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Borderland Selves: Rethinking Identity in Contemporary Global/Local Articulations
Unformatted Document Text:  of tidy binaries which reproduce the global regime in the very attempt to eviscerate it: center/periphery, western/non-western, developed/developing, etc.” (142). Consequently, when the question of identity formation arises within globalization theory it almost invariably appears as a confrontation between two seemingly irreconcilable understandings. On the one hand, identity (at both individual and collective levels) is seen as a consequence or a product of ‘objective’ global/structural conditions and/or as a function of an all-encompassing process of social reproduction. It is through these systemic conditions that identities achieve coherence and continuity, thus appearing (and assumed) as fixed and unitary social positions (regardless of their ‘content’). Internally, identity (as much mainstream sociology suggests) is assumed to achieve coherence through some underlying factor – commonly, that has been rational self-interest. On the other hand, identity appears as a creative, unstable, pluralistic, and often contradictory process of identification, unfolding within an equally dispersed field of localized social and cultural practices. A decentered identity, which by definition can never be totalized, nor fully determined. Identity then is seen as a moment of temporary attachment, constituted out of discontinuous fragments, a product (although never final) that emerges in the play of difference, where self and other are always (and only) defined by their negativity – i.e., each constituted by what it is not or, as it is frequently invoked in postmodernist discourse, by its ‘constitutive outside.’ These binary conceptualizations of the global/local articulation and of identity formation are certainly problematic, both theoretically and politically. Theoretically, they force us into a model of determination that is reductionist, that focus its attention on entities (whether it is the global, the local, or whatever form of particularistic identity) over relations, where parts become discrete "objects" (whether they are "macro" or "micro") that

Authors: Correa, Andres.
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of tidy binaries which reproduce the global regime in the very attempt to eviscerate it:
center/periphery, western/non-western, developed/developing, etc.” (142).
Consequently, when the question of identity formation arises within globalization
theory it almost invariably appears as a confrontation between two seemingly irreconcilable
understandings. On the one hand, identity (at both individual and collective levels) is seen as
a consequence or a product of ‘objective’ global/structural conditions and/or as a function of
an all-encompassing process of social reproduction. It is through these systemic conditions
that identities achieve coherence and continuity, thus appearing (and assumed) as fixed and
unitary social positions (regardless of their ‘content’). Internally, identity (as much
mainstream sociology suggests) is assumed to achieve coherence through some underlying
factor – commonly, that has been rational self-interest. On the other hand, identity appears
as a creative, unstable, pluralistic, and often contradictory process of identification,
unfolding within an equally dispersed field of localized social and cultural practices. A
decentered identity, which by definition can never be totalized, nor fully determined.
Identity then is seen as a moment of temporary attachment, constituted out of discontinuous
fragments, a product (although never final) that emerges in the play of difference, where self
and other are always (and only) defined by their negativity – i.e., each constituted by what it
is not or, as it is frequently invoked in postmodernist discourse, by its ‘constitutive outside.’
These binary conceptualizations of the global/local articulation and of identity
formation are certainly problematic, both theoretically and politically. Theoretically, they
force us into a model of determination that is reductionist, that focus its attention on entities
(whether it is the global, the local, or whatever form of particularistic identity) over
relations, where parts become discrete "objects" (whether they are "macro" or "micro") that


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