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Please contact mpub-help umich. For more information, read Michigan Publishing's access and usage policy. Why do we wear business suits or Star Trek pins? Part of the answer, we think, has to do with what we call agential identity. Social metaphysics has given us tools for understanding what it is to be socially positioned as a member of a particular group and what it means to self-identify with a group.
But there is little exploration of the general relationship between self-identity and social position. We take up this exploration, developing an of agential identity—the self-identities we make available to others. Agential identities are the bridge between what we take ourselves to be and what others take us to be.
Understanding agential identity not only fills an important gap in the literature, but also helps us explain politically important phenomena concerning discrimination, malicious identities, passing, and code-switching. These phenomena, we argue, cannot be understood solely in terms of self-identity or social position. But in another sense, it was hugely informative. How should we understand this phenomenon?
Social metaphysics has given us many tools for understanding what it is to be socially positioned as a member of a particular group, such as women or people with disabilities. We take up this exploration, which le us to develop a model of agential identity. On our model, agential identities are the self-identities we make available to others—they bridge what we take ourselves to be with what others take us to be. Agential identities are unexplored in social ontology, particularly in comparison with social position and self-identity.
We think a concept of agential identity is central to understanding how individuals navigate social landscapes. As it stands, this literature has a conceptual lacuna concerning how individuals purposefully shape the way they are perceived. Agential identity helps us explain certain politically important phenomena that cannot be understood solely in terms of self-identity or social position.
We discuss four such phenomena in detail in Section 2. As a case in point, we focus on regulatory policy preventing trans persons from achieving social transition, which brings their public perception in line with Bicurious but friend first age between 2330 gender.
Such discrimination, we argue, is best understood as targeting people on the basis of their agential identity. We think not. But how far does this duty extend? For example, if a friend begins to claim a white nationalist identity, does this identity deserve respectful, socially cooperative uptake? It seems not, but on what basis may we refuse social uptake of this or any other identity claim?
Here, we suggest that the difference between self- and agential identities is crucial. When an agential identity causes unjustified harms, this defeats any obligation to respect that identity. In short, by distinguishing between self- and agential identity, we leave room for circumstances in which it is appropriate to refuse social uptake of an identity claim. Standardly, passing is defined as occurring when a person achieves the social position of a social group membership without in fact belonging to that group—that is, when they are falsely taken to be a member of a social group.
A paradigm case of passing, in this sense, was when John Howard Griffin successfully travelled through the American South in the guise of a black man while writing Black Like Me. There is an important sense in which such an individual is passing, but one that cannot be ed for only in terms of group membership or self-identity. Here too, we argue, we need a concept of agential identity. Code-switching is a ubiquitous phenomenon.
When we switch what language we speak as we cross borders, or what clothes we wear between work and the pub, we are code-switching. Code-switching often is glossed as the ability to behaviorally adapt to various social contexts. We think glosses like this do not get to the heart of code-switching, and that our of agential identity allows for a sharper, clearer analysis. Here, we argue that code-switching can be helpfully understood as the Bicurious but friend first age between 2330 or automatic revision to real or perceived agential identities as one moves between contexts. That is, in other words, code-switching occurs when intentionally or not we revise the way that we perform agential identities, whether or not those identities are genuine.
What is an agential identity? How does agential identity relate to social groups? What is distinctly agential about them? Answering these questions is our present goal, and one that is essential for what we take to be the heart of our project: the normative upshots discussed in Section 2.
Agential identities are, on our picture, a relation between individuals, their self-identities, and social positions. In order to understand this picture of agential identities, we need to understand social positions —roughly, positions into which individuals are sorted when they are perceived as belonging to a certain social group. These coordinated responses arise from our shared cognitive attitudes. For example, consider the Eruca sativa plant.
One of the social practices associated with Eruca sativa is referring to it by a common name. Even though these two contexts share the view that Eruca sativa is edible, the difference in their referring practices means that they do not have a coordinated response to that resource, at least when it comes to naming.
In this way, they serve as the basis for many behavioral and emotional dispositions. The ability to coordinate with others requires awareness of and responsiveness to a vast network of interrelated social blueprints. We can think of these networks as the social contexts we occupy.
They build coordinated behavior, thought, and even affect in ways that generate social practices. When we willingly or unwillingly participate in these social practices, we gain social propertiesor properties that are ificant within our shared blueprints.
For our purposes, social properties are important because of how they relate to social positions. We are ased a social position when we are regularly perceived as possessing enough of the properties that are, within shared blueprints, associated with a group corresponding to that position. For example, it is plausible that a of properties are associated with persons who are women, such as particular kinds of dress, speech, occupation, and presenting as having a female-sexed body. It is not necessary that one is perceived as possessing all of these properties to be ased a woman-coded social position—it is sufficient to be perceived as possessing enough of them with sufficient regularity.
The social positions we are ased further affect which social properties we have. Consider the relationship between a professional football player and a professional football team. By ing a contract with a professional football team, an individual say, Dan Marino immediately comes to stand in a new social position—that of a professional football player.
By occupying this position, Marino in turn gains new, additional social properties, such as being an employee and having fans. Similar things can be said of the properties parent ofconvicted ofor spouse of —if perceived as possessing these properties, they typically result in immediately being ased a corresponding social position, along with the additional social properties, expectations, or rights associated with that position.
Social positions, in short, arise from being perceived as having certain social properties—namely, relations to persons, ideas, and the material world that are, according to our shared blueprints, associated with a social group. And they may, in turn, give rise to additional social properties. But, of course, this is not always, or even usually, the case. Many groups perhaps most have distinct though overlapping sets of social properties associated with them.
So, too, multiple social positions often are associated with a single social group. And while we understand that this sketch of social positions leave much of this complexity under-explored, we leave a richer examination to future work.
Social positions are determined by how we are perceived and treated by those around us. But, this does not mean that we are without agency in the matter. Consider, Bicurious but friend first age between 2330 example, a young man deciding whether to come out to his parents as gay.
For all they know, he is straight. So, he currently occupies the social position of being straight, at least at home. This relationship between self-identification and preferred public perception is at the core of agential identity. Of course, agential identities may not have uptake.
This, in turn, denies him access in that context to the social position of a gay man. In such a case, he has the agential identity of being gay in virtue of his intentions and actions, but lacks the social position. Similarly, after being outed as having white parents, Rachel Dolezal was no longer taken as being black, despite asking to be. She ceased to occupy the social position despite still self-identifying as black and still making that self-identification public—despite still having the agential identity.
From these cases, we can see that having a particular social position is neither necessary nor sufficient for having the associated agential identity. Rather, the following conditions give rise to agential identities:. The self-identification condition states that, for example, one cannot have the agential identity of being gay without actually identifying as gay.
We say more about each of these in turn. Bill Clinton self-identifies as a Democrat. Ellen DeGeneres self-identifies as a lesbian. George R. Martin self-identifies as a fantasy author and probably a nerd. Each of these identities shapes the attitudes, beliefs, and preferences of those who possess them. Moreover, each of these individuals expresses a sort of affirmation of these identities and kinship with the associated group.
While a thorough exploration of self-identification is beyond the scope of this paper, we should say at least a few words about what it is to self-identify with a social group. It suggests a process of unconscious development or discovery, as if the self is a fully-formed artifact merely awaiting archaeological introspection.
On this view, the obfuscated true self is not subject to development through our choices social or otherwise. But this is clearly at odds with much of our experience. Self-identifying with a social group, especially doing so strongly, changes the individual we take ourselves to be.
To see this, consider the difference that self-identification can make in the case of ethnic identity. Suppose a pair of twins has some Native American heritage. The first, call her Anya, strongly self-identifies as Native American. As a result, she wishes to learn more about Native history, attends events aimed at Native people, and participates in Native cultural activities. These two women have very different self-identities. Even granting that, it is difficult to see how a true self view would explain the very different self-identities of two people with such similar backgrounds without resorting to the suggestion that one or both of them has gone wrong somewhere along the line.
On such anone of these women might lack authenticity, hiding her true self.Bicurious but friend first age between 2330
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