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Mapping Identity and Identification Processes

Approaches from Cultural Studies

Edited By Eduardo de Gregorio-Godeo and Angel Mateos-Aparicio Martin-Albo

This book deals with the subject of identity and identification within contemporary cultural studies and includes a selection of papers from the 14th International ‘Culture & Power’ Conference held in Ciudad Real, Spain, in 2010. The volume contributes to contemporary debates on identity-construction practices from various theoretical positions in different social, historic and national contexts. The initial section presents various theoretical discussions on how identity construction and identification phenomena are framed within current disciplinary debates about cultural studies and its future as an academic inter- and transdisciplinary field of enquiry. In the following sections, identity and identification processes are analysed from a variety of perspectives.
In particular, the articles delve into the construction of marginalised identities and the exploration of identification processes that subvert dominant, established or accepted cultural identities. The authors explore the role of print media and videogames in constructing and representing identities; they examine the construction of masculinities and femininities in film, music and gay liberation movements; they analyse the interplay between globalisation and nationalism and its impact on cultural products in Asia or Africa; and provide examples of cultural history approaches to the articulation of several national identities. Considered together, the chapters engage with the most relevant concerns pervading identity theory and cultural studies today.

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Introduction Eduardo de Gregorio-Godeo and Ángel Mateos-Aparicio Martín-Albo 13

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EDUARDO DE GREGORIO-GODEO AND ÁNGEL MATEOS-APARICIO MARTÍN-ALBO Introduction In its exploration of “the production and inculcation of culture or maps of culture” (Barker 2004, 42), contemporary cultural studies continues to be centrally concerned with the examination of identity and identification processes as one of its main concerns. Commonly apprehended as culturally specific and socially produced, identity is often conceived of as resulting from a whole range of different, possible identifications linked to specific modalities of power under particular social and historical conjunctures; hence the unstable and fluctuating nature of identities and identity formation processes. As Chris Barker’s makes it clear in connection with the anti-essentialist theoretical position which is commonly adopted within cultural studies: “identity is a process of becoming built from points of similarity and difference. There is no essence of identity to be discovered; rather cultural identity is continually being produced within the vectors of resemblance and distinction. Of course identity is a matter not only of self-description but also of social ascription” (2002, 224). Indeed the tension between self-description and social ascription has become fundamental in cultural studies examinations of how “both individuals and groups construct, negotiate and defend their self-understanding” (Edgar 2002, 183). Through processes of personal identification with discursively constructed subject positions, identities emerge across a wide range of cultural practices in the course of social interactions involving the use of language and other semiotic systems manifested in cultural artefacts of various kinds. Such identification processes entail “a form of emotional investment in the...

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