Social Identity

Social Identity

Social Identity

Social Identity


Without social identity there is no human world. Without frameworks of similarity and difference, people would be unable to relate to each other in a consistent and meaningful fashion. In the second edition of this highly successful text, Richard Jenkins develops his argument that identity is both individual and collective, and should therefore be considered within one analytic framework. Using the work of major social theorists, such as Mead Goffman and Barthes, to explore the experience of identity in everyday life, Jenkins considers a range of different issues, including: * embodiment * categorization and boundaries * the institutionalizing of identities * identity and modernity. Written in an open and student-friendly style throughout, this multidisciplinary text has been thoroughly revised and updated, and is essential reading for all students interested in the concept of identity in the contemporary world.


It is a cold Friday night, rainy and windy. You are dressed for dancing, not the weather. Finally you reach the head of the queue outside the club. The bouncer - or, as he prefers to be known, the doorman - raises his arm and admits your friend. He takes one look at you and demands proof of your age. All you have is money. That isn't enough (or, rather, you don't have enough).

You telephone the order line of a clothing catalogue to buy a new jacket. The young man who answers asks for your name, address, credit card number and expiry date, your customer reference number if you have one, establishing your status as someone to whom, in the absence of a face-to-face encounter, goods can be dispatched in confidence. And also, of course, putting you on the mailing list if you're not already there.

On a train, the stranger in the opposite seat smiles and excuses herself: she has noticed you reading last week's newspaper from a small town several hundred miles to the east. You explain that your mother posts it to you, so that you can keep up with the news from home. She recognised the newspaper because her husband is from your home town. You, it turns out, were at school with her sister-in-law. Before leaving the train she gives you her telephone number.

You hand your passport to the immigration officer behind her glass screen. She looks at your nationality, at where you were born. Your name. She checks your visa. These declare your legitimacy as a traveller, your desirability as an entrant. She looks at the photograph, she looks at you. She asks you the purpose of your visit. She stamps the passport and wishes you a . . .

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