The SAGE Handbook of Identities


Edited by: Margaret Wetherell & Chandra Talpade Mohanty

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  • Front Matter
  • Subject Index
  • Part 1: Frameworks

    Part 2: Formations

    Part 3: Social Categories

    Part 4: Sites and Contexts

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    Handbook Advisory Panel

    M. Jacqui Alexander, Women's Studies and Gender Studies, University of Toronto

    Tony Bennett, Social Sciences, Open University

    Bronwyn Davies, Australian Youth Research Centre, University of Melbourne

    Kevin Durrheim, School of Psychology, University of KwaZulu-Natal

    Anthony Elliott, Sociology, Flinders University

    Michael Hames-García, Ethnic Studies, University of Oregon

    Dorothy Holland, Anthropology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

    Kim Knott, Theology and Religious Studies, University of Leeds

    Gail Lewis, Social Sciences, Open University

    Paula Rothenberg, The Murphy Institute, City University of New York


    This project owes its existence to a piece of academic match-making and we would like to thank our dear friends and colleagues Gail Lewis, Ann Phoenix and Avtar Brah for suggesting that we might collaborate on this Handbook. Despite their confidence it took a number of trans-Atlantic telephone calls talking through our histories and ways of working to establish our particular lines of difference and similarity. We needed to be sure the differences would be stimulating and the similarities sufficient. But our friends were right, and as work began and the flow of e-mails and phone calls increased, academic convenience flowered into a deep sustaining friendship. One of the great pleasures of this project (and our intellectual lives) has been the opportunity to work together.

    We knew a Handbook was a big commitment but we did not realise it would take almost four years. We decided early on, however, to take our time, not to be hurried, to get the right authors, wait until they were free and had the space to discuss their chapters and their current thinking with us. We are profoundly grateful to our contributors. They have produced remarkable pieces and have remained patient, responsive and committed throughout, although they must have wondered when all their efforts might lead to some results! We are particularly grateful to our editorial team at SAGE Publications, Michael Carmichael and Sophie Hine, who philosophically accepted the delays and encouraged us to keep going for the best possible outcome. Kerry Carter prepared the manuscript for us and was remarkably efficient and positive in the face of a bewildering diversity of files and styles.

    Margie would like to thank her colleagues in the UK's Economic and Social Research Council Identities and Social Action Programme for creating the kind of collective environment in which thinking differently about identities not only became possible but a pleasure ( The companionship of my husband, Pete Williams, and my son, Sam Wetherell, has made it worth the effort. I would also like to thank the Open University Psychology Department secretarial team Lynda Hammond, Elaine Richardson, Gail Valentine, Sarah Pelosi and Brigid Vigrass for their help, and, most importantly, the long-term support of Wendy Hollway, my close colleague, former Head of Department and good friend.

    Chandra would like to thank her colleagues and sisters in Ithaca, Syracuse, and in feminist communities around the world for their vision and commitment to struggles for social justice. It is their revolutionary collective presence in the world that keeps her going. I have been lucky to be a part of the Future of Minority Studies (FMS) project, and it is this intellectual community that has taught me to take issues of identity and social justice seriously. Satya P. Mohanty has been central to these efforts, both in terms of his own brilliant work on identity, and in his unstinting and engaged critique of my work. My daughter Uma continues to teach me that parenting is a grand adventure to be cherished always. Last but not least, Sarah Miraglia, my assistant in Women's and Gender Studies at Syracuse University was a great help in the process of preparing this manuscript. Thanks Sarah for being a truly fabulous research assistant.

    Notes on Contributors

    Linda Martín Alcoff is Professor of Philosophy at Hunter College/CUNY Graduate Center. Recent books include Thinking From the Underside of History co-edited with Eduardo Mendieta (Rowman & Littlefield, 2000); Real Knowing: New Versions of the Coherence Theory of Knowledge (Cornell, new in paperback 2008); Singing in the Fire: Tales of Women in Philosophy (Rowman and Littlefield, 2003); Visible Identities: Race, Gender and the Self (Oxford, 2006); The Blackwell Guide to Feminist Philosophy co-edited with Eva Feder Kittay (Blackwell, 2006) and Identity Politics Reconsidered co-edited with Michael Hames-García, Satya Mohanty and Paula Moya (Palgrave, 2006).

    Moya Bailey is a scholar of critical race, feminist, and disability studies at Emory University. Her current research examines the hidden normative and hegemonic frames that undergird the seemingly neutral category of ‘health’. She looks beyond disparities in healthcare at how race, class, age, gender, sex, ability, etc. shape definitions of health and pathology. Most of her activism addresses representations of women in popular culture.

    Peter Bansel is a researcher at the University of Western Sydney. He has worked on a number of projects that have investigated constitutive relations between neoliberalism, subjectivity and work. His doctoral work on life-history narratives articulated those practices of government through which narrating subjects are constituted as narratable, and through which subjects constitute themselves as the ‘I’, or embodied narrator, of their biographical accounts of experience. This work on narrative and biography emphasised a constitutive relationality between the human and the not-human, and articulated a subject who, though constituted and regulated through practices of government, is never reducible to them.

    Bethan Benwell is Senior Lecturer in English Language and Linguistics in the Department of English Studies at the University of Stirling. Her research interests are in discourse analytical approaches to identity, gender, the media and reception studies. She is the editor of Masculinity and Men's Lifestyle Magazines (2003) and the co-author of Discourse and Identity (2006, with Elizabeth Stokoe). She is currently working with colleagues on a three year UK Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project looking at the relationship between reading, location and diaspora.

    Carole Boyce Davies is Professor of Africana Studies and English at Cornell University. Her publications include: Left of Karl Marx. The Political Life of Black Communist Claudia Jones (Duke University Press, 2008); Black Women, Writing and Identity: Migrations of the Subject(Routledge, 1994) and most recently she has been the general editor for the three volume Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora (ABC-CLIO, 2008).

    Ed Cairns is Professor of Psychology at the University of Ulster in Coleraine, Northern Ireland where he has been on the faculty since 1972. His research focuses on the psychological aspects of political violence in relation to the conflict in Northern Ireland. He has been a visiting scholar at the Universities of Florida, Cape Town, Melbourne and Massachusetts. He is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society, a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, and Past President of the Division of Peace Psychology of the American Psychological Association. He has published extensively, his last book being: Children and Political Violence (Blackwell, 1996).

    Sarah E. Chinn is an Associate Professor of English at Hunter College at the City University of New York. She is also the Executive Director of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center. She has published widely in American studies, queer theory, and disability studies and is the author of Technology and Logic of American Racism: A Cultural History of the Body as Evidence (Continuum, 2000) and Inventing Modern Adolescence: The Children of Immigrants in Turn-of-the-Century America (Rutgers University Press, 2008).

    Manisha Desai is the Director of Women's Studies at the University of Connecticut. Her areas of research include gender and globalization, social movements, transnational feminisms, women's human rights and contemporary Indian society. She has published numerous articles and book chapters and is the author of Gender and the Politics of Possibilities: Rethinking Globalization; co-editor of Gender, Family, and Law in a Changing Middle East and South Asia; editor of Women's Issues in Asia and Oceania and co-editor of Women's Activism and Globalization: Linking Local Struggles to Transnational Politics.

    Saurabh Dube is Professor of History at the Center for Asian and African Studies, El Colegio de México in Mexico City. He received a PhD from Cambridge University and previously taught at Delhi University. Dube has been a Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and several times visiting Professor at Cornell University. His authored books include After Conversion (2009); Stitches on Time (2004); Untouchable Pasts (1998) as well as a trilogy in historical anthropology in the Spanish language. Among Dube's ten edited volumes are Enchantments of Modernity (2009); Historical Anthropology (2007) and Postcolonial Passages (2004).

    Harry J. Elam, Jr is the Olive H. Palmer Professor in the Humanities and Director of the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford. He is author of Taking It to the Streets: The Social Protest Theater of Luis Valdez and Amiri Baraka; The Past as Present in the Drama of August Wilson and co-editor of African American Performance and Theater History: A Critical Reader; Colored Contradictions: An Anthology of Contemporary African American Drama; The Fire This Time: African American Plays for the New Millennium and Black Cultural Traffic: Crossroads in Performance and Popular Culture.

    Michele Elam, Martin Luther King, Jr. Centennial Professor, is an Associate Professor in English and Director of the Program in African and African American Studies. She is the author of Race, Work, and Desire in American Literature, 18601930 (Cambridge University Press, 2003); The Souls of Mixed Folks (Stanford University Press, 2010) and is currently working on a book on post-race and post-apartheid performance in the US and South Africa. She has published articles in African American Review, American Literature, Callaloo, Theatre Journal, and Genre, among others. Her research interests include African American literature and theory, gender studies and mixed race studies.

    Anne Fausto-Sterling is Professor of Biology and Gender Studies at Brown University. She has been on the Brown faculty since 1971. She began her career as a research biologist publishing on the embryology and genetics of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. Her work on feminist theory and science has led to the publication of two books: Myths of Gender: Biological Theories about Women and Men (Basic Books, 1985, 1993) and Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality (Basic Books, 2000). She is currently developing a developmental systems approach to the understanding of gender, race and sexuality that she hopes will replace the nature/nurture analytic.

    Stephen Frosh is Pro-Vice-Master, Head of the School of Psychosocial Studies and Professor of Psychology at Birkbeck College, University of London. He is the author of many books and papers on psychosocial studies and on psychoanalysis, including Hate and the ‘Jewish Science’: Anti-Semitism, Nazism and Psychoanalysis (Palgrave, 2005) For and Against Psychoanalysis (Routledge, 2006); After Words (Palgrave, 2002) and The Politics of Psychoanalysis (Palgrave, 1999).

    Rosemarie Garland-Thomson is Professor of Women's Studies at Emory University. Her fields of study are feminist theory, American literature, and disability studies. Her work develops the field of disability studies in the humanities and women's and gender studies. She is author of Staring: How We Look and Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring Physical Disability in American Literature and Culture; co-editor of Re-Presenting Disability: Museums and the Politics of Display and Disability Studies: Enabling the Humanities and editor of Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body. Her current book-in-progress concerns the logic, space, and design of euthanasia in the Holocaust and American literature.

    S. Alexander Haslam is Professor of Social and Organizational Psychology at the University of Exeter. He is former Editor of the European Journal of Social Psychology, and currently on the editorial board of 10 international journals including Scientific American Mind. His work with colleagues at Exeter and elsewhere focuses on the study of social identity in social and organizational contexts, illustrated by his most recent book Psychology in Organizations: The Social Identity Approach (2nd edn, Sage, 2004). He is a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Advanced Research and a former recipient of EASP's Kurt Lewin award.

    R. Aída Hernández Castillo earned her doctorate in anthropology from Stanford University in 1996. She is currently Professor and Senior Researcher at CIESAS, the Center for Research and Advanced Studies in Social Anthropology in Mexico City. She has worked extensively in the past on exploring gender and ethnic identities in Mesoamerica. She is the author of Histories and Stories from Chiapas: Border Identities in Southern Mexico (UT Press, 2001) published also in Spanish as La Otra Frontera: Identidades Múltiples en el Chiapas Postcolonial (2001); co-editor of Descolonizando el Feminismo. Teorías y Prácticas desde los Márgenes (Catedra, 2008); Dissident Women. Gender and Cultural Politics in Chiapas (UT Press, 2006); Mayan Lives, Mayan Utopias: the Indigenous Peoples of Chiapas and the Zapatista Rebellion (Rowman and Littlefield, 2003) and The Other Word: Women and Violence in Chiapas Before and After Acteal (IWGIA, 2001) among other books.

    Miles Hewstone is Professor of Social Psychology at Oxford University. He has published widely in the field of general experimental social psychology including on attribution theory, social cognition, social influence, stereotyping and intergroup relations. He is a fellow of the British Academy, recipient of the British Psychological Society Presidents’ Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychological Knowledge, and a former Editor of the British Journal of Social Psychology. Recent books include Applied Social Psychology and Self and Social Identity (edited with Marilyn Brewer published by Blackwell) and Causal Attribution: From Cognitive Processes to Collective Beliefs (Blackwell).

    Wendy Hollway is Professor of Psychology at the Open University. She is a social and qualitative psychologist whose major interests are in applying psycho-social principles to empirical research on identity. Her recent books include: Doing Qualitative Research Differently: Free Association, Narrative and the Interview Method (Sage, 2000) (with Tony Jefferson) and The Capacity to Care: Gender and Ethical Subjectivity (Routledge, 2006). She has also written on psychoanalytic epistemology, gender, sexuality and the history of work organizations. She currently holds an Economic and Social Research Council Fellowship entitled Maternal Identity, Care and Intersubjectivity: a Psycho-social Approach.

    Joanne Hughes was appointed to a Chair in the School of Education, Queens University Belfast in July 2007. Her main research interests and areas of expertise are community relations and community development policy, intergroup contact theory, and the role of education in divided societies. She has published widely on these themes, with much of her work reflecting an international comparative focus.

    Monica Jardine is Professor Emerita in Women Studies, University of Buffalo, State University of New York. She is a sociologist of colonial displacements and postcolonial transitions whose recent articles include: ‘Caribbean Migrations: The Caribbean Diaspora’ in The Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora (Vol. 1, 2008) ‘Guyana’ in, The Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora (Vol. 2, 2008) and with Carole Boyce Davies: ‘Imperial Geographies and US Hegemony’ in The New Centennial Review (Vol. 3, No. 3, 2003). Her forthcoming book is The Subaltern Caribbean Nation: Anglophone Caribbean Nationalism and US Hegemony in the Caribbean Region. She is a native of Guyana who became a citizen of the US in 1995.

    Richard Jenkins is Professor of Sociology at the University of Sheffield. Trained as an anthropologist, he has done field research in Northern Ireland, England, Wales and Denmark. Among his books are Foundations of Sociology (2002); Pierre Bourdieu (2nd edn, 2002); Rethinking Ethnicity (2nd edn, 2008) and Social Identity (3rd edn, 2008).

    Bonita Lawrence teaches Indigenous Studies at York University in Toronto. She is the author of ‘Real’ Indians and Others: Mixed-Blood Urban Native People and Indigenous Nationhood, as well as co-editor (with Kim Anderson) of Strong Women Stories: Native Vision and Community Survival. Her research interests focus on federally unrecognized native communities, the effects of identity legislation on urban and reserve communities, and indigenous justice. She is a traditional singer, and currently volunteers with a diversion program for aboriginal offenders at Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto.

    Helen Lucey is a Senior Lecturer in Social Psychology at the University of Bath. She takes a psychoanalytically informed psychosocial approach to explore the ways in which psychic, emotional, social and cultural dimensions connect, intersect and overlap particularly in relation to gender, social class, families and education. Recent and forthcoming books include Growing Up Girl: Psychosocial Explorations of Gender and Class (2001, with June Melody and Valerie Walkerdine); Sibling Identity and Relationships (2006 with Ros Edwards, Lucy Hadfield and Melanie Mauthner); Power, Knowledge and the Academy: The Institutional is Political (2006, edited with Val Gillies) and Psychosocial Approaches to Learning and Teaching (2010).

    Toon van Meijl graduated with a PhD in social anthropology from the Australian National University in 1991. Currently he is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology and Development Studies at the University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands. He has conducted fieldwork in Maori communities in New Zealand since 1982 and has published extensively on issues of cultural identity and the self, and on socio-political questions emerging from the debate about property rights of indigenous peoples. Major publications include the co-edited volumes Property Rights and Economic Development; Land and Natural Resources in Southeast Asia and Oceania (1999) and Shifting Images of Identity in the Pacific (2004).

    Chandra Talpade Mohanty is Professor of Women's and Gender Studies and Dean's Professor of the Humanities at Syracuse University. Her work focuses on transnational feminist theory, postcolonial studies, and anti-racist education. She is author of Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity (2003) and co-editor of Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism (1991); Feminist Genealogies, Colonial Legacies, Democratic Futures (1997) and Feminism and War: Confronting US Imperialism (2008). She is series editor of Comparative Feminist Studies for Palgrave/Macmillan.

    Rolland Munro is Managing Editor of The Sociological Review and Professor of Organisation Theory at Keele University. He has published widely on culture, power and identity and is internationally regarded for bringing new theoretical insight to the study of organisation with his ethnographies of management practice. Writings on accountability, affect, bodies, cars, class, ethics, knowledge, landscape, language, money, polyphony, reason, time, wit, and zero, among other topics, have kept him at the cutting edge of interdisciplinary collaborations and have culminated in two forthcoming books, The Demanding Relation, which explores our entanglement with technology and Dividing Cultures, which illuminates the everyday divisions through which culture works us.

    Cindy Patton holds the Canada Research Chair in Community, Culture and Health at Simon Fraser University, British Columbia where she is also Professor of Sociology and of Women's Studies. She has written extensively on the question of gender, sexuality, and race in the context of identity, including early analysis of the politics of AIDS (Sex and Germs, South End Press, 1985), on the effect of the epidemic's globalization on national and personal identity (Globalizing AIDS, Minnesota University Press 2002), and most recently, on the construction of racial and sexual identity in post-World War II America.

    Ann Phoenix is Professor and Co-Director of the Thomas Coram Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London. Her research focuses on social identities and the links between psychological experiences and social processes. Her current research is on ‘Transforming Experiences: Re-Conceptualising Identities and “Non-Normative” Childhoods’ (as an ESRC Professorial Fellow) and (with Wendy Hollway and Heather Elliott) she recently completed an ESRC-funded project on the transition to motherhood. Her books include: Black, White or Mixed Race? (1993/2002 with Barbara Tizard, Routledge); Young Masculinities(2002, with Stephen Frosh and Rob Pattman, Palgrave) and Parenting and Ethnicity (2007, with Fatima Husain, Joseph Rowntree Foundation).

    Diane Reay is Professor of Education in the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge with particular interests in social justice issues in education, Pierre Bourdieu's social theory, and cultural analyses of social class. Her recent books include Degrees of Choice: Social Class, Race and Gender in Higher Education (2005, with Stephen Ball and Miriam David) and Activating Participation (2005, co-edited with Gill Crozier).

    Stephen Reicher is currently Professor of Psychology at the University of St Andrews. His interests centre on the relationship between social identity and collective action. This has involved work on such topics as crowd behaviour, leadership and political rhetoric, the construction of national identity, group solidarity, and, latterly, the mobilisation of mass hatred. At the core of all this work is a concern with the psychological group as a source of social power and of resistance to social inequality. His publications include: Self and Nation (with Nick Hopkins, Sage, 2001).

    Katharina Schmid is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oxford. She previously held a position as research fellow at the Max-Planck-Institute for religious and ethnic diversity in Goettingen, Germany, after completing her PhD in Social Psychology at Queen's University Belfast. Her research interests lie in the areas of social identity and multiple categorization, as well as intergroup contact, intergroup relations and intergroup conflict. She is also interested in the effects of diversity on prejudice and social cohesion.

    Lynne Segal is Anniversary Professor of Psychology and Gender Studies in the School of Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck College, University of London. She has published widely in the areas of gender theory, feminist thought, identities and belongings. Her books include: Is the Future Female? Troubled Thoughts on Contemporary Feminism; Slow Motion: Changing Masculinities, Changing Men; Straight Sex: The Politics of Pleasure; Why Feminism? Gender, Psychology and Politics; Making Trouble: Life and Politics.

    Beverley Skeggs is Professor of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London, previously at the University of Manchester, and before that Director of Women's Studies at the University of Lancaster. Her major interests are class, feminist theory, Bourdieu, sexuality and space. She has published: Feminist Cultural Theory (1995); Formations of Class and Gender (1997); Transformations: Thinking Through Feminism (2000, with Sara Ahmed, Jane Kilby, Celia Lury and Maureen McNeil); Class, Self, Culture (2004); Sexuality and the Politics of Violence and Safety (2004, with Les Moran, Paul Tyrer and Karen Corteen) and Feminism After Bourdieu (2005 with Lisa Adkins).

    Russell Spears is Professor of Psychology at Cardiff University. He is a past editor of the British Journal of Social Psychology, and currently (co)editor of the European Journal of Social Psychology. His research interests are in social identity and intergroup relations, and cover social stereotyping, discrimination, distinctiveness and differentiation processes, group-based emotions, social influence and socio-structural variables such as power and status. He co-authored/co-edited: The Social Psychology of Stereotyping and Group Life (Blackwell, 1997); Social Identity: Context, Commitment, Content (Blackwell, 1999) and Stereotypes as Explanations: The Formation of Meaningful Beliefs about Social Groups (Cambridge University Press, 2002).

    Elizabeth Stokoe is Reader in Social Interaction in the Department of Social Sciences at Loughborough University, UK. Her research interests are in conversation analysis and social interaction in various ordinary and institutional settings, including neighbour mediation, police interrogation, speed-dating and talk between friends. She is the author of Discourse and Identity (with Bethan Benwell, Edinburgh University Press, 2006) and is currently writing Talking Relationships: Analyzing Speed-Dating Interactions for Cambridge University Press.

    Nicole Tausch obtained her DPhil at the University of Oxford in 2006. She is currently a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at Cardiff University where she is working on a project examining predictors of support for terrorism. Her research interests lie broadly in the areas of social identity, intergroup relations, prejudice, and collective action. She has published work on intergroup contact, group-based threat, and trait attribution in journals such as Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, British Journal of Social Psychology, and Political Psychology.

    Valerie Walkerdine is Research Professor in the School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University. She has been researching issues of class, gender and subjectivity for many years and most recently has been working on issues of neo-liberalism, work identity and community. This has involved theoretical and methodological developments in relation to affect and to this end she was awarded an UK ESRC NCRM Network for Methodological Innovation on affect and affective communication. She is founding editor of the journal Subjectivity (Palgrave). Her latest book is Children, Gender, Videogames: Towards a Relational Approach to Multimedia (Palgrave, 2009).

    Pnina Werbner is Professor of Social Anthropology at Keele University and author of ‘The Manchester Migration Trilogy’, including The Migration Process: Capital, Gifts and Offerings among British Pakistanis (1990/2002); Imagined Diasporas among Manchester Muslims (2002) and Pilgrims of Love: the Anthropology of a Global Sufi Cult (2003). In 2008 she edited Anthropology and the New Cosmopolitanism: Rooted, Feminist and Vernacular Perspectives. She has researched in Britain, Pakistan, and Botswana, and is currently director of two research projects: New African Migrants in the Gateway City and In the Footsteps of Jesus and the Prophet: Sociality, Caring and the Religion Imagination in the Filipino Diaspora.

    Margaret Wetherell is Professor of Social Psychology at the Open University, UK and Director of the Economic and Social Research Council Programme on Identities and Social Action. She is a former Editor of the British Journal of Social Psychology. Her recent books include two edited collections presenting the work of the Identities and Social Action Programme Identity in the 21st Century: New Trends in Changing Times; Theorizing Identities and Social Action (both Palgrave). Earlier monographs include Discourse and Social Psychology and Mapping the Language of Racism (with Jonathan Potter) and Men in Perspective: Practice, Power and Identity (with Nigel Edley).

    Helen Wood is Reader in Media and Communication at De Montfort University, Leicester, UK. Her research interests are broadly in media and social theory with a particular emphasis upon methodological innovation to capture the role of media in everyday life. She is author of Talking With Television (2009, University of Illinois Press) and has published a number of articles and book chapters on television, media convergence, cultural studies and audience research. She is assistant editor of the journal Ethnography and has co-edited the collection of the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies Selected Working Papers (2007, Routledge).

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