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It is a common mistake to believe that identity deals with history, our memory, and our roots. While the center of identity-related processes is quite different, it cannot certainly ignore objective reality, and the individual’s past. The inflationary use of the term dates only half a century back. Before that (except for administration) rarely was there any question of identity posed, because the individual was defined mainly by the institutional frameworks that determined him. The question of identity might have emerged gradually, as the gap widened, in the case of an individuality willing to be asserting itself as autonomous. First and foremost, it emerges out of subjectivity at work, with the purpose of making meaning which, in turn, is no longer conferred only by the social position occupied. It is an ever changing meaning, and in every instance a necessary condition of action. This is so because in a society dominated by reflexivity and critical thinking, the individual is persistently compelled to get involved in a cognitive functioning of the opposite type, in order to be able to act, creating small beliefs underlying personal evidences. At the heart of the most advanced modernity, the core of identity processes is, surprisingly, of a religious type. This process does not render itself evident in an isolated manner. Various affiliations (cultural, national, and religious) may be used, as well as many others resources, often mobile and diverse, which may turn into totalitarian, fixed, exclusive and sectarian statements. By such a framing of the entire landscape of the identity process, one may better understand the paradoxical situation of current nationalist expressions in Europe. They do not disappear, but sometimes even materialize into acute forms, even if the frameworks of socialization become increasingly transnational. It is precisely because the objective substrate of national identity is weakening, that its eruptive movements (during crises provoked by extremely different reasons) become unpredictable and uncontrollable and particularly dangerous for democracy.
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