Ambiguities of Transnational Identities: Divergent Convergence and Convergent Divergence between Ethnicising and Cosmopolitanism

UTS Cosmopolitan Civil Societies Research Centre
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The concept of identity as the awareness of the Self and the Other implicates the notion of a more or less explicitly perceived and felt perception of continuity in time and homogeneity in space. As the two aspects of personal and of social identity are inextricably interconnected, identity as a societal and as a scientific concept is an outcome of the ideas of humanism and of the process of modernisation. In the era of reflexive modernisation the idea of identity is challenged in social practice as well as in social sciences. Notions like multiple, transitory or hybrid identity and identity as ‘politics if belonging’ indicate their multiple levels, their dynamics in time, their heterogeneity in space, as well as their incoherence in spite of homogeneity, their discourse character, and their relation to interests and negotiations. In this general context, the paper focuses on two related specific aspects of identity: the process of transnationalisation of identities and the relation of identities to the frame of reference of humanism. It is argued (1) that transnational identities always existed as marginal phenomena but now become a general feature, and (2) that this leads neither to a segmented ethnicising nor to a generalised simple humanism as cosmopolitism. These main arguments are developed proposing different types of humanisms and the notion of divergent convergence and convergent divergence using the example of citizenship.
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