Neutral Accent: How Language, Labor, and Life Become Global
A. Aneesh is Director of the Institute of World Affairs and Associate Professor of Sociology and Global Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. He is the author of Virtual Migration: the Programming of Globalization, also published by Duke University Press.
System Identities: Divergent Itineraries and Uses of Personality
This chapter is a close study of different notions of identity, recognizing in particular the development of system identity. While social identity is an identity continually renegotiated through linguistic interactions and social performances, bureaucratic identity—glimpsed in passports, driver’s licenses, and other identity cards—is a construction of fixed personhood for the purposes of modern organizational needs, ensuring that the member has remained essentially the same despite changes in personality, body, and behavior. With the spread of information technologies, however, there has emerged a new variation of identity—system identity, which represents persons as dynamically forming clouds of data. While system identities can serve the bureaucratic need for identifying members, their role far surpasses the organizational imperatives of identification.