Practising Identities: Power and Resistance

  • Sasha Roseneil
  • Julie Seymour
Part of the Explorations in Sociology. British Sociological Association Conference Volume Series book series (EIS)


Questions of identity, individual and collective, confront us at every turn at the end of the twentieth century. We are interpellated and interrogated by a multiplicity of voices to consider and reconsider our identities. How we think of ourselves and how we perform ourselves in terms of gender, nationality, ethnicity, race, sexuality and embodiment is up for grabs, open to negotiation, subject to choice to an unprecedented extent. Or so the story goes. In the powerful discourses of consumer culture, in advertising, magazines, self-help manuals, pop songs, we are told that we can seize control of our ‘selves’ to ‘be who we want to be’. Contemporary culture offers up a ‘smorgasbord’ (Cook, Crang and Thorpe, this volume, Chapter 11) of identity options, encouraging us to explore and harness difference in the construction of our identities. We can model our femininity on Baby Spice or Posh Spice, Sporty or Scary, kd lang or Cindy Crawford, Ellen de Generes or Naomi Campbell; we can be ‘new lads’ or ‘new men’, ‘family men’ or ‘career men’; we can be gay or straight, dyke or queen, queer, bisexual, transsexual, transgender; we can be English, British, European, Welsh, Scottish, Irish, Loyalist, Republican, black, Black British, Asian, Muslim, Jewish. The options and combinations of possible identities seem to be infinite.


Gender Identity Social Theory Cultural Identity Late Modernity Identity Option 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© British Sociological Association 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sasha Roseneil
  • Julie Seymour

There are no affiliations available

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