The Symposium

In social science and philosophy, there is increasing awareness of the importance of the politics of self and identity. Many contemporary social conflicts do not primarily concern material assets or power relations as such, but rather revolve around recognition of individual and social identities: whether or not the socio-political processes acknowledge the intrinsic value of social and individual identities in terms of ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation etc. 

This symposium is an interdisciplinary exploration of self and identity. Scholars from humanities, social sciences, biology and psychology will search common grounds in understanding human self-experiences.  One line of research that will be addressed is Social Identity Theory. Social identity is the part of an individual’s sense of who they are based on experienced membership in various social groups. Social Identity Theory predicts an individual’s behaviour on the base of group memberships and the legitimacy and stability of the membership. 

Another key research line of the symposium will involve the intertwinement of self and interaction. In his seminal work, Erving Goffman suggested that self-image is involved in all social interaction. Participants in all social encounters make direct and indirect claims regarding who and what they are; these self-images need continuous reworking and protection.  

The symposium will provide the participants with an up-to-date understanding of the many faces of the self and identity research. Classical theoretical questions will meet contemporary empirical research in various disciplines. 

Image credit: Ofri Cnaani, Blue Print 16, 2012, Cyanotype, 47 x 37 cm