Between History and Universality: Understanding Identity in the Public Sphere
Keywords:Identity and History, Public Recognition
Identity is not a fixed and frozen prison-house for the self, but a liquid continuum, affected and shaped by the ‘outside’ or the world. The self, which is situated and which undergoes revisions and transformations, keeps identity as a frame within which it makes sense of things. On the one hand, there is a ‘history’ within which an identity is rooted and through which meaning-making is made possible, and on the other hand, every person aspires to be a ‘universal’ and recognition-worthy human being. Both inherent identity and inherent universality of the self should be considered in their interactions in the public sphere, which has been traditionally viewed as a space of discrete individualities. The ontological force of this argument aside, the paper demonstrates that reduction of an identity without crediting its aspiration for universality and consideration of universality without crediting the historical underpinnings of identity are both acts of violation.
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