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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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Part V. Nationhood and Cultural History at the Crossroads 249


PART V. Nationhood and Cultural History at the Crossroads CHRIS WEEDON Autobiography as Cultural Politics in Multi-ethnic Britain You have to have knowledge of a wider experience to make sense of your own. Charlotte Williams, Sugar and Slate (48) In a classic essay published in Screen in 1988, Isaac Julien and Kobena Mercer wrote of representations of ethnic minorities: “If only one voice is given the “right to speak,” that voice will be heard by the major culture as “speaking for” the many who are excluded or marginalized from access to the means of representation” (Julien and Mercer 1988, 4). The ethics and politics of “speaking for” others have been much debated in anthropology, feminism, cultural and post- colonial studies and the voicing of experiential and autobiographical modes of representation has been important in these debates and the practice that emerged from them. Yet at the same time the authentic and transparent nature of autobiographical writing has been subject to extensive theoretical reconceptualisation, particularly in the light of poststructuralist critiques of the self-present, knowing subject and theories of the discursive construction of subjectivity across a wide range of social institutions and practices. In the media, however, the tendency to assume essentialist ideas of subjectivity grounded in racialised and gendered bodies and in perceptions of minority cultures, often informed by colonial legacies, remains pervasive. When a minority voice is read by the majority society as representative of a much wider and diverse group, such as British blacks or Muslims, it falls...

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