“But actually – I am batman!…”: Identity, Self-Identification, Self-Categorization

16-17 April 2021, Samara, Russia

The conference aims to explore the distinction among the range of identity paradigm concepts, including self-identification, self-categorization, self-determination and identity proper; as well as to determine the distinct functions of these phenomena in the individual and social reality. This problem is present in various aspects of our life, is discerned practically in all social sciences and humanities, and therefore requires interdisciplinary investigation.

The distinction between these concepts is especially explicit in humanities. For example, literary science and art studies reveal a significant issue when the range of characters created by the author demands of the spectator or the reader to make a choice to identify himself/herself with one of the characters. This choice depends to a large extent on the identity of the subject and his/her self-definition. When such a choice is made and the self-identification is performed, the reader or the spectator appropriates the image of the corresponding character in a certain way. As a result, not only the consciousness of the former, but also his/her real position in the system of social relations may change.

These two distinct processes – forming a subjective identity, on the one hand, and the self-categorization of a person, on the other, – meet in educational space. Determining the special place for each of these processes in education and the choice of one of them to be the objective of educational activity are significant theoretical and practical problems. These appear especially clearly in the history of polemic between pedagogy, on the one hand, and paedology and experimental pedagogy, on the other.

In sociology this problem reveals itself, for example, as the task of determining the social position of a person in connection with his/her status considering that a human being is never identical to his/her status and may change or even conceal his/her objective status.

For political science, the self-determination of actors, the identification of their functionality, determining their actual subjectivity and the possibilities of acquiring and preserving the latter are fundamental issues.

In legal studies the problem of distinction between identity and identification is quite pronounced, for example, in the form of the question what role, what function the citizen takes upon him/herself in legal relations? Is he/she an accomplice, a witness or a victim? How does it correspond to the actual state of affairs? The identification of the definite deed in relation to the individual’s identity is quite an uneasy task, for example, for the jury.

Probably, the distinction between the identity and self-identification presents the biggest problem in economics. The modern economic processes connected with virtual reality and artificial intelligence require constant conversion of intellectual and social capital into human action. This entails that what one thinks of oneself and what position one chooses for oneself now plays a special role along with what one actually is (present of oneself).

This problem is just as relevant for religious relations in connection with the human being’s search for belief under the conditions a great diversity of religious groups.

At present the meaning and content of the categories “identity”, “identification”, “self-identification” are changing dramatically and being actualized so rapidly and to such a degree that it is time for philosophers to turn their attention to the correlation between these categories, because, in our opinion, these categories do not simply characterize mental processes, but are really ontologized. Now these categories already characterize social, socially economic and socially political processes. They cease to be simply someone’s phantasies, but become the elements of being of both the individual and of the community as a whole.

We invite researchers from all branches of social science and humanities to join in discussing this theoretical problem.

Conference procedure

Discussion of Abstracts:

The conference will be preceded by an online discussion of conference abstracts. Each participant will be invited to register, publish his/her abstracts on the conference website, comment on the abstracts of at least two other participants and respond to the commentaries to his/her own abstract.

The contact stage:

The participants will be able to present their papers personally in the form of a 10-minute presentation with the following discussion. Oversees participants will be offered an opportunity to present their papers via videoconference.

Participants and papers:

Presentations extended into research articles will be published in International Research Journal – Social Phenomena (ISSN 2305-7327) after a peer review.

The conference committee is compiling an edited collection of articles on the conference subject to be submitted to Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Selected contributed papers from the conference will be considered for publication in this volume.

Participation Fees:

Participation in the conference and the publication of papers are free of charge.

How to apply:

complete the online application form;
submit your abstract of approximately 1- 1,5 pages;
register and take part in the discussion of abstracts;
present your paper in person in Samara or through videoconference.

Important dates

29 March 2021 – deadline for applications and submission of abstracts;
5 April 2021 – notification of authors about the acceptance of abstracts;
5 – 15 April 2021 – discussion of abstracts online;
16 – 17 April 2021 – Conference Events.

Conference organizers: Nayanova Akedemy (Samara, Russia) jointly with the Institute for Research on Social Phenomena (Samara, Russia) in the framework of the project 19-29-07489 funded by the Russian Foundation of Basic Research.