Castell's Postion Regarding African Americans And The Identity Crisis They Are Facing

2379 words - 10 pages

Within every society there are social concepts individuals choose to (and at times are forced to) use as a model for social identity construction. The availability of a varietal range of resources for social identity construction is often limited by the boundaries set in place by the respective society. When the boundaries set on social identity construction changes the availability of social identity construction resources increases. The previous legal constraints in South Africa and America assigned certain classes and ethnicities with particular race groups. However when the above mentioned countries became liberal the different races and classes underwent identity reconstructions and formed this around ethnicity. Macionis and Plummer (2012) define ethnicity as a shared historical and cultural heritage. No longer bound by the law individuals moved to different ethnicities and reconstructed themselves. However other factors maintain the boundaries on social identity such as financial resources. This moving away from previous ethnicities will be referred to as ‘ethnic unbonding’ for the purpose of this essay. Hence in an attempt to create an understanding of ethnic unbonding and its effects between groups who previously shared ethnicities this essay will summarize Castell's position regarding African-Americans and the identity crisis that they are experiencing (or were in the 1990s). Furthermore the state of ethnicity within South Africa will be described followed by the comparing and contrasting of Castells’ position regarding the identity crises between African-American and the state of ethnicity in South Africa. Through the application of Marcia’s theory a argument that a similar situation to the African-American situation will arise in South Africa will be made.

Castells writes about issues concerning race, class and identity in the network society amongst African-Americans. Castells takes a position on notion he describes as ethnic unbonding. Wherein he claims that there is a class divide amongst the African-American race and an identity issue concerning ethnicity in the network society (Castells, 1997). In attempting to summarize Castells’ position in his writing on ethnic unbonding (namely ‘Ethnic unbonding: race, class, and identity in the network society) among African Americans it is essential that an understanding of the concepts Castells uses to argue his position on the above mentioned is established. In context of his above mentioned position he describes ethnicity as having been a fundamental source of recognition and meaning throughout the history of humanity (Castells, 1997: 53). Castells (1997) goes further to say that ethnicity is a founding structure of social differentiation and recognition, as well as of discrimination. Having created an understanding for ethnicity in context of his article a description of the ethnical identities/classes among African-Americans will be given. Castell’s (1997) describes the middle class...

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