Activity: Talks and presentations › Guest lectures, external teaching and course activities at other universities
“Identity and culture” are words heard very much in public discourse these days. In every day conversations and public debates, they are often related to each other. The theme is often in debate. It is a bone of contention. Obviously, for debaters identity and culture are words that convey a meaning. However, debaters all too often seem to assume that meanings of these two words are obvious. They very seldom question their own understanding of the two concepts (of identity and culture) and rarely challenge their own way of establishing a relation between the two concepts.
A socio-anthropological approach to “identity and culture” needs to focus on this common tendency to take much for granted and question too little. One cannot seriously address the theme “identity and culture” without pointing out this necessity to question not only other people’s opinion and understanding but one’s own perceptions and definitions of the issue, concepts, understandings, and relations.
Researchers addressing the theme need to pay attention to not only the hollow arguments in the debate but also to this problematic lack of reflexivity. It is this lack of reflexivity that makes it almost impossible to both understand the issue at stake and to improve human relations.
Skirting the issue of how “identity and culture” appears ideologically on the market of politics and research will result in our missing what matters the most in cultural and identity relations as it will also limit the possibility to go into necessary details in the analysis of why and how people relate to each other and all other “things,” including what they perceive or call their own culture, their own identity, other people’s culture and identity.
Taking my point of departure in market place observations, I will challenge consumers’ – and researchers’ – own perceptions of their experience and relations as they interact in the market place. This will be done in order to emphasize the necessity of conceptualization and the importance of theory and methods.
It is my intention to inspire students and researchers to develop appropriate designs for their research projects, exciting and systematic data gathering, and relevant analytic procedures.
The main theoretical traditions I will refer to come from sociology, anthropology, philosophy, semiotics, and systems and complexity theories.