews

"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" - Professor Roger Goodman

"Coulmas' masterful coverage of a diverse range of literature, from philosophy, law and psychology to linguistics, anthropology, and politics, makes this short introduction a treasure trove for anyone who wishes to understand or research issues of identity in history as well in the contemporary world. An invaluable guide to a fascinating field." - Li Wei, Chair of Applied Linguistics, University College London, UK