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Expanding the ‘social’ in ‘social identity’

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Not enough consideration has been given by some texts in the field of ‘social identity’ to the task of defining society, which is, after all, the notion behind the first half of the field's name. For these particular texts, one very basic definition – ‘society is human interaction’ – is left to stand alone. This paper does not challenge the importance of any of the attempts by these texts (or by any other texts in the field) to describe and analyze the plethora of identities being promoted, invented, or rejected around the world. Rather, it focuses on only the ‘social’ component in ‘social identity’, arguing that the field as a whole would be stronger if all its contributors, or at least the great majority of them, granted this component a more important role. In particular, the paper offers the field three definitional possibilities it might usefully add to the ‘society is human interaction’ definition.
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Keywords: Hobbes; Social identity; genealogy; interaction; lexicography; society

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Emeritus Professor Sociology, Murdoch University, Murdoch, Western Australia, Australia

Publication date: July 3, 2016

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