Signs of Identity: The Anatomy of Belonging

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Signs of Identity
cover
Cover of the first English edition
Author(s) Martin Ehala
Country United States of America
Language English
Genre(s) Sociology/Identity Studies/Psychology
Publisher Routlledge
Publication year 2018
Pages 182
ISBN 1138280941

Signs of Identity: The Anatomy of Belonging by Martin Ehala is a detailed work on identology.

About the book

Signs of Identity presents an interdisciplinary introduction to collective identity, using insights from social psychology, anthropology, sociology and the humanities. It takes the basic concept of semiotics – the sign – as its central notion, and specifies in detail in what ways identity can be seen as a sign, how it functions as a sign, and how signs of identity are related to those who have that identity. Recognizing that the sense of belonging is both the source of solidarity and discrimination, the book argues for the importance of emotional attachment to collective identity. The argument is supported by a large number of real-life examples of how collective emotions affect group formation, collective action and inter-group relations. By addressing the current issues of authenticity and the Self, multiculturalism, intersectionality and social justice, the book helps to stimulate discussion of the contested topics of identity in contemporary society.

About the Author

Martin Ehala is Professor of Literacy Education, Senior Research Felow, Institute of Estonia and General Linguistics, University of Tartu, Estonia.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations x

Preface xi

Introduction

Overview of the book 3

The core of the argument 5

  • Our different assumptions 5
  • Language as a model 7
  • Essentialism and structuralism 8
  • Values and ethnocentrism 10
  • Interpellation 11
  • Emotional attachment 13

Chapter 1: The conceptions of collective identity

The foundations of identity research 16

Micro-level approaches 19

Macro-level approaches 27

  • Early macro-level approaches 28
  • Recent macro-level approaches 31

Two-level approaches 35

Summary 38

Chapter 2: The Nature of Social Phenomenon

  • Communication 43
  • The concept of sign 45
  • Icon, index and symbol 48
  • Social phenomenon as symbols 50

Chapter 3:Identity as sign

  • Identity communications 57
  • The structure of collective identity 61
  • Identity language 65
  • Social stratification

Chapter 4:Identity signals

Human diversity 74

Types of signals 75

  • Inherited features 75
  • Entrenched features 77
  • Elected features 78

Categorization 80

Gender and race 82

Ethnicity and nation 85

Boundary permeability 86

Chapter 5: Identity meanings

  • Core values 91
  • Types of core values 93
  • Stereotypes 96
  • Ethnocentrism 98
  • Meta values: unity 100
  • Meta values: authenticity 103

Chapter 6: Identification

  • Personal identification 108
  • The Self 110
  • Disidentification 112
  • Recognition 115
  • Intersectionality 118
  • Double identification 119

Chapter 7: Identity negotiation

  • Social construction 125
  • Deconstruction 127
  • Communication accommodation 129
  • Grouping and contrasting 130
  • The power of narrative 133
  • The Bronze Soldier case 135

Chapter 8: Hot and cold identities

Collective emotions 142

  • fear versus security 144
  • Hope versus despair 145
  • Pride versus shame 146
  • Anger versus guilt 147

Identity confusion 148

  • Cold groups 149
  • Hot groups 151

Conflicts in core values 151

Chapter 9: Epilogue

  • What next? 157
  • The changing world 157
  • Anatomy of belonging 159
  • Paradox of liberal multiculturalism 161
  • Prognosis 163

Index 166

Publication Data

Signs of Identity: The Anatomy of Belonging, Martin Ehala, 2018, Routledge, ISBN 1138280941 (ISBN13: 978-1138280946)