Debates about identity have become vitally important. The previous chapters have suggested that identity is definitive of who we are and what we do;related to wellbeing, to the flourishing of long-term ambitions;something that unites humans, while also denoting differences and cultural diversities;both personal and social, a form of social agency which signifies membership within a particular way of life;multilayered, some layers being fundamental and others more ephemeral and contingent; andmade through social practices, cultural representations and socioeconomic-political structures. By the 1970s–1980s, ‘identity politics’ embodied the new emphasis upon individualization, demanding a turn away from materialism, structural analyses and ideology towards culture, discourse, new social movements and the postmodern. It represented a fracturing of old assumptions about solidarity and collectivism, but one which offered exciting possibilities for new ‘decentred’ alliances, political movements and theoretical critiques.
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