Was ist Mehrfachidentität ? Wie funktioniert sie ? (1994 - Ljubljana)
Veranstalter: Slowenische Nationale Unesco-Kommission und Institut für Ethnische Studien

BEITRÄGE


Multiple identity: What it is and how it works (1994 - Ljubljana)
hosted by the Slovenian National Commission of Unesco and the Institute of Ethnic Studies

CONTRIBUTIONS

 

Arne Haselbach

On Ways and Patterns of Thinking "Identity" [*]


The general theme chosen for our meeting is "Multiple Identity - What is it? How does it work?"

As this meeting is part of a series of scientific meetings aimed at throwing some more light on societal situations involving "Overlapping Cultures and Plural Identities" my contribution is going to interpret the lead questions in that light.

In order to establish the background of my approach centered on thinking about identity I first give a quick overview on ways and patterns of thinking. Secondly, I deal with one central aspect of identity, the widely shared view that the individual is the central reference point of his world. Next, I take a structural look at the life of individuals and of life worlds and discuss their implications for identity. The last part is devoted to a summary of the argument and to clarifying some possible misunderstandings concerning the notion of plural identities of individuals.

 

1. On Ways and Patterns of Thinking

In the forefront of my interest in the issues raised by our theme is one subgroup of empirical facts concerning identity, namely those that are established by the ways in which human beings in our parts of the world think about identity.

For, as I see it, thinking in terms of identity and thinking about identity are processes that constitute identity and are, at the same time, among the main ways how identity works.

Thinking is Dealing Mentally with the World and with One-Self

When I use the expressions "patterns of thinking" and "ways of thinking" I do not refer to "thinking" as the field artificially restricted to verbal thinking on the one hand and to conscious thinking on the other, but to the much wider field of dealing mentally with the world and with one-self.

Mentally dealing with the world and with one-self, as I use the expression, includes all forms of processing both of incoming inputs and of accumulated traces of our earlier experiences of thinking, of feeling, and of acting. This wider field thus includes all the conscious and non-conscious (including the unconscious) sequences that constitute human information processing.[1]

Regarding our topic there are "patterns of thinking" which we label identity and "ways of thinking" which are built on and around those patterns. Both are types of such processing sequences.

I use the expression "thinking patterns" for relatively short sequences of thinking. Loosely speaking, anything we consciously recognize as being this or that is - whether we have a name for it or not -, and any steering of more or less unconscious everyday movements involves a thinking pattern.

The expression "ways of thinking" is used as shorthand for probable ways in which thinking is likely to proceed and for the cluster of dominant patterns resulting therefrom. Many aspects enter into establishing ways of thinking. It would take us too far off our main subject to try and establish even a vague listing here. What is essential, however, is that any such sequence becomes part of an individuals way of thinking by repetitive input, repetitive activation of already available traces, and by the repetitive processes of dealing with them.

Thus, the expressions "patterns of thinking" and "ways of thinking" refer to engrained individual behaviour - thinking being, of course, a kind of behaviour - that results from manifold interactions of human beings with their social and natural worlds. Thus, thinking is in most cases a social and - as a minimum - a socially informed process. (The only exception, i.e. that someone has lived all his life in total isolation from other human beings, can be disregarded here.)

Thinking Patterns in Common Use

Another way of saying that thinking is a social process is to say that most thinking patterns and many ways of thinking, of feeling, and of acting, are in common use.

But what does "in common use" refer to? It refers to behaviour of a large number of people, to something which we have come to call "the same", which we also call "repetition". Thus, "in common use" implies diachronous repetition by the same individuals as well as distributed repetition, synchronous behaviour of various individuals in similar ways.[2]

Common use establishes multiple roots of such patterns and ways in any individual acting as receiver or as user. Through these multifold processes these components of thinking processes become very strong, extremely resilient, and resistant to change.

By being used in similar ways, i.e. by uses resembling each other without being exactly the same, and by experiencing acceptance or rejection of reactions to such uses in a wide variety of contexts, receivers of verbal or bodily messages learn to interpret such messages based on the similar traces established earlier to which the traces of the new experiences are added. Thus they can understand what someone else says or can imagine what his or her next moves might be.

One understands or intuitively knows[3] what to expect and - as a consequence - one feels secure.

The Past in the Present

Humanity does not live in the present only, it also lives in the past; and, insofar as the past was, or the present is, oriented towards or anticipates aspects of future developments, humanity also lives in the future. But what concerns us here is the past as part of the present.

Any interaction among human beings and all individual thinking activates social and individual histories as embodied in habits and rules of behaviour and their mental aspects.

By involving traces accumulated in earlier experiences of all interacting individuals - individual and societal memories, and social artefacts like language, with components handed on by social learning processes through many centuries - an enormous number of patterns of thinking and many aspects of ways of thinking are parts of the past in the present.

Thinking Patterns are Relatively Autonomous

Engrained patterns and ways of thinking are mental artefacts and relatively autonomous of empirical fact.

One of the fundamental reasons for their autonomy is that they are parts of the past in the present. Another reason for their autonomy is given when the traces of past uses of a thinking pattern establish only rather vague criteria as to which features have to or may be involved or what configurations of such features qualify.[4] But there are many more reasons. The degree of autonomy rises, inter alia, with a growing variety of experiences to which they are applied and of contexts in which they are used.

Whenever such entrenched components of thinking processes come into play - and that is an omnipresent phenomenon - they exert a shaping, a structuring, influence on the inputs being processed and on the turns further processing takes. Whether their influence is decisive or slight - it is there.

What are these thInking Patterns I am Talking of ?

Among types of thinking patterns let me just mention words, word uses, mental images, representations, metaphors, similes, 'Gestalten', mental schemes, concepts, models; but the many fluid notions which come and go when our brain is working also belong here.

They range from the very complex patterns like 'le grands récits historiques' to the very simple ones, that are - rightly or, more probably, wrongly - believed to consist of a very limited number of structural components.

And there are linked schemes, complex configurations of such components. But it would be wrong to assume that most of these complex patterns are constructed like chains or assembled like bricks in a wall. Rather, they merge in a variety of ways, intertwine, or overlap - based on a complex system of plurifurcations[5] and of feedback loops in the brain. Wittgenstein has introduced the metaphor of a thread for the results of such operations, the strength of which »does not reside in the fact that some one fibre runs through its whole length, but in the overlapping of many fibres«.[6]

Among the examples of such intertwining combinations we find, inter alia, the link-merger of the thinking pattern "proprietary rights over objects" and the thinking pattern "symbol" producing the pattern "proprietary rights over symbols".[7] Examples bearing on ways of thinking "identity" will be presented as the argument proceeds.

Thinking Patterns can be Changed

Thinking patterns are neither God-given nor "natural"; rather they are individually and socially established artefacts within individuals.

Neither are the relations between thinking patterns naturally given. The establishment of such relations and their change, the recomposition and re-articulation of thinking patterns, is what the histories of thought, of artistic and architectural styles, and many other historical developments consist in. Thus, the presence, the distribution, and the dominance of thinking patterns in a population is not "fate".

 

2. Is the Individual the Nub of his World ?

Turning from this quick sketch of ways and patterns of thinking to discussing some specific aspects of identity, I shall first pick out one dimension that plays a central role in ways of thinking about identity widely spread in Western societies.

The way of thinking I am referring to contains a dominant aspect which is that the individual is seen as the nub of his world and, by the same token, of the world as such.

Widely spread and strongly embedded this way of thinking plays a major role in views that are largely constitutive of all sorts of centrisms, such as ethno- and groupcentrism; it shares in such constructs as the strict distinction of the individual and the social [8] and is, thus, part and parcel of strong versions of individualism; and - what concerns us here - belongs to the implicit assumptions of everyday thinking about the identities of individuals.

Cognitively this approach is bolstered by a number of - explicit or implicit - component assumptions which help to make it plausible that the individual is the nub of his world.

In testing whether these assumptions comply with what one finds in the world I shall raise and deal with two questions.[9]

Is the Individual the Point Zero of his Perceptional Space ?

It is widely assumed that the perception of human beings is organized in such a way that the individual not only perceives but constitutes at the same time the central node, or point zero, of his own system of co-ordinates.

This assumption has been proven wrong, since contrary to that assumption, perceptual space is not monocentric, i.e. it does not have a simple system of co-ordinates.

Perceptual space is pluricentric. Phenomena which stand out due to their shape (or figure) or due to their importance, lead to centration. The perceiving individual is one - but only one - among those phenomena attracting attention.

The fallacy involved is (the generalisation of) the unwarranted identification of the agent of perception with the center of what is being perceived. The world perceived receives its structure in relative autonomy from the beholder.

What does the Grammar of Personal Pronouns Imply?

The grammar of the thinking patterns which we call personal pronouns plays a central role in the historic development of Western thought.

"Cogito, ergo sum." - In the Cartesian view the individual is assured of the evidence of his existence by the act of thinking. "I think" establishes the "I" as unshakeably given. It follows that only the "I" is absolutely certain. But is that so ?

Children learn the correct use of "I" and of other personal pronouns relatively late. That mere fact should suffice to make us suspicious of any view which holds that something which is learned late and can be lost under certain conditions could be the unshakeably given and the absolutely certain.

But what does the correct use of "I", "you" and "she", "he" or "it" imply ?

Whenever - in a given communication situation - the speaker changes, the same word refers to a different person. That is why they have been included in the linguistic category labelled "shifters" by Roman Jakobson.[10]

In direct speech the word "I" refers to the one who speaks at the moment.

The fact that someone is capable of exchanging the word "I" for the pronouns of the second or third person and feeling addressed by the word "you" clearly establishes that he has learned to relativize himself and that he has learned to change roles and is thus capable to participate in the life of the society.

The lesson to be drawn from that insight is that the ability to handle one's own relativity is a precondition for communication with others - whether one realizes it or not.

This capability to relativize oneself is well developed. It is a largely unconscious sequence of thinking that takes quite different shapes and receives different emphases in differently interpreted contexts. But it can also get excluded from certain processes of thinking as, for instance, in cases of the emphatic "we", in strong forms of empathy, in the behaviour of the spectators in the football stadium, and many others.

I suggest that this capability may hold the keys to many of the issues involved in identity and especially to understanding the development of the largely unnoticed plural identities of individuals.

Accepting the Relativity of One's Own Norms and Values

The problem I now turn to has recently been addressed by Ana Vasquez in relation to trying to understand a society other than the one in which one has grown up. As she has put it: "In order to be able to perceive the other culture as such and not as deviating from one's own one has - first of all - to accept the relativity of one's own norms and values".[11.]

That is easier said than done. But I suggest that concerning the relativity of one's own norms and values there are also learning experiences and, as a consequence, patterns of thinking available to all of us that stand ready for wider use.

Let me refer, by way of example, to our changing patterns of behaviour when interacting with people in different positions in society or in any of our respective worlds, where we employ different assumptions depending on how we judge the position of people ("quod licet Jovi non licet bovi"), where we use different criteria, different sequences of action, different degrees of politeness, and so on.

Clearly, we have learned to relativize our own norms and values.

But we have not learned to be at ease in relativizing our own standards, the reasons being that our using divergent values and norms - wherever it is socially and culturally accepted - was on the one hand made acceptable by legitimation strategies (which we have internalized along with the differentiated patterns of behaviour) and was, on the other hand, shielded from wider application with the help of a wide variety of emotionally loaded thinking patterns.

The resultant ways of thinking make us believe at the same time that it is normal to apply different norms and values to (members of) different (groups of) human beings and that it is totally unacceptable to relativize our own common standards.

Should we not turn those ways of thinking around and learn to relativize systems of standards (a capability which would put us in a better position to understand others and to develop new approaches and standards where the traditional ones are out of date) and to develop dissonance when we are applying different values in similar situations to individuals which are all human beings (in order to learn to treat them all as equals).

 

3. Our Segmented Worlds and Identity

Finding a metaphor that fits both the situations in which part identities are built and that can be used for such part identities in relation to the totality of ways of thinking, of feeling, and of acting, out of which - through a process of reduction and cleaning in various ways - we develop what we consider to be our identity, is a difficult task given the strongly entrenched dimension of unity supposedly being the main feature of identity. Thus, I continue to experiment with various notions for this purpose.

For the present paper I have chosen to experiment with the expressions "segmentation" and "segment" .

The notion "segmentation" implies processes of grouping experiences and distinguishing the groups thus established from other groups in such a way that what is distinguished, marked or labelled differently, and grouped together still remains part of that larger field of experiences from which it was originally taken.

The notion "segment" implies that what one talks of in using this expression is part of a whole, or - when it is practically cut off from that whole by a strong focussing of attention on it - it still fits together with the rest of that whole.

Identity Changes with Experience

It may be useful to recall at this point that the studies by E.H. Erikson which helped to establish "identity" as a central problematique of our time dealt with the crises of identity in adolescence and with additional material coming from cases where identity was not normally functioning. This focus led to a lop-sided study of identity and to myopia concerning the ways in which non-crisis, non-pathogenic identities develop, the effects of which still have to be overcome.[12]

Let us, therefore, look at some aspects of the development of identities under normal conditions.

It is a well accepted fact - at least in everyday thinking - that individuals undergo change in the course of their lives. What would, thus, be more plausible than to assume that identity undergoes changes in parallel to those changes of individuals - in a constant process where small changes follow small or bigger changes in an unending, albeit uneven, chain of developments.

Inspite of such everyday knowledge our cultures have accepted only a very limited number of periods which are thought to be identity-relevant: childhood, adolescence, and adulthood; only rather recently have we added the "third generation" (the elderly). During childhood identity is seen as developing, during adolescence it is considered as undergoing deep crises, during adulthood identity is supposed to be well established as a rather coherent whole undergoing only slight modifications, if any.

The idea of a basically unchanging identity of grown-ups is impregnated with a dominant pattern of thinking namely that of homeostasis, a pattern that is very influential in ways of thinking in many fields. The core of that pattern is the notion of a process that continuously reproduces the same steady state, such that any modifications are counterbalanced by other modifications, with the result that - by and large - nothing changes. As a consequence of the influence of that dominant pattern we get an object-like result of the thinking process, i.e. an unchanging identity.[13]

What has to be checked, however, is whether the notion thus established corresponds to the ways in which people see their own lives.

Segmentation - Diachronically

In his memoir, François Jacob, professor of cell genetics at the Collège de France, Nobel laureate in medicine,[14] gives a picture of his own perception of the problematique.

After stating that he was intrigued by the question how he became as he was today, he asked in what terms he should define his life. He asks: "As something continuous ? - As something permanent ?" And his reply is: "Certainly not! ... Rather than as something continuous, I see my life as a sequence of different personalities, almost of foreigners".[15]

The sequence of different personalities begins - in his case - with the young boy, followed by the youngster, later by the medical student, the soldier in the French liberation army, the newcomer at the Institut Pasteur, the professor, .. "the whole group advancing in Indian file".[16]

"I find it difficult to imagine", Professor Jacob continues, that "in a roll-call following the call of my name, François Jacob, all these persons could get up in the same spirit and reply 'Present'".[17]

What Professor Jacob describes here is a clear case of diachronic segmentation, a suite of identities, a plurality of identities over his lifetime. The way he labels his identities he anchors them in life periods dominated by types of activities carried out in the framework of specific institutions. From a different point of view one could also say that they embody different social roles.

It should be noted, however, that periodization is also present in his account. But his periodization is based not on homeostasis as such but on important threshold-type changes after which life as actually lived shows a different configuration in many respects, a new configuration which dominates life until a new threshold is crossed.

This account - and many others which anybody can think of immediately if attention is focussed on people one knows and the kinds of major changes in life-situations that repeatedly occur even in small populations - does away with the assumption that identity remains basically the same over the whole period of adulthood.

Structural Segmentation of Socio-Cultural and Economic Life

Today's societies are segmented in a hundred-and-one ways.

The emergence of "childhood" and the "troisième âge" has produced separate sets of rules of behaviour and of specialised institutions, has created additional subworlds.

But in addition to the worlds related to these diachronic segmentations in the life of individuals more and more parallel and partly separated worlds have appeared.

The production of goods and services is carried out in a multitude of separately institutionalized units. Division of labour abounds within such units, paralleled by a large number of accepted specialized professions with very specific kinds of schooling and training. Division of labour among such units portrays specialisation along different lines. The geographic structure of the interactive economic networks has further increased spatial specialisation and with it a strong differentiation of life situations for people residing in different spaces. Stimulated by the rapid growth of cities workplaces have been progressively separated from living quarters. Partly related to that a private sphere has emerged separating one's world of work from the rest of one's life.

The catholic church, formerly the universal - and supposedly uniform - representation of the Christian faith, has contributed its share to the creation of many other Christian churches, and religions from other parts of the world are now well established within our region. The political spectrum is segmented also institutionally following the introduction of multi-party democracies. An immense number of private associations catering for all sorts of interests and leanings is active and constitutes as many subworlds.

Rapid growth of scientific knowledge and of technological know-how produce a torrent of change in almost all fields of life. These rapid changes modify the organisational and institutional structures of society, with new units springing up here or there, all the time, while some of the older ones crumble and disappear.

Today it has become highly likely that one will have to change jobs a number of times during one's active life. In today's societies one is, thus, no longer born into a societal setting, in which one is likely to remain for one's whole life.

Most of these segments are - at least partly - independent in a variety of ways.

It follows that the ways one is supposed to behave, the criteria for success and failure, and a wealth of other formal and informal rules and expectations vis-à-vis insiders and outsiders also develop in their own differentiated ways.

It also follows that people who want to establish and remain in contact with any of those parallel worlds have to develop the respective registers of behaviour.

 

Living in Different Worlds in Parallel

Migrants living abroad

The most obvious group of people living in different worlds in parallel are people who live in countries which are culturally different from those in which they lived as children.

Let us take as example a family of migrants and let us look at the contexts through which members of such a family have to move in the course of a day or of a week - or, more generally, within rather short periods of everyday life.

Take the school child which is moving back and forth between the family (in which many of the rules of behaviour of the culture of origin are followed), the school (which has the society of the country of immigration as its system of reference and tries to inculcate its values and habits), the children of its own age of whatever cultural origin in school and on the playground (who search for and develop their own version among the various youth cultures), between strictly laïcistic contexts and participation in religious rituals, to name but a few of their different worlds.

Take the often quite different role expectations on male and female members of families, the gender divisions of tasks, of status, and of authority that are part of the respective cultures, all of which are portrayed as the "normal" way to behave in the different worlds these people are moving in and out every day.

Any child in that situation undergoing the processes of identity formation has to abide by the normalities in force in the respective sub-worlds.

To anyone who suggests that the identity of such a child, but also that of the adult members of those families, forms a coherent whole, I would say: "Try it, and we shall talk about it again after you have half a year of experience with that type of life-situation".

It should be stressed, however, that synchronic segmentation of identities is by no means restricted to people in the especially difficult situation of living in another culture. The examples that follow should suffice to demonstrate that.

Identities of workers on the eve of World War I

Everyone will recall the great hope which pervaded the workers' movement across Europe that they would be able to prevent what has become World War I.

These people were socialists of different shades - being a socialist was one of their identities. They were also nationals of their respective countries - and that was another one of their identities.

They also had additional identities: they were metal workers or transport workers; they were Catholics, Protestants, or Atheists; they were Viennese, Londoners, Parisians; and so on. Each one of these identities contained many tightly interwoven aspects that others did not.

As long as their identities as socialists and their respective national identities were different and conflicting but were activated only in different contexts and at different times, they could live with both. The problem arose when both should have been applied at the same time to the same context and they were forced to choose in an all-out fashion.[18] The outcome is well-known.

In relation to our topic the question has to be asked whether the fact that one of the conflicting identities was in shambles after their hopes had been shattered is a good reason to assume that these workers only had one identity - and a reasonably coherent one - rather than quite different multiple identities two of which were strongly conflicting in that specific historic situation?

Identities in the country-side - before and after the advent of industrial agriculture

In the European country-side usually referred to as the bulwark of tradition that sort of phenomenon existed already at a time when people used to be born into their societal positions which they could not escape through all their life.

Take the situation of a landlord or a free-hold farmer. He was the boss of his farm-hands, the boss on his land. But what happened when he went to church? There, he was no longer the boss. He was a sinner and had to bow in submission as everyone else.

Is it really plausible to say that his identity was the same in those two situations, that he had one coherent identity?

And what about the noblemen in vassalage in feudal times? Was their situation that different?

 

Conclusion

Where life situations of individuals are segmented, where individuals fulfil different roles, where individuals have experienced, learned, and actually use different registers of behaviour, we find plural identities. That is the message which these examples convey.

Segmentation is more visible in today's societies than in those of the middle ages. It is more visible in city cultures than in the villages of the country-side. But in all those situations it is also there.

We are astonished to find that individuals have plural identities. But why?

Should we not be astonished that many social and human scientists are not able to envisage that individuals have plural identities.

Are they - at the same time - not talking of various roles of one and the same individual in sociology, of membership in various organisations and of multiple allegiances in political sciences and in social psychology, of individuals able to speak various languages and dialects, of codes and sub-codes in linguistics, are they not fully aware of the difficulties faced in cooperation across disciplinary boundaries, are they not fully aware of the difficulty to create understanding when different universes of discourse are involved?

But the reason for this divergence is clear. We seem to be faced with one of the many cases where thinking patterns - being parts of the past in our present and being largely autonomous of empirical fact - are so strongly imprinted that we find it extremely difficult to escape and to reconceptualize our world.

Identity is not a coherent whole - Individuals have plural identities

One of the central assumptions concerning identity, I referred to earlier, is that it forms a rather coherent whole.

But, as I believe to have shown, that is not so. Identities of individuals are segmented, individuals have plural identities.

But does that reconceptualization of the identity of individuals imply that the identity of individuals falls into pieces?

No! It is not the identity of individual that falls into pieces; it is a myth, a thinking pattern, that is being shattered which led us to assume that identity is a homogenous, non-contradictory, object-like quality which we possess.

Experiences common to our identities

Does that reconceptualization of the identity of individuals as plural identities imply that identity consists of separate, unrelated parts?

Of course not. Many of our experiences are made in our different worlds in quite similar ways.

In many instances one can interpret the various experiences made in our different worlds according to the thinking pattern "variations on a theme". But as much as variations on a theme can be part and parcel of the same piece of music, they can also form a separate one.

Which of the two should be analytically preferred - as far as identity is concerned - depends on whether they belong to the same or to a different overall configuration, where belonging to one or the other depends largely on which transitions from the presently activated traces of experience are felt to be the right ones in a given situation.

Moving from one of our identities to another

What happens when we move from one of our worlds to another is switching from one segment to another. What happens is that we activate a different cluster of accumulated traces established in the course of our personal histories - stimulated by context and by sequences learned in earlier experience - and move from one of our identities to another.

Thinking patterns related to "identity"

As I have tried to show it matters what patterns of thinking we activate when we think or talk of identity.

If we link "identity" with notions like unity, coherence, constancy, permanence, and stability, it gets a monolithic, object-like character, something which one can possess, leading to a conceptualization of identity in the singular.

If, on the other hand, we link "identity" with development (of the personality), change (over time), interaction (with others), responsiveness and adaptation (to a variety of dissimilar situations encountered and to evaluations of these situations and of our responses by others, i.e. to the never-ending processes of calibration), we end up with plural identities of the individual and with a notion of identity, of those plural identities, that have a process character, something which one cannot possess but which is acted out, which one lives.

I suggest that our world and our experiences are both processes and segmented - and so is identity.

© Arne Haselbach


Notes

[1] This approach has been developed in: Arne Haselbach, »Die Wiener Denkwerkstatt«, in: "Die Wiener Volkshochschulen 1990-1993", Verband Wiener Volksbildung, Wien 1994, S. 86-88.

[2] It should be noted here that the widely held implicit assumption that "common" or "repetition" implies "identical", i.e. exactly the same in all aspects and regards, is a dangerous fallacy responsible for a legion of misleading theories.

[3] The sharp distinction between understanding and intuition in common use does not appear to be warranted by the mental processes involved.

[4] The notion "beauty" may serve as an outstanding example of this type of situation. But there are many terms in the social sciences and in psychology which also fall into this category.

[5] I prefer "plurifurcation" to the better established term "bifurcation", since the latter creates a misleading image of how the brain works. The notion "plurifurcation" has been sketched in: Arne Haselbach, »On the need for fundamental research in the social sciences - Of notions, their import, and their transformation«, Introductory paper, European Meeting of Experts of National Commissions of Unesco on "Social and social science thinking", Vienna, March 1992

[6] Ludwig Wittgenstein, »Philosophische Untersuchungen«, Para. 67

[7] This pattern of thinking is bolstering up the notion "intellectual property" and made it possible to establish the legal subsystems of "licensing" and "trademarks". Other, and very negative, cases in point are the role which the 'Vergina Sun' plays in the conflict between Macedonia and Greece, or the 'Fürstenstein/Knezji kamen' between Slovenia and Carinthia.

[8] The strict distinction of "the individual" and "the social" have become extremely strong and mutually reinforcing patterns of thinking that are in turn constitutive of many ways of thinking. They have been strongly criticized by Norbert Elias. See, inter alia, »Über den Prozeß der Zivilisation«, Frankfurt/M 1976

[9] These questions and the answers given are based on arguments by Elmar Holenstein in his articles on »Der Nullpunkt der Orientierung - Die Plazierung des Ich im wahrgenommenen Raum« and »Die eigenartige Grammatik des Wortes "ich" - Die Plazierung des Ich in der Rede« republished in his book "Menschliches Selbstverständnis : Ichbewußtsein - Intersubjektive Verantwortung - Interkulturelle Verständigung", suhrkamp, Frankfurt/M 1985

[10] Roman Jakobson, »Les embrayeurs, les catégories verbales et le verbe russe«, [Orig: "Shifters, verbal categories, and the Russian verb", 1957], in: Roman Jakobson, »Essais de linguistique générale«- tome 1., Ed. Minuit, Paris 1963, pp. 176-196

[11] »Pour ce faire, il (elle) doit accepter tout d'abord la relativité de ses propres normes et valeurs, de façon d'être capable de percevoir la culture de l'autre en tant que telle et non pas en tant que déviation par rapport à sa culture propre.« (Vasquez et Xavier de Brito 1993:41)

[12] Edmond Marc Lipiansky, Isabelle Taboada-Leonetti, Ana Vasquez, »Introduction à la problématique de l'identité« in: »Stratégies identitaires«, PUF, Paris1990, p. 10

[13] Norbert Elias labels the result of the influence of this pattern "Zustandsreduktion" and develops how it works. See his »Introduction« (added in 1968) in: ELIAS, Norbert, »Über den Prozeß der Zivilisation«, suhrkamp, Frankfurt/M 1976

[14] Author of »La logique du vivant« (Gallimard, Paris 1970), a book of which Michel Foucault says: "Le livre de François Jacob est la plus remarquable histoire de la biologie qui ait jamais été écrite. Elle invite aussi à un grand réapprentissage de la pensée."

[15] François Jacob, »La Statue intérieure«, Ed. Seuil, Paris 1987, p.19

[16] François Jacob, op. cit, p.20

[17] François Jacob, op. cit., p.21

[18] While the factors influencing the decisions would be highly relevant here I do not discuss them for reasons of space.


[*] Published as: Haselbach, Arne (1994), »On Ways and Patterns of Thinking "Identity"« in: Novak-Lukanovic, Sonja »The multiple identity: what is it and how does it work«, European project: "Overlapping cultures and plural identities/Cultures partielles et identités multiples", Slovenian National Commission for Unesco and Institute for Ethnic Studies, Ljubljana 1995, pp. 29-46


Was ist Mehrfachidentität ? Wie funktioniert sie ? (1994 - Ljubljana)

Multiple identity: What it is and how it works (1994 - Ljubljana)