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The Field of Identity Studies

Identity entered the social sciences and humanities as a core concept in the 1950s (Gleason, 1983). Over the last 60 years it has become one of the most widely used terms in the social sciences and humanities appearing in the titles of many thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of books and articles. Very few concepts have been as generative. In many ways, though, this success and spread are quite astonishing. Nearly every scholar who works on identity complains about its slippery, blurred and confusing nature. Identity is notoriously elusive and difficult to define and nearly every generation of scholars since the 1950s has included some keen to dismiss it as a consequence concluding it has no analytic value ...

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