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    I find identity a fascinating concept as many if not the majority of people I interact with have complex identities. Whereby they are partly or fully foreign in their origins. I think it's an emotive issue and more resonent than ever in todays multicultural britain. Religion & cultural origins / ethnic origins / class / place where we grew up, amongst others are all major parts of our identity I believe. We form identities as we go through life based on our interaction with the world around us. My mum is from the continent and my dads only quarter british but born here, yet because i'm white and have grown up in the uk people see me as more british than my mate who's half indian half english, and so in turn this becomes a self fulfilling prophecy and I feel more british. You have some second and third generation descendants of immigrants not feeling or being accepted as fully british but also not feeling or being accepted as fully indian/pakistani/west indian etc etc and so they mix with others like them as opposed to integrating into wider society. So I'm asking can the politics of identity have negative impacts on wider society and prohibit integration, or is this just an inevitable result of multi-culturalism that will pass with time? Politicians often talk about integration, but what does the word integrate actualy mean mean in this context? Does it mean descendants of immigrants loosing much of their parents culture and being absorbed into the mainstream of society? Or does it mean successfully existing in wider society but retaining their original culture. From what I have seen growing up I would say immigrant communities have adopted a kind of hybrid culture. Class also forms part of our identity, in london you have totaly middle class kids talking in mockney/jafaican accents so they can escape the dull middle class labels they get. Mr brown announced his plans for a "britishness day" I think its doomed to fail. Despite the fact that the majority of the UK is still british in origin, I think its absurb to try and artificially create patronism. Any countrys that do a lot of flag waving and overt patrionism do so because they are "new" countries. I suppose really what im asking is when does someone stop feeling foreign and start feeling british, and how british do they feel? Whats your identity?



    I know the posts a bit disjointed but thats just my thoughts and questions & I know i've used a couple of generalisations here, but to discuss something like this you do have to talk in broad terms.
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    (Original post by Time Tourist)
    So I'm asking can the politics of identity have negative impacts on wider society and prohibit integration, or is this just an inevitable result of multi-culturalism?
    It depends what you actually mean by identity politics here. I certainly don't see it as negative (or indeed possible to exclude) individual identities based on nation, culture, ethnicity etc.

    What I do see as enormously negative are attempts to politicise these identities and create division or political consciousness of them. Individual identities simply should not be an issue for debate, simply something we accept in one-another.

    Despite the fact that the majority of the UK is still british in origin, I think its absurb to try and artificially create patronism. Any countrys that do a lot of flag waving and overt patrionism do so because they are "new" countries.
    The United States is less than seventy years younger than Britain. There are plenty of countries that are older than us, and yet far more patriotic.

    Personally I think most of the time patriotism has to be invented to some degree. Take Trafalgar Day: totally off the map, until the government decided to sponsor some celebrations for the 200th anniversary. Equally the Golden Jubilee - probably the most patriotic event in my memory - all directed and planned. People do not burst into spontaneous fits of patriotism.

    I suppose really what im asking is when does someone stop feeling foreign and start feeling british, and how british do they feel? Whats your identity?
    Presumably one's national identity is a thing specific to the individual.

    Personally, I'm dully British - my family have been on this island for centuries; so my identity is hardly interesting on that front. However it is a challenge to actually identify what identities are most important to a person: in this context, I consider myself a human being foremost. My country comes reasonably far down the list.
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    What I do see as enormously negative are attempts to politicise these identities and create division or political consciousness of them. Individual identities simply should not be an issue for debate, simply something we accept in one-another.
    i agree, i suppose im just curious to see what peoples own identities are based on their heritage...

    it's interesting in a country like france they are much more firm about everyone being french before they are anything else, then is the case in the uk
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    My primary identity is as a 'star child' on the basis that much of the material from which I am composed, i.e. elements other than hydrogen (and possibly helium - I'm not that hot on astronomy) such as carbon and oxygen, were formed in the centres of stars. In this respect we are all 'star children'.

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    My primary identity is as a 'star child' on the basis that much of the material from which I am composed, i.e. elements other than hydrogen (and possibly helium - I'm not that hot on astronomy) such as carbon and oxygen, were formed in the centres of stars. In this respect we are all 'star children'.
    !

    He's so romantic!
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    interesting topic happen to catch this weeks dispatches?
    There is a concept that you define yourself by first definging other. What it means is that you see what you are not and then fit yourself into the remaing gaps.
    described that a bit crap but its human geography stuff (ps i drifted off in those lectures) but its all part of the concepts of space and place.

    i would describe my self as british - not english - though i was born and have lived in england all of my life. This is bacause i do not support what i have percived as the negative sterotypical view of the english that i have formed (probably from the media mainly)
    I see myself as a British person of Celtic origin, based on my parents and family heritage (name) also due to my physical apperance (ginger hair, fair skin and green eyes)
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    The politics of identity are designed to corrupt, yet on the other hand are an important part of society.

    On one hand, the politics of identity can be used to achieve personal gain. The prime example of this is Hitler's expansion campaign of the late 1930s. At Versailles, people were granted the right to 'self-determination'. In some cases this worked - i.e. in the breakup of the Austrian Empire where Czechs, Poles and Slavs were given their own nations. However, Hitler used this to avert the Treaty by forcing Anchluss with Austria as well as add the Sudeten region of Czechoslovakia to the German Reich, claiming that this is only utilizing the right to self-determination of the German peoples.

    Another example is in the break-up of the British empire, and in particular Zimbabwe. We give the Zimbabwean people the right to self-determination yet complain when they elect a leader who turns out to be despotic and tyrannical (I do not support Mugabe by the way). It must be said in contrast to this that Thatcher's government did initially support Mugabe as a counter-Communist alternative.

    However, the politics of identity are important, as it allows people to feel part of a collective group. I feel myself to be Scottish, as I share a culture, educational system, heritage etc with other Scots.

    Also, it is only right that people of the same identity can govern themselves. It would be totally unjust if the Empire still existed, in that the people of the Indian subcontinent, Africa and parts of Oceania were governed by people thousands of miles away that shared almost nothing in common with them, and did not know of their best interests.
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    (Original post by AndyK67)
    However, the politics of identity are important, as it allows people to feel part of a collective group. I feel myself to be Scottish, as I share a culture, educational system, heritage etc with other Scots.
    Aside from the educational system (I took A-levels in a Scottish independent school - I wonder if that makes me English? :p: ), which I believe is ridiculous in itself and should be harmonised across the UK, I don't see how those things are remotely political.

    One can have an identity without politicising it.

    Also, it is only right that people of the same identity can govern themselves. It would be totally unjust if the Empire still existed, in that the people of the Indian subcontinent, Africa and parts of Oceania were governed by people thousands of miles away that shared almost nothing in common with them, and did not know of their best interests.
    Well, I don't think it has much to do with their identities: democratic government is good. What is to be objected to in terms of the Empire was the fact that the colonies were not represented at the top level of administration: there was no MP for Central Quebec City, Cape Town or the West Riding of Calcuttashire, yet the Imperial Parliament had supreme legislative authority over them.

    However simply grouping people of multiple identities together equally where all are represented does not bother me remotely - indeed, it is the situation in most states that some minorities with separate identities do exist.
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    (Original post by L i b)
    However simply grouping people of multiple identities together equally where all are represented does not bother me remotely - indeed, it is the situation in most states that some minorities with separate identities do exist.
    I agree that in some cases this has worked. However, we cannot deny people the right to self-determination and potential independence where it is asked for. Otherwise, we end up with situations similar to that of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, Chechnya when the conflict was at it's height, Kosovo more recently and to a lesser extent the war waged by ETA to highlight the issue of Basque nationalism.
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    (Original post by AndyK67)
    However, we cannot deny people the right to self-determination and potential independence where it is asked for.
    We can and certainly do. Self determination as a concept does not give a right to secession except in perhaps (and even this is shaky) extreme cases, where the group in question is being abused or oppressed.

    Otherwise, we end up with situations similar to that of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, Chechnya when the conflict was at it's height, Kosovo more recently and to a lesser extent the war waged by ETA to highlight the issue of Basque nationalism.
    Well, as a liberal I completely disagree with the concept of collective rights. Even so, I don't think it is by any means disastrous to govern over a group of people when the majority would prefer to secede: the existence of violent nationalist movements represents to me a quite different failing of the state: that it often legitimises such movements and thereby encourages those who seek to represent secessionist tendencies as normal.

    If anything, I think removing the whole concept from the sphere of state relations would be more likely to stop conflict than anything else.
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    (Original post by L i b)
    Well, I don't think it has much to do with their identities: democratic government is good. What is to be objected to in terms of the Empire was the fact that the colonies were not represented at the top level of administration: there was no MP for Central Quebec City, Cape Town or the West Riding of Calcuttashire, yet the Imperial Parliament had supreme legislative authority over them.
    True, but I don't think anyone would have listened to them anyway. Where's the incentive? You're not going to lose the vote or anything like that, which would happen in a democracy.

    (Original post by L i b)
    However simply grouping people of multiple identities together equally where all are represented does not bother me remotely - indeed, it is the situation in most states that some minorities with separate identities do exist.
    Yup. I think Britain falls under this category pretty well.
 
 
 
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