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Identity, Geography and

  • By: Patricia Ehrkamp
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Identities help us know who we are and who we are not. Collective or social identities serve to order social and political relations between different groups, while personal or individual identities, sometimes called psychic identities, are crucial in the formation of subjects and allow for identification of individuals with groups. Geographers are interested in identities because they are spatial phenomena in that people identify with particular places, landscapes, and territorial entities. These can be, for example, local, regional, or national identities. With the emergence of the modern nation-state system and modernity, national identity was for a long time considered a more important identity than other identifications. Nations, as Benedict Anderson suggested, are groups of people who invent themselves as “imagined communities” on the basis of ...

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