The Idea of Deep Identity

Paul Gilbert

in Cultural Identity and Political Ethics

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780748623877
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671991 | DOI:
The Idea of Deep Identity

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The chapter starts by setting out Herder's two tenets: that cultures are objectively distinguishable, so that self identification is based on recognition of cultural distinctiveness, rather than vice versa; and that cultural identities involve shared features of individual psychology, as in national characters. Three conceptions of such supposedly deep identities are sketched: an agentive one spelt out in terms of factors motivating action; a perspectival, in terms of views of the world; and a narrative, in terms of continuity of life story. These correlate with accounts of culture as characterised by shared values, a common language and a shared history respectively. But, it is argued, no such cultural features need be deep going aspects of individual psychology, and which are appealed to depends upon which best delimit the group for which political claims are made.

Keywords: Culture; Herder; History; Language; National character; Recognition; Values

Chapter.  9255 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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