## Collective identities, empty signifiers and solvable secrets

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2016
Journal article
Published
##### Published in
European Journal of Social Theory ; 19 (2016), 1. - pp. 111-126. - ISSN 1368-4310. - eISSN 1461-7137
##### Abstract
In modern societies collective identity is both an empty signifier and a sacred center: even as its existence is taken for granted, what is or should be is subject to a host of different and often conflicting interpretations. However, the narratives and representations of collective identity are in no way undermined by these public debates; these signifiers are seen rather as a problem that is in principle amenable to solution, as something that ought to be (re)solved. In fact, the empty signifiers of collective identity are constructed as solvable secrets precisely and primarily in public speech, open debate and perpetual critique. This article identifies the public and private modes of dealing with empty signifiers – through collective traumatic repressions, private resentments, public discourses adhering to argumentation ethics, and individual fabulations.
##### Subject (DDC)
300 Social Sciences, Sociology
##### Cite This
ISO 690GIESEN, Bernhard, Robert SEYFERT, 2016. Collective identities, empty signifiers and solvable secrets. In: European Journal of Social Theory. 19(1), pp. 111-126. ISSN 1368-4310. eISSN 1461-7137. Available under: doi: 10.1177/1368431015573364
BibTex
@article{Giesen2016Colle-32543,
year={2016},
doi={10.1177/1368431015573364},
title={Collective identities, empty signifiers and solvable secrets},
number={1},
volume={19},
issn={1368-4310},
journal={European Journal of Social Theory},
pages={111--126},
author={Giesen, Bernhard and Seyfert, Robert}
}

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