This course examines identity, exploring its continuing relevance in twenty-first century Britain. It starts from the observation that the question of identity lies at the heart of various current debates not only in cultural studies but also in other fields. The issue is whether those identities which defined our modern world for so long – class, place, nationality, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, 'race' – are in decline and whether new, more fragmented and fluid forms of identity are arising in their place. In order to address this issue, we will discuss a number of questions including the following ones: How does the alleged crisis of identity relate to the wider social changes affecting our societies? Do we need an identity? How can modern identities best be theorised? Is it still possible to speak of identity in the singular, or is it more adequate to think of a whole range of identities that we can and do choose from depending on the circumstances in which we find ourselves?
A Reader will be provided on Stud.IP at the beginning of the course.