2a.ikuscommentary.daanen_hametner_joerchel (p)

2a.ikuscommentary.da - The
Rise
of
Reflexive
Identity
in
Moments
of
Breakdown.


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Unformatted text preview: The
Rise
of
Reflexive
Identity
in
Moments
of
Breakdown.
 Commentary
on
“Reflexive
and
Non­reflexive
Identity
 Perceptions:
Finding
a
Balance”
(Katharina
Hametner
&
 Amrei
C.
Joerchel)
 PAUL
DAANEN
 University
of
Cambridge
 
 
 
 Hametner
and
Joerchel’s
(2009)
paper
provides
us
with
an
introductory
overview
of
some
 of
the
current
theorizing
concerning
identity.
They
first
introduce
the
basic
and
traditional
 understanding
 of
 identity
 as
 the
 response
 to
 the
 question
 of
 who
 one
 is
 (p.
 23).
 Furthermore,
they
 appropriately
equate
 this
understanding
of
identity
with
the
necessary
 presence
of
reflexivity.
Thus,
in
this
sense,
identity
is
something
consciously
evoked
out
of
 the
background
in
response
to
a
question.
 
 The
authors
then
move
on
to
introduce
work
which
advocates
 the
conceptualizing
identity
 as
 a
 fluid,
 processual
 phenomenon.
 Hametner
 and
 Joerchel
 summarize
 this
 position
 by
 explaining
that
“identity
is
nothing
that
a
person
has
from
birth
or
something
that
one
could
 attain
 once
 and
 for
 all,
 but
 something
 that
 must
 be
 constructed
 in
 daily
 identity
 work.
 Identity
 in
 this
 case
is
 not
 a
 secure
outcome,
 but
a
 temporary
 state”
 (pp.
23‐24).
Thus,
 in
 this
 second
 sense,
 identity
 is
 a
processual
 phenomenon
and
 may
be
 defined
 as
 something
 continuously
 constructed—yet
 never
 completed—throughout
 the
 course
 of
 one’s
 life.
 Equally
important
for
the
point
I
want
to
make
here,
however,
is
this
idea
that
identity
can
 be
thought
of
as
a
‘temporary
state.’
 
 Like
 Hametner
 and
 Joerchel,
 I
 see
 some
 merit
 in
 these
 two
 positions.
 Clearly,
 we
 are
 all
 familiar
 with
 moments
 when
 we
 are
 consciously
 aware
 of
 certain
 aspects
 of
 our
 identity
 (e.g.,
 when
 we
find
 ourselves
 as
 a
minority
 in
some
 respect).
Alternatively,
I
imagine
 that
 we
 all
 might
 agree
 that
 our
 identity
 is
 a
 fluid
 phenomenon
 that
 often
 shapes,
 shifts
 and
 changes
in
light
of
circumstance
and
experience.
After
all,
I
am
not
the
same
person
I
was
 ten
years
ago,
nor
do
I
think
of
myself
in
the
same
way
across
all
situations.
 
 The
 problem
 for
 Hametner
 and
 Joerchel,
 however,
 is
 the
 over
 reliance
 that
 these
 two
 positions
place
on
the
necessary
presence
of
conscious
awareness,
or
reflexivity,
at
the
core
 of
 their
 theorizing.
 I
 very
 much
 agree
 with
 the
 authors,
 but
 I
 would
 like
 to
 take
 their
 criticism
 one
 step
 further.
 The
 problem
 with
 ‘overly
 cognitive’
 conceptualizations
 of
 identity
is
merely
a
subset
of
the
more
general
problem
of
an
‘overly
cognitive’
depiction
of
 ‘human
nature’.
Since
Plato,
the
thinking
and
reasoning
inherent
to
theoretical
knowledge
 has
 been
 prized
 above
 all
 (in
 the
 Western
 world
 at
 least).
 Since
 Descartes,
 theoretical,
 reflective
 thought
 has
 come
 to
 be
 ontologized;
 not
 as
 something
 we
 specifically
 do
 when
 engaging
in
philosophical
or
scientific
thinking,
but
rather
as
the
essence
of
how
we
picture
 Psychology
&
Society,
2009,
Vol.
2
(1),
29
‐
32
 29 the
 very
 nature
 of
 the
 human
 subject
 (Taylor,
 1993).
 As
 Costall
 (2007)
 argues
 forcefully,
 this
assumption
has
proven
deeply
problematic
for
Psychology.
 
 At
the
very
end
of
their
paper,
Hametner
and
Joerchel
try
to
rectify
this
issue
by
offering
a
 synthesis
of
the
reflexive
and
non‐reflexive
properties
of
identity.
In
what
follows,
I
would
 like
to
offer
a
suggestion
which
builds
on
their
efforts.
More
specifically,
I
will
very
briefly
 introduce
 aspects
 of
 Heidegger’s
 phenomenological
 critique
 of
 this
 ‘overly
 cognitive’
 perspective
and
briefly
explain
how
it
contributes
to
an
amelioration
of
our
understanding
 of
the
relationship
between
reflexive
and
non‐reflexive
aspects
of
identity.
 
 IDENTITY,
REFLEXIVITY
AND
BREAKDOWN
 
 The
 key
 to
 understanding
 the
relationship
 between
 reflexive
 and
 non‐reflexive
 aspects
 of
 identity,
 in
 my
 mind,
 does
 not
 begin
 with
 examining
 identity
 per
 se.
 Rather,
 in
 order
 to
 properly
 understand
 this
 relationship,
 we
 must
 first
 understand
 the
 circumstances
 under
 which
 conscious
 thought
 or
 reflexivity
 itself
 is
 justifiably
 present
 or
 not.
 In
 other
 words,
 understanding
 the
 reflexivity
 of
 identity
 is
 merely
 a
 part
 of
 understanding
 the
 justifiable
 presence
of
reflexivity
more
generally.
 
 Now,
I
 have
 used
 the
 term
 ‘justified’
 here
for
 a
specific
 reason;
namely,
 that
the
 extent
 to
 which
we
understand
the
necessary
presence
of
reflexivity
in
human
behavior
depends
on
 argument,
 not
on
strongly
conclusive
 data.
On
 the
one
 hand,
 many
 advocates
of
 Cognitive
 Science
(to
paint
with
broad
brush
strokes)
might
argue
that
conscious,
reflective
thought
is
 a
 feature
 of
 all
 of
our
 activity
 in
 the
 world.
 ‘Rational
 Choice
 Theory’
 and
 ‘the
 information
 processing
model
of
the
mind’
are
perfect
examples
of
what
I
am
referring
to
here.
On
the
 other
 hand,
 however,
 there
 are
 those
 who
 argue
 that
 conscious
 awareness,
 calculation,
 cognition
 or
 reflexivity
 do
 not
 characterize
 our
 most
 basic
 experiences
 and
 interactions
 with
 the
 world;
rather,
the
presence
of
 reflexivity
derives
 out
of
our
 routine,
habitual
 and
 thus
 non‐reflective
 actions
 and
 interactions.
We
 might
refer
to
 this
second
 position
as
the
 Heideggerian
 phenomenological
tradition,
 which
 has
 been
expanded
upon
in
Sociology
 by
 Bourdieu’s
(1977)
concepts
of
habitus
and
field.
 
 Although
I
can
not
go
into
the
respective
arguments
of
either
position
in
more
detail
here,
 in
my
mind,
it
is
this
latter
tradition
which
offers
us
the
best
possibility
for
synthesizing
the
 reflexive
and
non‐reflexive
 aspects
 of
identity,
 and
 thus
contribute
to
the
present
topic
 at
 hand.
The
reason
for
this
is
that
Heidegger
brings
both
reflexivity
and
non‐reflexivity
under
 a
 common
 explanatory
 framework.
 Allow
 me
 to
 present
 a
 very
 simple
 example.
 It’s
 a
 Monday
 morning.
 I
 wake
 up,
 take
 a
 shower,
 eat
 some
 breakfast
 and
 proceed
 to
 drive
 to
 work.
I
park
my
car,
enter
my
office
building
and
start
typing
away
at
my
computer.
Now,
 the
key
question
for
our
purposes
here
is
the
following:
How
much
reflexivity
or
conscious
 thought
 is
 necessary
 in
 order
 to
 complete
 this
 routine
 activity?
 Following
 Heidegger,
 I
 would
argue
 hardly
 any
 at
 all.
 I
 ‘know
how’
to
 drive
 cars,
open
 office
 building
 doors,
 take
 showers
 and
 type
 on
 my
 computer.
 It
 is
 not
 necessary
 to
 posit
 that
 in
 order
 to
 complete
 these
 tasks,
 I
 have
 to
 somehow
 be
 interpreting
 symbols,
 following
 rules
 or
 verifying
 my
 beliefs
 against
the
reality
of
a
world
‘out
there.’
No,
I
get
into
the
car
and
drive;
I
turn
the
 door
knob
and
walk
through
the
door
with
absolute
fluidity
and
ease.
The
reason
for
this
is
 Psychology
&
Society,
2009,
Vol.
2
(1),
29
‐
32
 30 that
 the
 meaning
 of
the
 door
 knob
on
the
office
door
 is
immediately
 and
non‐consciously
 obvious
to
me
by
virtue
of
the
very
act
of
perception
itself
(Daanen,
2009).
To
be
a
‘cultural
 being’
who
is
‘at
home’
in
one’s
culture
is
to
immediately
and
non‐consciously
‘know
how’
 to
interact
with
the
world
without
having
to
think
about
it.
 
 However,
 if
 for
 some
 reason
 my
 routine
 engagement
 with
 the
 world
 ‘breaks
 down’
 or
 ‘ruptures,’
 then
 it
 makes
 perfect
 sense
 to
 conclude
 that
 conscious
 thought
 or
 reflexivity
 arises.
If
I
grab
the
door
knob
and
it
falls
off
in
my
hand,
I
suddenly
become
conscious
of
my
 relationship
with
the
door,
the
door
knob
and
the
office
I
am
trying
to
enter
in
a
way
that
I
 wasn’t
before.
Now,
‘breakdown’
or
‘rupture’
aren’t
the
only
ways
we
become
conscious
of
 aspects
of
our
world—I
might
love
philosophically
expounding
on
the
utility
of
door
knobs.
 Alternatively,
I
might
 travel
 to
a
different
culture
than
 my
own
 and
not
‘know
how’
to
do
 things
in
the
appropriate
ways.
I
might
therefore
be
required
to
think
about
how
I
should
 do
things,
perhaps
by
watching
and
observing
how
locals
behave
in
an
effort
to
understand.
 I
might
even
develop
a
list
of
rules
to
guide
my
behavior.
However,
the
point
to
take
from
 this
is
that
all
of
these
examples
are
derivative
and
‘abnormal’
ways
for
most
of
us
to
exist
 in
the
world.
 
 Now,
 you
 might
 ask
 yourself
 what
 this
 has
 to
 do
 with
 identity?
 The
 point
 I
 am
 trying
 to
 make
 here
 is
 that
 our
 consciousness
 of
 ourselves
 as
 possessing
 a
 certain
 identity
 is
 essentially
similar
to
our
consciousness
of
door
knobs
during
moments
of
‘breakdown.’
In
 our
 most
 basic
 and
 everyday
 interactions
 with
 the
 world,
 there
 is
 no
 need
 to
 posit
 the
 necessary
presence
of
a
conscious
awareness
of
myself
as
present
(as
 John
Locke
did).
So,
 for
 example,
 when
 I
 am
 at
 the
 supermarket
 buying
 some
 cheese,
 I
 am
 unlikely
 to
 be
 conscious
of
myself
as
a
male,
an
American
or
a
fan
of
the
Chicago
White
Sox
(my
favorite
 baseball
 team).
 Provided
 all
 is
 routine
 and
 non‐problematic,
 my
 identification
 with
 these
 aspects
of
‘my
self’
are
just
not
consciously
present
for
me
in
this
act.
 
 However,
while
trying
to
decide
between
Gruyère
or
Manchego,
if
someone
approaches
me
 and
 yells
 ‘the
 Chicago
 White
 Sox
 stink!’
 (perhaps
 because
 I
 am
 wearing
 their
 team
 hat),
 I
 might
suddenly
become
very
conscious
of
this
aspect
of
my
identity.
My
identification
 with
 the
Chicago
White
Sox
arises
out
of
a
rupture
in
my
non‐reflexive
 being­in­the­world.
After
 this
episode,
I
might
return
home
and
forget
all
about
this
incident.
My
identification
with
 the
 Chicago
 White
 Sox
 is
 still
 there
 and
 a
 ‘part
 of
 me’
 in
 the
 sense
 that
 it
 will
 non‐ consciously
shape
my
practices.
For
example,
I
will
turn
on
the
White
Sox
game
and
cheer
 for
them
instead
of
some
other
team.
However,
the
point
here
is
that
I
don’t
self‐consciously
 identify
myself
as
a
White
Sox
fan
while
doing
so.
After
coming
back
from
the
supermarket,
 my
reflexive
identification
with
the
Chicago
White
Sox
has
receded
into
some
non‐reflexive
 corner
of
‘my
self’
until
the
next
time
a
rupture
or
breakdown
calls
it
forth.
 
 CONCLUSION
 
 In
the
very
beginning
of
this
paper,
I
summarized
two
of
the
main
theoretical
articulations
 of
 identity
 that
 Hametner
 and
 Joerchel
 introduced
 and
 subsequently
 found
 incomplete;
 namely,
that
identity
has
been
conceptualized
as
both
a
conscious
response
to
the
question
 of
 who
 am
 I?,
as
well
 as
a
 procedural
phenomenon
 qua
 ‘work
 in
progress.’
Hametner
 and
 Psychology
&
Society,
2009,
Vol.
2
(1),
29
‐
32
 31 Joerchel
 conclude
 their
 paper
 by
 arguing
 for
 a
 revised
 emphasis
 on
 the
 role
 of
 non‐ reflective
 aspects
 to
 identity.
 They
 advocate
 the
 importance
 of
 understanding
 identity
 as
 implicitly
 present
 in
 our
 practical
 engagements
 with
 the
 world,
 where
 the
 conscious
 articulation
 of
 identity
 is
 only
 ever
 partially
 possible.
 In
 introducing
 the
 relevance
 of
 Heideggerian
 phenomenological
 arguments
 concerning
 the
 rise
 of
 conscious,
 reflexive
 thought
 in
 moments
 of
 rupture
 or
 breakdown,
 I
 hope
 this
 very
 short
 commentary
 might
 help
 to
 further
 explicate
 this
 relationship
 between
 reflexive
 and
 non‐reflexive
 aspects
 of
 identity.
 
 References
 
 Bourdieu,
P.
(1977).
Outline
for
a
theory
of
practice.
Cambridge,
UK:
Cambridge
University
 Press.
 Costall,
A.
(2007).
The
windowless
room:
‘Mediationism’
and
how
to
get
over
it.
In
J.
 Valsiner
&
A.
Rosa
(Eds.),
The
Cambridge
Handbook
of
Sociocultural
Psychology.
 Cambridge,
UK:
Cambridge
University
Press.

 Daanen,
P.
(2009).
Conscious
and
non‐conscious
representation
in
Social
Representations
 Theory:
Social
Representations
Theory
from
the
phenomenological
point
of
view.
 Culture
&
Psychology,
15,
(3).
 Hametner,
K.
&
Joerchel,
A.
(2009).
Reflexive
and
non‐reflexive
identity
perceptions:
 Finding
a
balance.
Psychology
&
Society,
2
(1),
22‐28.
 Taylor,
C.
(1993).
Engaged
agency
and
background
in
Heidegger,
In
C.
Guignon
(Ed.),
The
 Cambridge
Companion
to
Heidegger.
Cambridge,
UK:
Cambridge
University
Press.
 
 AUTHOR
BIOGRAPHY
 
 Paul
 Daanen
 is
 completing
 his
 PhD
 in
 Social
 and
 Cultural
 Psychology
 at
 the
 University
 of
 Cambridge.
 His
research
examines
 how
the
English
speaking
 community
of
Montreal
 is
in
 the
 process
 of
 renegotiating
 their
 identity
 in
 order
 to
 cope
 with
 the
 sudden
 rise
 of
 Francophone
nationalism
in
Quebec.
After
completing
his
PhD,
Paul
is
exploring
additional
 research
opportunities
to
further
refine
the
theoretical
framework
he
developed
in
Quebec
 by
 applying
 it
 to
 other,
 closely
 related
 social
 and
 political
 situations.
 Apart
 from
 his
 research,
Paul
is
also
very
interested
in
current
theoretical
debates
in
Cultural
Psychology,
 Sociology
and
Philosophy,
and
in
particular
how
these
debates
may
be
synthesized
in
order
 [email protected]cam.ac.uk
 Psychology
&
Society,
2009,
Vol.
2
(1),
29
‐
32
 32 ...
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This note was uploaded on 03/06/2011 for the course PSYCH 212 taught by Professor Dansullivan during the Spring '11 term at NYU.

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