Why and how do contemporary questions of culture so readily become highly charged questions of identity? The question of cultural identity lies at the heart of current debates in cultural studies and social theory. At issue is whether those identities which defined the social and cultural world of modern societies for so long - distinctive identities of gender, sexuality, race, class and nationality - are in decline, giving rise to new forms of identification and fragmenting the modern individual as a unified subject. Questions of Cultural Identity offers a wide-ranging exploration of this issue. Stuart Hall firstly outlines the reasons why the question of identity is so compelling and yet so problematic. The cast of
A recent change in the writing of cultural criticisms has left the prose plainer, less adorned with the props of the argument's staging. Where once ‘scare quotes’ festooned the text with the frequency of garlands at an Indian wedding, there is now a certain sobriety to semiotic and post-structuralist celebrations. The ‘isms’ and ‘alities’ – those tails that wagged the dogma of critical belief – no longer wave new paradigms or problematics into being. The death of the author, or the interment of intention, are occurrences that arouse no more scandal than the sight of a hearse in a Palermo suburb. Critical practices that sought to detotalize social reality by demonstrating the micrologies of power, the diverse enunciative sites of discourse, ...