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Perverse Identities

Identities in Conflict

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Edited By Flocel Sabate

The urgent need for the study of exclusive identities in conflict is ever more apparent in a globalizing world in which societies are becoming multicultural and complex and in which inter-cultural contact and the co-existence of languages and cultures comes increasingly to bear on the construction of plural identities. The present book considers perversion in the construction of identity and the perverse usage of identity in areas such as social cohesion – xenophobia, racism, ostracism, rejection, ageism, marginalisation – and the mismanagement of linguistic identity, language groups and associated discriminatory practise arising out of historical and culturally based discrimination. The texts were submitted in an international meeting held in the Institute for Identities and Societies of the University on Lleida (Catalonia, Spain) in November 2012.
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Perverse Identities. Identities in conflict

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Flocel SABATÉ

Universitat de Lleida

We cannot live without identity. In the 12th century, Chrétien de Troyes explained that when the Knight of the Lion stopped remembering his past acts, he did not know who he was and stopped living like a human being: he went into the forest and fed on raw meat1. To be human and to live like, and among, humans, one has to maintain an identity, based on memory. This acts, structured as a historical account, as the thread that bonds a human being to a group, which then invokes its own cohesion or unity through social and cultural traits, shared over a time longer than the life of the individual2. The jumble of explicative ideas that act as the mortar to link the account of the memory that the identity is built on inextricably conditions the whole and how this is experienced. That is reason for the trilogy: identity, memory and ideology3.

Identity is concentric, the sum of circles of solidarity among its members. The working of European medieval society is a good example. The consolidation of the notion of lineage generated a specific cohesion, followed by another made up of the solidarity group, either feudal or a dependence on the band, to which another was added with the jurisdictional domain or being part of a municipal community. Above these, the consolidation of national feudal monarchies aimed to establish another higher circle, which was crowned by yet a...

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