Reconciling Identity and Diversity: The Narrative Conception of Identity

By Glenda Ballantyne.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The concept of (individual and collective) identity has come to the fore in sociological debates in recent years, and the idea that identities are multi-faceted has become widely accepted. However, clarification of the nature and structure of such identities is often cursory. In this paper, I argue that the hermeneutical conception of narrative identity provides the most adequate basis for a conception which does justice to both diversity and singularity that is implicit in the idea of internally multiple identities. In particular, I argue that Paul Ricoeur’s analysis of the narrative’s capacity to reconcile identity with diversity, variability and heterogeneity gives rise to a highly productive notion of identity as a dialectic of concordance and discordance.

Keywords: Identity, Narrative, Collective Identity, Hermeneutics, Paul Ricoeur

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 3, Issue 10, pp.69-74. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 529.101KB).

Dr. Glenda Ballantyne

Lecturer in Sociology, Social Sciences, Lilydale, Swinburne University, Lilydale, Victoria, Australia

Glenda Ballantyne began teaching sociology at Swinburne, Lilydale, in 2002. Her research interests include social movements, multiple modernities, identity and subjectivity and hermeneutics. Before moving to Swinburne, she taught and undertook a Ph.D at La Trobe University. She was a founding director of the feminist printing and publishing co-operative, Sybylla Press, and has been active in the women’s movement and local initiatives to foster intercultural dialogue and political involvement. Recent publications include Creativity and Critique: Subjectivity and Agency in Touraine and Ricoeur, Brill, Leiden, 2006/7.


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