Since the 1940s, there has been an explosion of writings, both scientific and nonscientific, about the question of 'identity' and what it means to be an individual in today's world. This book examines sociological perspectives on identity in order to illuminate the perennial problem of defining the human person, and to pose an alternative definition of identity based on it being socially constructed. Beginning with a review of previous studies of identity, the authors present a set of propositions for organizing the wide range of uses of the term, and for arriving at an adequate definition of it. Identity is then analysed in two contexts: gender identity, linked to present bodies; and prenatal and postmortem identities, linked to future and past bodies. Whereas gender identity reveals the powerful but breakable link between body type and identity, prenatal and postmortem identities illustrate the symbolic reality and partial independence of identity from any corporeal existence. This is an innovative and insightful study which will appeal to all those concerned with understanding the nature of human identity.
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(228mm x 152mm x 13mm)
Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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