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

Hi Martin,

My reading of Erikson is that the drive for identity is epiphenomenal to our other more basic, instinctual drives (Freudian in nature).  So we are not born with the drive for identity, but it is something that necessarily emerges in all of us.  How we then deal with fulfilling this drive is highly contextual and social.  


-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Martin John Packer
Sent: Wednesday, February 15, 2017 9:59 AM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: identity expressed or formed by action?


If “innate” means present at birth, I think the majority of developmental scientists would say that there are no indications that an infant has either an identity, or a drive to express one. The classic texts on the psychology of identity (not that you have to read them!) were those written by Erik Erikson, for whom identity is constructed, and the construction occurs - or at least begins - in adolescence.


> On Feb 15, 2017, at 9:52 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
> Thank you for the reference, Michael, but can't you tell me in a sentence or two whether there is any such thing as a drive to express one's self-identity in activity which is prior to the activity in which identity is formed?
> Andy
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> Andy Blunden
> http://home.mira.net/~andy
> http://www.brill.com/products/book/origins-collective-decision-making
> On 16/02/2017 1:46 AM, Wolff-Michael Roth wrote:
>> Andy,
>> I have worked out some of the issues in an article available online 
>> Roth, W.-M. (2009). Identity and community: Differences at heart and 
>> futures-to-come. Éducation et Didactique, 3, 99-118. (
>> http://educationdidactique.revues.org/582)
>> where "I present a way to realize the Hegel–Marx–Vygotsky–Leont’ev 
>> program of understanding the subject of activity and, correlatively, 
>> of understanding the (the culture of the) community with which 
>> individuals stand in an irreducible, because mutually constitutive relationship"
>> Michael
>> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
>> ----------- Wolff-Michael Roth, Lansdowne Professor Applied Cognitive 
>> Science MacLaurin Building A567 University of Victoria Victoria, BC, 
>> V8P 5C2 http://web.uvic.ca/~mroth 
>> <http://education2.uvic.ca/faculty/mroth/>
>> New book: *The Mathematics of Mathematics
>> <https://www.sensepublishers.com/catalogs/bookseries/new-directions-i
>> n-mathematics-and-science-education/the-mathematics-of-mathematics/>*
>> On Wed, Feb 15, 2017 at 6:17 AM, <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:
>>> Rob,
>>> So, in the way ‘she becomes a pollutant as waste’ can a person 
>>> become ‘an expressive identity’ as a formation of a particular cultural imaginary?
>>> Not a ‘pollutant’ or ‘an expressive identity’ to start with, but 
>>> becoming a pollutant or an expressive identity.
>>> Sent from my Windows 10 phone
>>> From: R.J.S.Parsons
>>> Sent: February 15, 2017 3:26 AM
>>> To: xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: identity expressed or formed by action?
>>> The idea of waste leads me to Mary Douglas's Purity and Danger. (One 
>>> of the books that made me grow up.) She discusses what dirt is - 
>>> matter out of place. Then she discusses all sorts of implications. She doesnt'
>>> discuss the issue of expression vs formation as such, but much of 
>>> what she does discuss bears on it. Menstruation comes to mind. In 
>>> some societies, women having their periods are perceived as dirty, 
>>> and they are seen as untouchable by men. So the way a woman is 
>>> treated forms in her the idea that she is a pollutant, or a carrier. 
>>> She was not one to start with.
>>> Rob
>>> On 15/02/2017 10:21, 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...
>>>> Best
>>>> LK
>>>> 2017-02-15 8:30 GMT+01:00 Andy Blunden <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
>>>>> --
>>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>> Andy Blunden
>>>>> http://home.mira.net/~andy
>>>>> http://www.brill.com/products/book/origins-collective-decision-mak
>>>>> ing