“I AM LARGE, I CONTAIN MULTITUDES”: IDENTITY, ALTERITY AND THE TRANSITIONAL SELF
Keywords:identity and alterity, self-presentation, external evaluation, belonging, alter- ego, becoming.
What is identity and what makes us be who we are? The concept of identity has changed considerably over the past century, the subject finding itself at the intersection of nation, gender, the rise of multiculturalism and colonial history. While we are born with no self- awareness and our first point of reference is the world outside us, navigating existence involves a constant self-analysis and the realisation that any attempt at defining ourselves will result in newer interrogations. Aiming to provide some guidance to this relentless quest by introducing few of the key concepts used in identity research, the present paper addresses the fluidity of the self by focusing on the identity-alterity nexus and by prioritising the ‘becoming’ over the ‘being’. Identity is, thus, always shifting and never a given; it is a transitional process oscillating between self-identification and identification made by the others, a puzzle whose interlocked pieces can be moved around and change in meaning.
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