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Social Theory and Practice

Volume 36, Issue 4, October 2010

Nathan Placencia
Pages 643-660

Am I Who I Say I Am? Social Identities and Identification

This paper aims at further elucidating our understanding of social identities. It does so by focusing on a kind of subjective attachment people have to their social statuses, e.g., their race, ethnicity, gender, familial roles, and other social roles. Specifically, the kind of subjective attachment at issue is identification. Some philosophers have argued that we identify with our social statuses when we self-consciously adopt them as our own. This paper argues against this view and instead suggests that we identify with our social statuses when we care about them. Moreover, it theorizes care as a kind of emotional attunement to our social statuses that sometimes operates below the surface of self-reflective awareness.

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