16. Course unit: Theories of Identity and National Identities

Nr. of credits: 5

Course type: lecture, Nr. in the semester: 60

Commitment: examination mark

Place of course in the curriculum: 3rd semester

Preliminary study terms:

Course description:

The research on identity is an especially important topic in the recent social scientific and social anthropological research and discourse. The aim of the course is to inform the students on the historical backgrounds of recent theories of research on identity. First we deal with the notion of personal identity (Eriksen) and social identity (Barth).and we focus on a few post-critical interpretation of identity (Peter Wagner, Jürgen Straub and Karl-Heinz Kohl). After pointing out the theoretical background the course takes the example of local multiethnic communities and shows the practical importance, adequate field-sites and methods of these theoretical assumptions. By doing so the question of ethnicity is analyzed in the dimension of identity and – beside others – the combination of linguistic, cultural religious and ethnic identity is revealed. We put an emphasis on the rules (acculturation and assimilation) and components defining the identity building of Central Europe, list and analyze its recent dimensions. The course also focuses on some examples of anthropological portraits showing the personal projections of identity patterns formed in a multicultural central European setting.

3–5 most important obligatory and recommended literature (books, textbooks) with the bibliographical data:

– Kötelező:

Barth, Fredrik: Ethnic Groups and Boundaries. Online: http://isites.harvard.edu/fs/docs/icb.topic446176.files/Week_4/Barth_Introduction_Ethnic_Groups_and_Boundaries_.pdf

Baumeister, Roy F. – Muraven, Mark: Identity as adaptation to social, cultural, and historical context. In: Journal of Adolescence, 1996. 19. 405–416. p.

Christopher Long: East Central Europe: National Identity and International Perspective. in. Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 61, No. 4 (Dec., 2002), pp. 519-529.

Donald R. Kelley: Romanian Cultural and Political Identity. in. Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 59, No. 4 (Oct., 1998), pp. 735-738.

Merje Kuus: Ubiquitous Identities and Elusive Subjects: Puzzles from Central Europe. in.  ransactions of the Institute of British Geographers, New Series, Vol. 32, No. 1 (Jan.,2007), pp. 90-101.


– Ajánlott:

Robin Okey: Ubiquitous Identities and Elusive Subjects: Puzzles from Central Europe.  Past & Present, No. 137, The Cultural and Political Construction of Europe (Nov.,1992), pp. 102-133.

Rogers Brubaker, Margit Feischmidt, Jon Fox, Liana Grancea: Nationalist Politics and Everyday Ethnicity in a Transylvanian Town. Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2007.

Waierman, Alan S.: Identity Status Theory and Erikson’s Theory: Communalities and Differences. In: Developmental Review, 1988. 185–208. p.

Course director: Török, Zsuzsanna Assistant Professor

Participating teacher: