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The Political Configuration of Identities - Professor Denis-Constant Martin (Sciences Po Bordeaux)

December 6, 2012

Thursday, 31 January 2013 to Friday, 1 February 2013
17:00 - 19:00
Location: S1, First Floor, and SG2 Ground Floor, Alison Richard Building

The French Embassy has generously sponsored a cycle of lectures and workshops which bring to Cambridge leading scholars from France to interact and foster research collaborations with experts in Cambridge from across the Schools of Arts and Humanities and Humanities and Social Sciences. In this second year of collaboration, the cycle of talks and workshops will explore the complex theme of identity in 21st-century France and beyond.

The lectures, which will be given in English, are open to any member of the University.   

In this second lecture, co-organised by the Centre of African Studies, Professor Denis-Constant Martin (Sciences Po Bordeaux, University of Bordeaux) will give a talk on The Political Configuration of Identities. 

What is commonly called “identity” has become a central theme in political debates that take place in many societies around the world. The findings of academic studies conducted in various countries converge in showing that “identities” are always the result of processes of social construction which generate narratives combining arguments related to memory, space and culture in order to give “identities” an affective dimension capable of uniting citizens beyond their differences. However, “identity” considered as a social construct is eminently fluid and plural. It therefore needs to be configured to become an efficient tool of political mobilization. This talk will focus on the political processes of identity configuration, taking into account the dialectics of imposition and self-definition, and examine the strategies of “identity” entrepreneurs and the effectiveness of their endeavours.

An interdiciplinary workshop based on Professor Martin's paper will be held the following morning, Friday 1 February, from 10:00 to 12:30. Further details will be posted shortly.