Unformatted text preview: should not be at war with one another. There are also some questions which primordialism does not answer. Primordialism cannot explain collective identity. It ignores the fact that there are actually some identities that have emerged through time. For example, there are many national identities that developed relatively recently which the logic that supports primordialism cannot explain. Primordialism also cannot explain that the meaning of many identities changes through time. Identity will gain or lose salience in reaction to what is happening in the world. Finally, primordialism does not take into account the fact that individuals can and do choose their own identities and sometimes will change them. This is a widely studied topic in America as we examine how people become more conservative or more liberal as they get older. Sometimes there are even events in a person’s life that will cause them to change their identity entirely. While there are many excellent points made by primordialism, there are some critical faults in the reasoning. Constructivism is the second main theory concerning the politicization of identity. Constructivism assumes that political identities are malleable (even if they do not obviously appear to be so) and that identity is an evolving political process instead of a fixed entity. It holds that identity is largely dependent on social context; society, the economy, and technological change cause identity to become politicized. Karl Marx made a similar observation when he observed that industrialization created an urban working class. That entire group is the result of technological (and thus social) changes. The people in the urban working class were not necessarily born into that class, but as the world changed so did their identities. Political identity also changes as the result of competition for power. Leaders do this by making an effort to appeal to the public either by uniting or creating divides, both of which will result in the politicization of the identities of the people. Identities changing as a resu...
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- Spring '13
- Comparative Politics, Primordialism, political identity, David J. Samuels