Stuart Hall focuses on a very important issue concerning identity. The issue has been considered by many thinkers and there is no single answer to the question raised by Hall: who does need ‘Identity’? Hall claims that to answer this question it is necessary to analyze such notion as “identification” (2).
Hall states that identification is people’s ability to recognize “some common origin or shared characteristics with another person or group” (2). The author also mentions that this process is quite subjective and it is nearly impossible to find a perfect fit. Nonetheless, the concept of identification perfectly fits the concept of identity. Hall also claims that identity is subjected to many changes that take place in the course of time.
Therefore, it is essential to analyze identities with respect to historical development of societies (Hall 4). Thus, the researcher defines identities as people’s positions which they choose trying to fit the group, though they understand that there can be no perfect match and it is fine to differ somehow (Hall 6).
Hall also analyzes several points of view and focuses on Foucault viewpoint. Hall claims that Foucault’s explanation of identity is too narrow (13). Hall states that it is important to theorize the notion of identity to make it more applicable. Thus, the researcher refers to Butler’s ideas concerning identity (Hall 15). Hall stresses that Butler developed her understanding of identity in terms of feminism, sexuality and self-identity.
Nonetheless, Hall claims that Butler’s idea that identity is based on exclusion is not delusive as some could think. Hall also states that issues concerning identity and theorizing identity are yet to be solved. To sum up, Hall reveals the importance of theorizing ‘identity’ which will lead to deeper understanding of the processes and factors that affect identities.
As has been mentioned above, Hall provides a definition of identity and focuses on theoretical issues concerning identity. However, Hall still claims that it is important to understand what identity (or identification) is. Hall also articulates the importance of identities in the contemporary world.
Likewise, such authors as Nakayama, Tanno or Hedge claim that the notion of identity is one of the most important in the modern world (Gonzalez et al.). It goes without saying that the authors mentioned above focus on the practical side.
They focus on people’s attempts to find their places in this world. However, the major point of works by Hall, Nakayama, Tanno or Hedge is as follows: issues concerning identity should be analyzed so that people could easily find the most suitable positions.
Admittedly, this idea is very important in terms of Communication Studies. The study concentrates on people’s communication. Diversity is one of the most important issues in this respect. Obviously, it is important to understand what factors influence people’s identities.
It is essential to know which positions people tend to occupy and why. It is necessary to understand how people identify themselves. All this will help researchers to understand how people interact and communicate with others.
Gonzalez, Alberto, Marsha Houston, and Victoria Chen. Our Voices: Essays in Culture, Ethnicity, and Communication. New York, NY: Roxbury Publishing Company, 2003. Print.
Hall, Stuart. “Introduction: Who Needs ‘Identity’?” Questions of Cultural Identity. Eds. Stuart Hall and Paul du Gay. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Ltd., 1996. 1-17. Print.