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In search of self V

October 16, 2015

This last expression, “grammar of identity”, stands as a central innovation of our inquiry and denotes that approach by which parties can in public discourse. Yet the terms involved can lend themselves to considerable confusion, so it is time now to ask precisely what goes into a grammar of identity. To that effect, we will maintain, in the opening chapter “Constituent elements” of Part II “Grammars of identity”, that citizens’ complex personal identities, informed by sources as diverse as nationality, language, ethnicity, upbringing, class, religion, etc., are at stake in political discussion and that, for fruitful advances in policy and societal balance to be secured, this identity must be taken into account and accorded at least minimal expression by speakers and certain recognition by interlocutors.

In the following chapter “Declining cases”, we aim to do this, positively, by establishing a grammar of identity that, through a number of general rules of association and transformation, takes into account the various influences and traditions informing identity and, negatively, by combatting those theoretical accounts reducing the self’s complex interplay of elements to a single political label or category. This new grammar will provide resources and techniques to interlocutors so as to expose and better take into account the commitments informing their political positions.

Accordingly, in the final chapter of the second part “From declension to discourse”, we will present a combined model of identity that incorporates the strengths of each account account above; this step will be supplemented by ongoing research into alternative models of political identity proposed in political theory and relevant sociologies. In general, this grammar seeks to inject into contemporary political discussion a measure of nuance in terms of association and transformation in preparation for a future abstraction from new such processes to binding discursive principles. In this way, nuance serves not merely to fill out the picture but provides both positive tools for presenting self and for dispelling the illusions, theoretical, practical or otherwise, which surround it, be this from folk psychology or neuroscience.

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