Signs of Identity : The Anatomy of Belonging book cover
1st Edition

Signs of Identity
The Anatomy of Belonging

ISBN 9781138280946
Published August 8, 2017 by Routledge
182 Pages

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Book Description

Signs of Identity presents an interdisciplinary introduction to collective identity, using insights from social psychology, anthropology, sociology and the humanities. It takes the basic concept of semiotics – the sign – as its central notion, and specifies in detail in what ways identity can be seen as a sign, how it functions as a sign, and how signs of identity are related to those who have that identity. Recognizing that the sense of belonging is both the source of solidarity and discrimination, the book argues for the importance of emotional attachment to collective identity. The argument is supported by a large number of real-life examples of how collective emotions affect group formation, collective action and inter-group relations. By addressing the current issues of authenticity and the Self, multiculturalism, intersectionality and social justice, the book helps to stimulate discussion of the contested topics of identity in contemporary society.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction  2. The Conceptions of Collective Identity  3. The Nature of Social Phenomena  4. Identity as Sign  5. Identity Signals  6. Identity Meanings  7. Identification  8. Identity Negotiation  9. Hot and Cold Identities  10. Epilogue: What Next?

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Martin Ehala is Professor and Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics, University of Tartu, Estonia.


This is a good book – interesting, readable, well-researched, thorough, and comprehensive. It
attempts to encompass relevant findings from a wide variety of angles and disciplines, and it
progresses systematically and methodically. It presents the bricks and mortar of identity-building
before moving to the most intriguing issues in the contemporary world, those that pertain to the
persistence of national identities (especially in the eastern part of Europe, from where the Estonian
author hails).
Ulf Hedetoft, University of Copenhagen, Journal of multilingual and multicultural development, 2018