Individual identity as strategic fiction

  • IB Garba


The concept and the attendant conceptualization of identity – individual, national, religious or even professional – has, over the years, resulted into various conflicts and polemics throughout the world. Our individual identity, that which supposedly makes each person the same yet different from others, has been an abiding preoccupation of philosophy from Aristotle to Zizek. Therefore, this paper sets out to explore the concept of individual identity from different discursive perspectives. This is done first by offering a working, tentative definition of the term, while arguing against such essentializing process. The paper also briefly discusses the unstable ground of narrative upon which identity is almost always built; the traits of identity; the problem of self-difference and otherness in the construction of identity; and lastly, the related issue of transcendence, religion and globalization in the formation of a “global” identity. The paper concludes by arguing that the contradictions inherent in identity are also its strengths which need to be underlined even when identity is deconstructed.

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eISSN: 1595-0956