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Multiple Identities

A Phenomenology of Multicultural Communication


Pradeep Ajit Dhillon

Using a lens forged by the phenomenology of Maurice Merleau-Ponty and world systems theory, the author examines the construction of a multiple set of identifications for the postcolonial self. These multiple identifications, in a world made multicultural through world economic processes like colonialism, provide the communicative networks around which identities are expressed and negotiated. The discussion rests on the concrete-historical praxis of the Jat Sikhs of Punjab, India. Through the institutions of education, agriculture, and the military, the Jat Sikhs were drawn into a multicultural world that gave rise to a multiple self. Focusing on this multiplicity goes some way towards explaining social and political conflict as it comes to coalesce around cultural issues. Moral dilemmas as well as political conflict arise from these multiple levels of identifications.
Contents: Different Worlds, Shared Theory? - Phenomenology in Sociolinguistic Inquiry - The Phenomenology of Maurice Merleau-Ponty - Defining Spatial-Historical Networks - Intersubjectivity and Temporalities - The Historical Institution of the Multicultural Self - The Ethics and Politics of Linguistic Action - Inhabiting Space - Lateral Universalism.