The Crisis of the Identification Process

Thesis Eleven 49 (1):85-98 (1997)
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Abstract

This paper considers the crisis of the identification process from the social-historical standpoint, for it cannot be understood when divorced from the social totality. Attempts to explain the current crisis in terms of particular institutions such as changes in habitat, a crisis in the family, etc. fail to account for it, since it also manifests itself in milieux and individuals not experiencing these changes directly. The crisis the identification process is undergoing must be seen as a crisis of the central imaginary significations that in the past have held society together. The crisis consists in the fact that contemporary society no longer produces the types that had made it viable as a society wanting itself. The author concludes that there cannot not be a crisis of the identification process, since there is no longer a cathected self-representation of society as the seat of meaning and of value and of a significant past and of a time to come

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