“In modern capitalist societies, non-elites are “encouraged” to accept the inferior identities elites ascribe to them in talk and interaction … as if they were the actual achieved identities of these non-elite people, achieved on the basis of their lack of skill, intelligence, morality, or sufficient effort in comparison with the elites …non-elites accept the perspectives of the elites, internalize them, and use them to judge themselves in negative ways. There is no need, as there was in “premodern” conditions, for overt force or direct institutional backing for the social hierarchy.” (Gee, 2000: 113)
‘What is identity and how can it be understood?’ This question was uppermost in my mind, wwhen I attended the CLIS conference, last year. Gee (2000) formed a useful starting point to my (still on-going) exploration. Gee’s four ways of concpetualising identity seem helpful and I was particularly struck (and angered) by his example on pages 116-119. I don’t think it could happen here (i.e. in England) but I’m not absolutely sure!
The Academic Reading Group is for any academic member of staff who would like to participate (mentally and/or vocally!) in debate around the significant issues that are raised in academic papers. We meet next on Friday, Nov 18, at 2.00 in the Library study room. All academic members of staff are welcome. The paper for discussion can be downloaded here: