Reconciling Identity and Diversity: The Narrative Conception of Identity
The concept of (individual and collective) identity has come to the fore in sociological debates in recent years, and the idea that identities are multi-faceted has become widely accepted. However, clarification of the nature and structure of such identities is often cursory. In this paper, I argue that the hermeneutical conception of narrative identity provides the most adequate basis for a conception which does justice to both diversity and singularity that is implicit in the idea of internally multiple identities. In particular, I argue that Paul Ricoeur's analysis of the narrative's capacity to reconcile identity with diversity, variability and heterogeneity gives rise to a highly productive notion of identity as a dialectic of concordance and discordance.
Keywords: Identity, Narrative, Collective Identity, Hermeneutics, Paul Ricoeur
Dr. Glenda Ballantyne
Lecturer in Sociology, Social Sciences