Anthropology 2222 – November 4 , 2013th
- Who we are is ultimately determined to the affiliations we had, the labels we
can give ourselves and the people around us. There is a feeling of belonging
to certain groups or a single group – Leve 2011: 513
Anthropology of “identity”
- A relatively new keyword in the field
Under the umbrella of identity
- Studies of national identity
o How is nationalism or the idea of a distinct national identity
experienced by people?
- Studies of ethnic or ethnicity
o How do groups of people organize and/ or imagine themselves as
members of distinct ethnic groups
- Studies of identity politics
o How do identity claims figure in political action
Leve on anthropologist’s involvement in identity politics
- Opportunities to align our work with the interests of marginalized groups in
need of support
o Longstanding history of anthropologists supporting the identity based
claims of indigenous peoples
- But also… attention to how our perspective on ideintity as an analytical
concept differs from that of those with whom we work
o Concerns over identity much like concerns over culture
- What happens when an analytical object – say culture or identity – is
allowed to operate as an interpretive term?
As you might expect, anthropological studies of identity tend to suggest the
complexity of what many of us experience as very simple, even fundamental
What do the clothes you wear say about who you are?
- What would Geertz say?