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

Identity, Genealogy, History

Identity, Genealogy, History

Identity, genealogy, history

How should we do the history of the person?1 What might be the relationship between such an historical endeavour and current concerns in social and political theory with such issues as identity, self, body, desire? More significantly, perhaps, what light might historical investigations cast upon current ethical preoccupations with human beings as subjects of autonomy and freedom, or alternatively, as bound to a national, ethnic, cultural or territorial identity, and the political programmes, strategies and techniques to which they are linked?

I would like to suggest a particular approach to this issue, an approach which I term ‘the genealogy of subjectification’.2 The phrasing is awkward but, I think, important. Its importance lies, in part, in indicating what such an undertaking is ...

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