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Identity and Identity Politics

Identity—who we are—is often taken for granted; our sex, gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, nationality, and so on constitute “who we are” and make us ourselves. Social theory, however, problematizes this commonsense notion of identity by asserting that identity is inextricably bound up with social categories and social relations, categories and relations that are themselves caught up in each other. The emphasis is on the way the social world has an impact on and shapes identity.

A concern with identity in educational studies often is also a concern about a range of enduring inequalities and the way particular sorts of inequality are attached to particular identities—for instance, women and wages, or minority ethnic students and educational outcomes. The issues are not always straightforward. There is significant ongoing ...

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