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[Xmca-l] Re: identity expressed or formed by action?

That's a good answer, Laure. I interpret your answer: activity is the substance of mind, not some given set of concepts.

Thank you!


Andy Blunden
On 15/02/2017 9:21 PM, Laure Kloetzer wrote:
Dear Andy,

Interestingly, I had a very similar discussion with some colleagues recently not on identity but on... waste. The perspective of one of our students was that investigating what waste is can be done via interviews, in order to understand how we decide what to through away. I was arguing that waste is not fully defined before action, but that waste is what we through away. The action of throwing away is formative of what count as "waste". I thought it might help to step back for one second from the tricky question of self-identity and considering more concrete, everyday activities before coming back to it...

2017-02-15 8:30 GMT+01:00 Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>>:

    I would be interested in any helpful comments (other
    than suggestions for more books to read) from my xmca
    psychologist friends on this problem.

    In discussion with a friend, who is very au fait with
    contemporary social philosophy, but knows nothing of
    CHAT, suggested to me a number of ideas intended to be
    explanatory (rather than descriptive) of current
    social and political trends. He talks about the rise
    of "expressive authenticity" since the 1970s and
    "collective action as a means to express selfhood." In
    response, I questioned whether there is any such thing
    as a drive to *express* one's identity, and that
    rather, collective action (and there is fundamentally
    no other kind of action) in pursuit of needs of all
    kinds (spiritual, social and material) is *formative*
    of identity.

    A classic case for analysis is the well-known
    observation that nowadays people purchase (clothes,
    cars, food, ...) as a means of expressing their
    identity. I question this, because it presumes that
    there is the innate drive to express one's identity,
    which I see no evidence for. I think people adopt
    dress styles in much the same way that people carry
    flags - to promote a movement they think positive and
    to gain social acceptance in it. Identity-formation is
    a *result* not a cause of this.

    So, am I wrong? Is identity formation a result or a
    cause of activity?


-- ------------------------------------------------------------
    Andy Blunden
    http://home.mira.net/~andy <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy>