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后现代身份认同的形成 Postmodernism Identity Formation

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后现代身份认同的形成 Postmodernism Identity Formation

Abstract

This work shall look at the idea of identity formation in the post modern world. First, at definitions of postmodernism and identity formation, and then moving on to describe how identities are formed. To be discussed in particular, are Giddens’ sense of the “reflexive self” and Hall’s theory of the ‘crisis of the self’, drawing upon examples from recreational drug use and looking at how consumption and globalisation have led to multiple narrative representations of self.

Chapter 1
Introduction: Postmodernism and Identity Formation
What is post modernity? Postmodernism; a reaction to modernism; is a state (or complex set of states) that lacks a clear organizing principle which embodies complexity, contradiction, ambiguity and interconnectedness. It is, perhaps, essentially, the embodiment of a general dissatisfaction with modernity, reflecting fundamental changes in attitudes towards what has gone in the past and towards long-held beliefs.
Everyone, it seems, has a different view of what post-modernism actually is. Postmodernism has different definitions in different research areas and according to different academics within these different research arenas. Some academics even disagree about the presence of post-modernity, arguing that postmodernism does not exist.
Giddens (1991), for example, prefers to use the term ‘post-traditionalist’ to describe the state of society at the moment. Postmodernism is, to some, a world view, whereas to others, it is little more than a ‘buzz word’ (Hebdige, 2006).
Kirby (2006) builds on this sentiment of Hebdige (2006). He argues that, following the rise of pseudo-modernism, postmodernism is dead, whilst other authors argue that postmodernism was never a movement, rather only “...the rough outline of a set of self-referential ideals than a genuine cultural movement.” (Willis, 2007, p.44). Many have called postmodernism meaningless, in its most profound sense, as the movement as a whole (if, indeed, it can be called a “movement”), adds nothing to our collective knowledge base.
However this phenomenon is labelled, the idea of identity formation in this changing, ‘post modern’ atmosphere is of interest. How do individuals, in this fractured, multi-narrative society, form their identities? This is certainly a topic that continues to grow in sociological significance, as the factors and conditions pertaining to the construction of our identities have changed, diversified, spread and become more dynamic in this ‘post modern’ world.
Identity formation is the process by which a person develops a personality that is distinct from that of other people. This process serves to define an individual, not only to others, but also to the individual them self (see Levine et al., 2002). In terms of how this definition is maintained, the identity is actuated through a process of development of uniqueness, reinforced through continuity and affiliation (see Levine et al., 2002). The process of identity formation ultimately leads to the notion of personal identity, where identity is forged through individualism and an understanding of one’s own self-concept (see Levine et al., 2002).
What is identity in a post modern world? For many, identity is now a fluid concept, an open question, a construct that is built as one moves along, according to one’s environment and one’s interests and interactions, be these physical or virtual. In a post modern sense, the self is shifting, fluid, or as Berzonsky (2005) argues, identity is dynamic, multiplistic, relativistic, context-specific and fragmented (Berzonsky, 2005). Further, Berzonsky (2005) states, ego identity may serve as a way in which individuals reach out from a personal standpoint in this fractured, post-modern world.
As Kellner (1995) and Featherstone (1991) argue, identity, in the post-modern world, is closely identified with the active consumption of products that are offered to individuals by the media and leisure industries (Ott, 2003). Several academics, whilst disagreeing on the mechanism for this, agree that socio - cultural factors and forces, that structure difference and subsequently create the boundaries essential to identity, have changed dramatically in recent decades (Ott, 2003; see Kellner, 1995; Rosenau, 1992 and Van Poecke, 1996).
As Poster states, “...a post-modern society is emerging which nurtures forms of identity different from, or even opposite to, those of modernity.” (Ott, 2003, p.58). As Kellner (1995) argues, “...one is a mother, a son, a Texan, a Scot, a professor, a socialist, a Catholic, a lesbian - or rather a combination of these social roles and possibilities. Identities are thus still relatively fixed and limited, though the boundaries of possible identities, of new identities, are continually expanding.” (Ott, 2003, p.63).
As the mode of economics shifts from goods-based to service-based, from centralized mass-production to a trans-national, globalise and production, individuals are less likely to locate their identities in pre-given categories and ascribed roles, such that “...class, gender and ethnicity decline in social significance” (see Crook et al., 1992, p.84), whilst the active consumption of ideas and styles grows in importance (see Kellner, 1995).Such that, difference - and, through this - identity, is now defined and affirmed through consumer choice, and, ultimately, therefore, through consumption (see Ott, 2003).
As Ott (2003) argues, the culture industry performs two main functions in terms of identity formation: it provides consumers with explicit identity models showing them how to be, and also provides consumers with the symbolic resources with which to (re)construct their identities. Cultural media, such as television, magazines and general advertising, consequently come to shape the nature of identity, by providing identity models and the symbolic resources for the enactment of the chosen identity (Ott, 2003).
As Ott (2003) argues this purchasing of identity can lead to serious problems, such as losing sight of oneself: as Ott (2003, p. 74) states, in his analysis of The Simpson’s as an exemplifier of postmodern identity construction, “Homer eats, Homer drinks, Homer belches, but, in reality, there is nothing called ‘Homer’ beyond the eating, drinking and belching.
There is no being behind the doing. Homer is just the sum of his actions and no more….In this mode, the subject evaporates and all social and political action becomes futile and absurd.”. Similarly, in the postmodern world, where identity formation is so closely linked to consumerism, it is easy to lose sight of ones true self, in the midst of so many identities that, through the media, are thrown at one.
Although, as Berzonsky (2005) contends, ego identity may serve as a way in which individuals reach out from a personal standpoint in a fractured, postmodern world, through which an individual’s sense of self is preserved, as something that is, yes, adapted by consumerism but which is, essentially, the product of one’s own experiences and decisions regarding ‘self’, Further, ego identity can provide a personal standpoint for acting and decision-making in the fractured, fluid, postmodern world.
For Berzonsky (2005), therefore, identity is a fluid concept in the postmodern sense. There can, however, be no multiple identities for, by definition, identity is “...a singularity, fixed on some dimension that is conserved over time and place” (Berzonsky, 2005, p. 133). As Berzonsky (2005) states, then, there cannot be multiple identities, rather only multiple aspects of one’s personality, something that is exposed through consumerism, with different purchases allowing individuals to express different facets of their personalities.
In summary, identity formation in the postmodern age has arisen from, and is dependent on, consumerism as a driving force. In Berzonsky’s opinion, “…the quest to achieve a sense of identity is important because we live in a relativistic, postmodern age of continual social, political, economic and technological change, which requires continually shifting expressions of one’s self.” (Berzonsky, 2005, p.133).
Whilst postmodernism requires fluidity, this fluidity arises as different responses to ever-changing stimuli, through changing expressions in the different facets of an individual’s multi-faceted personality. Berzonsky’s (2005) view of identity formation in the postmodern world is not as pessimistic as that presented by Ott (2003), which suggests that nothing but a vacuum exists at the core of an individual, but both theoretical approaches to identity formation in postmodern times rely on the development of multiple narratives as a way of dealing with the fluidity of concepts that postmodernism presents to individuals. Subsequent sections of the work will concentrate on expanding these ideas further.

Chapter 2
Literature Review & Methodology
This section will describe how the literature review, which forms the basis of this work, was conducted, in terms of the methodology used to search for, and use, the literature that forms the basis of this work. This section explains exactly how the literature review was performed, in terms of what was done practically in order to find the literature that has been used as the basis for this work. This section essentially describes the methodology that was used to provide an analysis of the specific research question of interest in this work, i.e., “How is identity formed in this postmodern world?”
A literature review is, essentially, a classification and a thorough evaluation of the most relevant works that have previously been published on a particular subject. The literature review is usually organized depending on the particular research objective, so that it presents a systematic, comprehensive review of the work that has been previously published on that specific topic of interest.
From this basis, decisions as to what further research needs to be conducted on the specific topic of interest can be made, from the thorough understanding of the previous works on this subject. A full understanding of the existing literature provides not only a comprehensive review of the existing literature but will also enable the researcher to decide what specific sub-topics, for example, need further investigation.
In this way, therefore, a literature review can inform not only the current research plans but also map the way for future research. After due consideration to the human resources and time frame necessary to collect primary empirical evidence that would prove pertinent to this specific study, adopting a completely literature-based library approach was deemed the most efficient and pragmatic method of research.
Within the scope of this work, ‘the literature’ refers not only to literature such as textbooks, and specialist academic books, but also to the relevant research literature, via published journal articles. A review of the literature that is relevant to the research question of interest thus serves many purposes, including, as has been seen, showing how the current research programme fits in with previous research on the topic, presenting alternate views in order to allow an evaluation of how the proposed research should proceed, and, finally, showing that all of the relevant, previous, work on the current research topic has been evaluated and has been fully understood, validating the current research programme through the support of previously published work (see Hart, 1999).
A literature review is usually conducted before starting any new academic research, because, as has been seen, a thorough review of the literature provides a comprehensive overview of what research has been performed, and provides further information, such as how other researchers have analysed or solved similar problems. In this sense, a literature review is a simple review of the existing literature on a subject but is also an evaluation of this work and the relationships between the existing works (Hart, 1999).
The literature review also allows an evaluation of the relationship between the research that is being proposed and the existing research, giving the researcher food for thought, based on what has gone previously. In this sense, reviewing the literature puts the work that is being proposed in to context by asking any number of relevant questions, concerning what is already known about the topic of interest, what the relationships are between the key ideas, what ideas already exist in terms of understanding the topic, what evidence is needed to finally reach a conclusion and contribution the proposed research will make to the literature (see Hart, 1999).
This exercise, whilst it can be thought of as time-consuming, can be valuable in terms of deciding what problems to approach in the course of the research, how to approach these problems, and how to present the literature review once the relevant literature has been searched, evaluated and summarised (Krathwohl, 1988).
Reviewing previous work can, therefore, provide a practical guide as to how the research one is conducting should proceed, from before the research begins in earnest until its final completion (Madsen, 1992).
The main aim of a thorough review of the literature, as outlined in this section, is to search out and locate relevant literature, to read and to analyse the information that has been found, to evaluate the information, through finding the relevant information in the literature, in terms of positioning the previous literature within the framework of the research that is about to be undertaken (Muskal, 2000).
This requires many skills, such as knowing how to retrieve the necessary information, gathering and organizing the information, being able to critically appraise this information and developing further research questions once the information has been gathered and evaluated (Fink, 2004).
Standard bibliographic databases can be used in order to search relevant literature (Hart, 1999). If, for example, one wishes to find out about how identity is formed in the postmodern world, one would first need to know something about identity formation and postmodernism in general and would thus enter these as search terms. One would then wait for the database to return the details of any relevant, existing, literature.
Such general search terms would normally provide millions of unspecific articles, and, if this is the case, the search terms can be narrowed by entering more specific search terms, for example, ‘identity formation and postmodernism’ or ‘Antony Giddens’. The usual procedure is to enter narrower and narrower search terms until such a point that only literature containing specific information, on the specific research topic of interest, are returned.
These would be the articles that would then be looked at in detail, or used as the basis of other searches. For example, a ‘Citation’ search can be performed, which will return other related articles that focuses on the specific topic of interest that have cited the original article as a reference. This type of searching will obviously return more recent work that has referenced the original research article in some way, either through using the article as the basis for their own research or using the results of the article to support some new findings.
The results from searching the bibliographic database(s) should then be collected together, as these will form the basis of the review of the literature in any further academic work on this topic. Bibliographic database searching is an accepted research tool, and, as such, is a well-recognised ethical research tool (Anson and Schwegler, 2000).
In terms of how the literature for this work was sought for, terms such as ‘postmodernist identity’, ‘Giddens’ and ‘identity formation’ were used as search terms, amongst many others. Web of Science was used as the bibliographic database. This database contains references to most articles published in the last century, covering the fields of psychology and philosophy, amongst others. In terms of deciding which literature to following the bibliographic database search, various criteria were used to assess whether the literature should be included or not.
The literature that was returned following the bibliographic database search was read if it was of general interest to the subject i.e., if it contained any information on identity formation and postmodernism, and if the literature was recent (i.e., published within the last fifteen years) because only recent articles would contain up-to-date information.
This literature was useful in contextualizing the research, in terms of providing a general overview of the topic. The literature that was used in this work was selected if it includedspecific information on identity formation and postmodernism. A list of the literature used in the work is given in the References section, at the end of the work.
In terms of how the work of others can be incorporated in to one’s own research, it is necessary to build upon the work of other researchers in order for knowledge, on a particular subject, to be advanced. Research proceeds in this way; by using the work of others as a starting point; so that research is not repeated and so that research moves in a positive direction, building constructively on the work of others (Krathwohl, 1988).
Using the work of others through the development of a literature-based work is, therefore, entirely ethical, on the condition that the previous work is referenced and cited correctly within the subsequent work (Madsen, 1992). On this basis, then, the bibliographic database searches and the use of literature of interest is a valid protocol for conducting research.

Chapter 3
Examples of Postmodern Identity Formation
Recreational Drug Culture
One example of the formation of identity in the postmodern world is the taking of recreational drugs. The taking of recreational drugs increased with the development of the dance and rave scene in the 1980s, increasing during the development of the ‘clubbing’ scene.
Polls indicate that up to 79% of clubbers have taken recreational drugs at some point in their lives, with ecstasy, cannabis and cocaine being the most widely-used recreational drugs. Although ketamine, heroin and GBH were also mentioned in the responses to the survey (Home Office Survey, 2003).
The same survey (Home Office, 2003) found that the majority of the individuals interviewed felt that drug-taking was an integral part of their lives, which heightened their clubbing experience. Most of the interviewees admitting using recreational drugs and drinking alcohol on the same night every time they go clubbing.
This finding is not to say that drug-taking is as widespread in the general youth population, because many youths are not ‘clubbers’ and are thus perhaps, not involved in the drug scene (see Measham et al., 2001), however, recreational drug-taking is a huge part of many young people’s lives, the way in which they express themselves and identify themselves to others. Why?
What encourages recreational drug use amongst young people? Coggans and McKellar (1994) look at drug use amongst young people, reviewing the importance of ‘peer pressure’ in the onset of illicit drug use; finding that there is little actual evidence for a causal relationship and that, as such, the role of individual choice in drug taking needs to be analysed.
As Coggans and McKellar (1994) suggest, individuals are free to choose to take recreational drugs, whether or not this is bound to social interaction with peers or not, and the choice to do so is not, therefore, necessarily a function of peer pressure.
Novacek et al. (1991) looked at the use of recreational drugs amongst adolescents, finding that there were five main explanations as to why adolescents admit to using recreational drugs: for a sense of belonging, to cope with problems they are having, for pleasure, for enhancing creativity and to cope with the aggression they feel inside themselves. The different reasons corresponding to the frequency with which drugs are used.
In addition, Novacek et al. (1991) found that there were age- and gender-specific relationships between drug use and the reasons behind the drug use, with older males, for example, more likely to admit to using drugs for pleasure, and younger girls more likely to admit to using drugs to foster a sense of belonging.
Dorn (1975) looks at the different functions and varieties of possible explanations for drug use, finding that society has to give a label to drug use (that is usually wholly negative), in order to decide upon how to prosecute drug use. This is affected through the development of policies to achieve social control, and how to treat drug users in need of help.
As Dorn (1975) argues, there are, however, many and varied reasons why individuals take to drugs, including social and economic perspectives, and personal events which lead to the individual deciding to try drugs. Each of these routes to drug use says something about the identity the individual has fostered for themselves and, as such, represents a distinct route to identity formation.
As Duff (2004) argues, recreational drug use is no more than a ‘practice of the self’, as Foucault would say, an expression of one’s self and, as such, should be dealt with using ‘ethics of moderation’ and not as an illegal blight on society. As Duff (2004) argues, referencing Foucault and his ideas of pleasure gives a different perspective on recreational drug use, helping to understand the changing nature of recreational drug use amongst young people, and thus providing new conceptual frameworks with which to attempt to derive policies for controlling drug use.
Duff (2005) continues this reasoning, looking at recreational drug use amongst what she terms ‘party people’, finding (in common with Home Office, 2003) that, amongst this group of young people, drug use has been ‘normalised’, becoming a normal part of their leisure time, as normal as having a beer, for example, or smoking a cigarette.
As Duff (2005) argues, this normalization has implications for policy development in terms of harm minimization programmes. For the youth sampled by Duff (2005), recreational drugs have passed from being something dangerous and illegal, to something that is normal and acceptable amongst their peer group, and the wider society in which they mingle.
For the young people who take recreational drugs regularly, therefore, drugs are part and parcel of their identity formation in our post-modern times.
There is no question that they should not, for various reasons, be taking these drugs: for them, it is absolutely normal behaviour, with their safety being protected and assured through buying their drugs of choice from friends (see, also, Sherlock and Conner, 1999).
This easy, secure, access to the drugs perhaps explains the ease and comfort with which respondents admit their drug taking and use their drugs: for them, it is a natural, safe, thing to be doing, a natural part of their social lives. Many of them do not question the fact that they take drugs: it is as natural to them as any other part of the lifestyle they have chosen for themselves (Duff, 2005).
Jay (1999) looks at the issue of why young people take recreational drugs, arguing from the traditional medical framework, which suggests that people take drugs because they become addicted to them and from a newer perspective, which suggests that people take drugs for pleasure (see, also, Parker et al., 1998).
The latter hypothesis seems to make sense. It is, after all, the recreational drugs that give pleasure which consequently, give fewer records of abusive behaviour associated with them. The use of recreational drugs for pleasure has even been noted in the animal kingdom (Jay, 1999; see Siegel, 1989).
As Jay (1999) further argues, embellished in this idea of pleasure being the main motivation for recreational drug use is the fact that society has, in general, become more adventurous and accommodating as a whole. This general societal climate has led to the atmosphere in which young people grow up assuming experimentation with recreational drugs is acceptable behaviour, becoming a part of their formative years when they are forming their own identity.
They, of course, realize taking recreational drugs is illegal and potentially dangerous, but, as shown by Duff (2005), they minimize the risks by ensuring supply from trusted peers and pass off the illegality issue through references to greater, unpunished, crimes going on around them and the fact that alcohol - now legal - was also illegal only a few decades ago.
As such, the issues of drug use being illegal is not really a concern for them, as their drug use is considered, by them, to be a normal part of their lives, for which, if they keep it low-profile and at a personal level, they are highly unlikely to be punished.
McCrystal et al. (2006) looks at drug use patterns amongst 11 to 12 year olds, finding that there are high levels of drug use in these ages of children, many of whom appear to be otherwise ‘good’ students. These students use drugs for many and varied reasons, many of which are centred around pleasure seeking and relieving boredom. Very few cases of peer pressure were reported.
Although there were suggestions that drug use had become a normal occurrence amongst this group of children, similar to other studies already discussed (such as Jay, 1999 and Duff, 2005). Similar findings were reported by Bahora et al. (2008), who looked at ecstasy use in the United States, concluding that the use of ecstasy amongst those surveyed was regarded as normal behaviour, as something that ‘everyone does’. Again, recreational drug use is a way of forming one’s identity; of identifying oneself with other recreational drugs users, of being accepted into that section of society.
In conclusion, recreational drugs are used widely by youth across the world, a large proportion of whom are assumed to be connected with the dance scene in some way. That said, it is also known that children as young as 11 or 12 are using cannabis on a regular basis (see McCrystalet al., 2006), the ‘drug problem’ is not just confined to clubbers. Many reasons have been put forward as motivators of drug use in this essay; peer pressure, curiosity about what effects the drugs will have on them, a sense of belonging, to cope with problems youth may be having, for pleasure, for enhancing creativity and to cope with the aggression they feel inside themselves.
The different reasons largely corresponding to the frequency with which drugs are used (see Novacek et al., 1991). It has also been seen that people have stated that they take drugs because it is considered normal to do so, is nothing out of the ordinary, that ‘everyone does it’ and so, therefore, them too (see, for example, Duff, 2005). Thus, there are many and varied reasons as to why people start taking, and continue using recreational drugs, all of which have a basis in forging identity.

Chapter 4
Consumption and Identity
Dunn (1999) argues that postmodernism has led to a shift in the bases for identity formation, something that itself, per se, marks the post-modern era. As Lyon (2000) so eloquently phrases it: “...we are recipients of entertainment, shopping for a self.” (Lyon, 2000, p.75). Developments in information technology and the ability to shop anywhere, any time, have reduced time and space, meaning that we now demand the ability to access information in an instant.
People are on demand “24/7”, leading to reconfigurations of how we view ourselves and our place in the world. We are in a world which we feel we know much better, a world which is virtually available at the touch of a button (or the swish of a mouse), on demand. Information on anything anyone is interested in can be found instantly. Through this open, instantaneous, process, we feel we are part of a much larger culture than our long-established, local selves.
For Lyon (2000), in his book Jesus in Disneyland; Religion in Post-Modern Times,it is a complex social situation in which some of the dynamics inherited from modernism are inherited and in which some are distorted beyond recognition. For Lyon (2000) postmodernism has been defined by the development of information technology and social networking and the rise of consumerism. Information technology has made the world smaller, has made identities more fragmented and consumerism has allowed us to express ourselves like never before.
This process, whilst connecting individuals with more people, information and places than ever before, can mean that people become less connected with real - physical, intimate, face-to-face, relationships, leading to social isolation. McPherson et al. (2001) showed, for example, that Americans have significantly less friends than they did two decades ago, with social isolation increasing as a result of this.
However, McPherson and Smith-Lovin’s (1987) hypothesis of homophily - that friends are similar in character and identity - still holds for ‘virtual’ friends. Members of online forums, for example, who become close over cyberspace: similar people will always band together, with people’s personal networks being homogeneous with regards to many socio-demographic factors and interpersonal characteristics (see McPherson et al., 2001).
“The times they are a-changing” sang Bob Dylan, and nowhere is that truer than now, where children plug themselves in to their iPods, downloading music as they wish, accessing information on the internet as and when they desire. It is possible to now parcel the world into discrete pockets, according to your own desires.
Technology has allowed individuals the choice of how, and when, they want to communicate, closing off from other commuters with an iPod, sharing common musical tastes with cyber-friends, again through the iPod, joining in online forums if that is what they want to do. Choice is everywhere, choice is expected, as a fundamental right of this generation.
Through choice, through the freedom of expression that is around, through blogs, for example, and through online forums that are available for almost any specialist interest, from internet sites like You Tube and My Space, individuals can choose who they want to interact with and when they want to interact with them.
For many young persons, this ‘artificial’, cyber life, is their life. It may not be a life that would be recognizable to their grandparents, nor even understood by their parents, but that is their reality. They choose to live like that, maintaining multiple narratives with individuals they have actively chosen to communicate with.
Social isolation is not a concern for these individuals: they drive their own pathway through their lives, interacting with whom they want to interact, when they want to interact, shunning physical relationships in favour of what they consider to be more meaningful virtual relationships.
Individuals are opting out of physical interactions with people they don’t want to interact with (neighbours, commuters etc) in favour of their own world, through their headphones, for example, connected to their iPod, whilst out and about. At home they immerse themselves in online communities, such as SecondLife or any of the number of specialist online forums dedicated to their interests.
Technology has enabled people to have the choice of how and when to interact with others, empowering individuals to dictate how their life flows, at the pace they want it to flow. Many people argue that devices such as iPods and online forums are social minimisers, but postmodernism would, perhaps, label them enablers: enablers of multiple narratives, for example.
As users of SecondLife would argue, social interaction does occur in SecondLife, just ‘not as we know it’, i.e., in a different, pixilated, format. Perhaps SecondLife is the perfect post-modern environment: a ‘meta-verse’, a universe allowing simultaneous, multiple, narratives.
Identity, as a concept, can be defined by consumerism (Dunn, 1999), with the displacement of social relations by commodities having two consequences. Firstly, consumer culture is the primary means through which self is constructed and secondly, the collective identities of class, gender, race, sexuality and ethnicity, along with conventional, institutionalised, social roles are weakened or replaced by more individualised, fluid, ‘lifestyle’ identities, that are constructed in relation to consumer goods, mass media images and fictional media characters (Dunn, 1999, p.67). In this postmodern scenario, relationships are weakened and the definition of ‘self’ comes to rely on an appropriation of the attributes of commodities (Dunn, 1999, p.67).
The modern view of the self, as an integrated social concept, has thus become replaced by a loose aggregate of personality traits that have been assembled through the process of consuming goods and images.
The breakdown of identity formation from social roles to a packaged world of mass culture is viewed as a breakdown in the socialisation process which, in turn, leads to the situation in which media systems undermine the authority of the traditional socialisation agents, leaving the individual adrift in a world of commercialised distractions (Dunn, 1999, p.67).
As Croghan et al. (2006) suggest, consumption is central to the construction of adolescent identities, with consumption, style and identity being linked and style being a crucial means of sustaining and defining both individual identity and also group boundaries. Failure to adhere to such style boundaries leads to style failure, with dire consequences for the social life of adolescents, through social exclusion and status loss (Croghan et al., 2006).
Bovone (2006) looks at the issue of postmodern identity and the transformation of fashion, arguing that the relationship between clothes and identity is part of the larger postmodern set of ideals. As Bovone (2006) argues, precise clothing distinctions, that were traditionally anchored to social class and socio-economic status, are becoming a thing of the past: the fragmented post-modern ideal, and the lack of shared models is leading to the use of clothing as away in which to communicate to others one’s non-exclusive identity.
As Bovone’s work (2006) shows, the production and consumption of culture is changing, no longer the homogenising force it once was, with cultural fragmentation and dispersal becoming dominant, leading to individuals expressing their own identities in subversive ways (Dunn, 1999). Postmodernism ushered in a period in which the perpetually changing marketplace of goods and images offers personal freedom, of expression, and the choice to position oneself within a range of possible ‘selves’.
As Dunn (1999) argues, the postmodern has replaced the idea of ‘self-realisation’, which pre-supposed some sort of lifetime destiny, with ‘experimental self-creation’ in the Nietzschean sense. Within this, however, individuals are expected to produce new self-images all the time, in response to the ever-changing landscapes surrounding them.
Consumerism allows changeable expression of one’s fluid self, through the purchasing of objects that allow one’s self to be expressed. Consumerism provides an arena of conscious experimentation and choice in the construction and elaboration of identity (see Dunn, 1999, p.68).
This has been made possible through the rise of the consumerist society, and the commercial co-optation of new cultural attitudes and values, leading to this postmodern era being labelled ‘hedonistic’ and ‘the era of self-fulfilment’ (Dunn, 1999). Consumerism has pluralized style, providing multiple possibilities for the demonstration of personal style, either in the form of individually constructed lifestyle-based identities or as part of lifestyle identification with different collective groups and categories (Dunn, 1999).
Consumer culture allows novel identities to be constructed: either mass-marketed identities or individualised constructions of style, through the segmentation of markets and the use of sales strategies that target customers with specialised tastes (Dunn, 1999).
The commodity has thus become a vehicle for developing more fully one’s sense of self, with commodities being used, not as instruments of manipulation that distort one’s sense of self but as outward identifiers of self-formation and self-realisation. This is, however, all within the context of ‘mass culture’ being run by a few massive companies, who control the media channels and provide a corporate-led basis to postmodern society. Thus, consumer-based individualism is not pure individualism but rather a pale imitation of authentic individualism, based not on the values of achievement and self-worth but the appropriation of commodities as ways in which to express one’s self within a corporate framework.
A back-lash to this corporate framework is the development of the so-called handmade movement, as witnessed by the popularity of Etsy (www.etsy.com), a place in which artists and crafts people can sell their handmade items. However, postmodern mass culture is still very much based on mass media run by corporations. A great deal of people’s sense of identities, for example, relies on the television, which reinforces the idea of consumer culture (through advertising using this media) and which democratises taste and social relations (Dunn, 1999).
Television, whilst dependent on stereotyping and ritualisation to get its message across, is the site of intersection of multiple social and cultural determinations, a site of multiple messages with intersecting genres, images, styles and experiences. There is, therefore, heterogeneity of television culture, which can provide fuel for the parameters of self experience and identity formation. Indeed, television was the first mass media format to reach a wide range of people, globally, and to encourage people to explore ideas of self and identity.
Gauntlett (2002) discusses the influence of television on identity, from the viewpoint of Giddens’ that we are in a period of late modernity, not yet at a fully post-modern stage, in which the role of tradition is declining and where identities are fluid. As Gauntlett (2002) argues, there are now choices presented to individuals, daily, regarding ‘ways of living’. This is translated into the fact that individuals have to face up to these decisions daily, are forced to assess the ways in which they are living daily, with every new onslaught on their sense of self.
As Gauntlett (2002) argues, the rise of ‘Girl Power’ with the Spice Girls, delineated, through labelling, with ‘Posh’, ‘Baby’, ‘Scary’ was ultimately postmodern and challenged people to define their own identities. In the postmodern world, however, individuals are not passive consumers of technology and marketing. Individuals use the props they gain from television, magazines and popular culture in general, as resources which individuals use as reference points, to think through their own sense of self and possible modes of expression of this sense of self (Gauntlett, 2002, p.256).
As Giddens argues, in the post-traditional order (he does not admit we are in a post-modern era, rather late modernism), self-identity is a reflexive project, and endeavour on which we are continually working and continually reflecting upon (Giddens, 1990; Gauntlett, 2002).
In this scenario, argues Giddens (1990), individuals are continually creating, maintaining and revising a set of narratives to describe our own lives and our position in the world. Self-identity, under this scenario, is thus not a set of traits or characteristics that could be observed but, rather, a person’s own reflexive understanding of their own biography (Giddens, 1991, p.53). As Giddens (1991, p.54) states, “A person’s identity is not to be found in behaviour not in the reactions of others but in the capacity to keep a narrative going.
The individual’s biography, if she is to maintain regular interaction with others in the day-to-day world, cannot be wholly fictive; ...it must continually integrate events which occur in the external world and sort them in to an on-going story about the self” (see Gauntlett, 2002). As Giddens (1991) argues, in this post-traditional society, our role is not defined for us, individuals have to define it for themselves, “What to do? How to act? Who to be? These are focal questions for everyone living in circumstances of late modernity - and ones which, on some level, all of us answer, either discursively or through day-to-day social behaviour.” (Giddens, 1991, p.70).
Thus, consumerism is a fact. We live in a consumerist society, which offers us the chance for multiple narratives to be developed, maintained and changed at will, as circumstances require. This fluidity in the concept of self and in the process of identity formation is a very postmodern phenomenon, with such multiple narratives being upheld through consumerism, of commodities such as consumer wares, or of mass media, either through television, magazines or other popular culture formats.
This atmosphere presents individuals with a variety of lifestyle formats and choices. Lifestyles acting like genre, to provide a background for one’s own particular brand of consumerism, leading to one’s own particular brand of identity through the construction, in the Giddenian sense of the reflexive self, of our own narratives, telling the story of who we are and how we got here.

Chapter 5
Globalisation and Identity
Globalisation is an umbrella term that is used to describe increasing global connectivity and integration and also interdependence in economic, social, technological, cultural and political spheres. Singer’s 2002 book One World: The Effects of Globalisationshows the ethical consequences, and the consequences for notions of self, of national borders and state-centrism blurring, meaning that individuals increasingly come to share one, the same, world. Singer (2002) argues that this decentralization of the world’s markets and drivers, and the construction of this new, wholly global society, makes them interdependent, constituting the basis for an entirely new ethic.
This new ethic, according to Singer (2002), accommodates the interests of everyone living on the planet, not just those select few who happen to be lucky enough to live in the ‘developed’ world, and to have access to everything they need. Singer (2002) argues that this new ethic is beginning to manifest itself in society, and that, at no previous point in history has such a truly global ethic been developed.
This ethic is manifested in the ways in which certain individuals choose to speak out against global issues, such as free trade and global warming, as a way in which to define their self. Their sense of identity, their reflexive narrative understanding of their own self is as part of this global movement.
Singer (2002) argues that a new moral philosophy needs to be developed that is no longer dependent on borders but which is dependent on this idea of ‘one world’. We can, through technology, connect to anyone and anywhere we wish, and so, in some sense, the narratives of self that are maintained are maintained in the knowledge of our global position, our global responsibility.
Singer (2002) thus argues for a change in how we view our moral responsibilities across borders, due to the process of globalisation, arguing that morality itself has become globalised, and that, as such, we need to consider all citizens of the planet in our decisions, not simply just those in our immediate surroundings. This is, of course, a consequence of our sense of selves being extended from our local environment to a more global context.
Globalisation is generally agreed to result in an increasing overall homogeneity, and an increase in standardisation, in broad terms, across the world, due to the swapping of local business and media by multinationals.
As Hall (1997) and Giddens (199) argue, this homogenising tendency leads to ‘crises of the self’ (Hall, 1997) and to re-definitions of self, on the basis of reflexive narratives (Giddens, 1990). As Hall (1997) argues, in the newly globalising world, individuals are both producers and consumers of culture at the same time, leading to the situation in which identity is in crisis.
Old identities, which stabilised the social world, are in decline and new, fragmented, identities are becoming prominent, leading to the ‘crisis of the individual’, which Hall (1997) sees as part of a wider process of change that is dislocating the central structures and processes of society, consequently undermining the frameworks that gave individuals stable anchorage in the social world.
Giddens (1990) contends that as different areas of the globe are drawn in to interconnection with one another, waves of social transformation crash across the whole earth’s surface, changing the nature of modern institutions. These institutions then take on new forms and are organised on quite different principles, disembodying the social space, lifting relations out from the local contexts of interaction and restructuring them across indefinite time-space dimensions (Giddens, 1990), leading to discontinuities.
“...the transformations involved in modernity are more profound than most sorts of change characteristic of prior periods. On the extensional plane, we have served to establish forms of social interconnection which span the globe; in intentional terms they have come to alter some of our most intimate and personal features of our day-to-day existence.” (Giddens, 1990, p.21).
As Ernst et al. (2006) argue, culture has, through the process of globalisation and through the enabling force of technology, made the world smaller and more accessible, leading to cultures merging and traditions being swept away and ultimately, to the ‘bastardisation’ of cultures. As Ernst et al. (2006) show in their cultural survey, this ‘bastardisation’ does not lead to a blanket homogenisation of culture, but rather to different individual responses to the consequences of globalisation.
They argue that the rise of the handmade culture is a response to globalisation, that individuals are expressing themselves through their creativity, something that is enabled, as never before, in this technological world in which one can buy a laptop with enough editing software to be able to produce video, music, high quality photographs and all manner of other programmes to enable creativity and connectedness.
Ernst et al. (2006) thus argue that, in spite of globalisation appearing to lead to homogenisation, a process of crises in identity (Hall, 1997) and an evaluation of an individual’s reflexive narratives (Giddens, 1990), leads to an outpouring of creativity and to the active production of ‘self’ through this creativity. For Ernst et al. (2006), therefore, globalisation in the postmodern world, allows multiple narratives to be creatively developed, tested and upheld as and when desired. Globalisation is actually, therefore, actively leading to the creation of individuality (Ernst et al., 2006).
Ruediger (2006) takes this argument further, stipulating that; “Globalization is not the problem as such...The real problem is that cultures lack the strength to cultivate and enforce values outside of economic norms and widen their transnational scope successfully. Globalization enhances a cultural crisis. “Culture” is not referred to here as a mere cultural branch, which offers an array of entertainment from pure spectacle to modern free time pleasures.
Simply put, culture is a society-dependent, tradition-based, cognitive and value-building ritual and reflection canon. It creates a commitment (in attitude and behaviour), to values...in regards to ethics and morals...In individuals, it also creates the cognitive ability in dealing with complexity, which is essential to the existential and personal search for identity and freedom...” (Ruediger, 2006, p.157).
Thus, globalisation, in this sense, is a force that inspires an enabling of the multiple narrative development of a sense of self, through searching, creatively, for a sense of one’s own identity. The choice of clothes one wears, the choice of friends, the choice of books/blogs/magazines one reads, all of these can be freely made, from a global pool, in order to construct a narrative for one’s sense of self that is workable for that individual.
The globalisation of ideas, of information, has thus been a great enabler of the post-modern development of self identity, in terms of opening up the number of possible narratives and providing evidence that alternative narratives are not only possible, but also desirable.
Therefore; “One does not simply become an integral part of a given culture, but rather trends and fads decide on the validity of a person and give proof that one is capable of becoming integrated as an individual..In fact, we are recipients, members of consumer target groups, who perform quasi-religious acts of substitution in the name of cultural self-conception.” (Ruediger, 2006, p.154).
The globalised world enables such self-directed participation, as active creators of one’s own identity, where an individual will ‘fit in’ somewhere, due to the re-defining of social space as a variety of niches, all of which are open for new members who have defined their reflexive self on the basis of that particular narrative.

Chapter 6
Conclusion
This chapter will provide a review of the main conclusions of each previous chapter and will then present a summary of conclusions regarding the issue of identity formation in the postmodern world.
In Chapter 1, postmodernity was discussed, and it was seen that postmodernism, can be defined as a reaction to modernism, as a state (or complex set of states) that lacks a clear organizing principle which embodies complexity, contradiction, ambiguity and interconnectedness.
It was seen that some academics question the presence of postmodernity, arguing that postmodernism does not exist. Giddens (1991), for example, prefers to use the term ‘post-traditionalist’ to describe the state of society at the moment. Postmodernism is, to some, a world view, whereas to others, it is little more than a ‘buzz word’ (Hebdige, 2006).
As was seen, Kirby (2006) argues that, following the rise of pseudo-modernism, postmodernism is dead, with other authors arguing that postmodernism was never a movement, rather only “...the rough outline of a set of self-referential ideals than a genuine cultural movement.” (Willis, 2007, p.44).
Chapter 1 then moved on to ask ‘what is identity in a postmodern world?’ finding that, for many, identity is now a fluid concept, an open question, a construct that is built as one moves along, according to one’s environment and one’s interests and interactions: be these physical or virtual. In a postmodern sense, the self is shifting, fluid, or as Berzonsky (2005) argues, identity is dynamic, multiplistic, relativistic, context-specific and fragmented (Berzonsky, 2005). As Berzonsky (2005) argues, ego identity may serve as a way in which individuals reach out from a personal standpoint in a fractured, postmodern world.
Chapter 2 is the literature review and methodology. The literature review was done using both the internet searching for the relevant bibliographic databases and the sources of authority. A list of the literature used is detailed in the References section of this work.
This study was conducted, using a library/literature based approach method. No primary research was conducted to gather empirical data. This was due to several factors including, insufficient human resources and time restraints. Furthermore, factors such as the highly theoretical standpoints, and at times sensitive nature of some of the topics (recreational drug consumption) explored in this study, lent considerable support to the proposed appropriateness of choosing this particular research method in this instance.
Chapter 3 looked at recreational drug taking and the culture that surrounds this fact. In conclusion, recreational drugs are used widely by youth, across the world, especially those connected with the dance scene in some way, although it is known that children as young as 11 or 12 are using cannabis on a regular basis (see McCrystal et al., 2006), and so the ‘drug problem’ is not just confined to clubbers.
Chapter 4 looked at the issue of consumption and identity, arguing that postmodernism has led to a shift in the bases for identity formation, something that itself, per se, marks the postmodern era. As Lyon (2000) puts it, we are recipients of entertainment, shopping for a self.
It is concluded that we live in a consumerist society, which offers us the chance for multiple narratives to be developed, maintained and changed at will, as circumstances dictate.
Chapter 5 looked at Globalisation and Identity. The globalised world enables self-directed participation as active creators of ones own identity.
Individuals are freer than ever before to enter in to a reflexive narrative process regarding how they have created themselves and how they want to develop themselves in future. We can watch this reflexive narrative process (Giddens, 1991) almost daily, as individuals constantly create new ‘selves’ in the reality TV programmes that bring us stories of would-be singers, celebrities, Entrepreneurs, dancers, and so on (“Pop Idol”, “The Hills”, “The Apprentice” and “Dancing with the Stars,” for example).
In many such programmes, we are shown amateurish individuals, who are then taken through a process of development, leading to them becoming what they have always wanted to be (a singer, or a dancer or a chef, and so on, depending on the particular programme). The whole of Giddens' (1991) reflexive narrative theory is laid bare for viewers.
These shows tell us that we can reinvent ourselves, we can hold multiple narratives regarding our sense of ‘self’: it is there, for us to see, with our own eyes! Perhaps this is postmodernism in action, the creation of manufactured selves through the choosing of a pathway through multiple possible narratives.
The world has never been so open and information has never flowed so freely: it is natural that identity would be fluid in times such as these, where the possibilities are open for anyone to form any narrative they wish, in an environment where any narrative can find a place, physical or virtual.
In summary; self identity and postmodernism is a complex issue, constantly being (re)shaped by many factors, such as globalisation and the subsequent loss of traditions that this process entails.

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