Approaching the 50th birth anniversary (Feb 22) of one of the greatest American anthropologists, Douglass W Bailey, it is valuable to actualize some of his basic concepts, especially about identity. Building humanistic identity in the global society is crucial. It is at the same time critical since humanistic identity is the core of typically multi-personalities. The people can develop even conflicting personalities (up to disorder) although keeping humanistic or non-humanistic identities.
Humanistic identity in the globalizing world means strong self-awareness of what you can do for society and how you can contribute to the social values. People are people because they are members of society and they develop as members of society. The crisis in humanity today is mainly because people do not have the right self-awareness and have been in many cases abusing society for their personal goals or the social goals are corruptive. We need to update our self-awareness everyday and every moment. If everybody has the right self-awareness we will have an ideal positive society in which everybody would feel happy and satisfied. Even the serial killer can become a positive personality if has a self-awareness of the right and wrong and the understanding that happiness in not in the money and ego-satisfaction but in living as a member of society by contributing to the positive values of society. This understanding makes for instance, the church institutions most powerful cultural contributors to humanities since people go to church to socialize and each socialization creates opportunity for updating of the own self-awareness. Culture could not create alternative of the church socialization since church is based on core values of positive social identity which is the very very human in the humans.
Douglass W Bailey has been approaching identity from perspectives of body in his classic today book “Prehistoric figurines” (2005). He wrote: “ In contexts of the stereotypic fixing of identity and the definition of self in terms of Other, dominant groups construct fixed identities in order to establish and maintain order, to apply reason and authority to communities in which identities flex, shift, morph and flow in ways that threaten and endanger emergent dominant groups” (Bailey 2005: 142). A series of authors on identity have been reviewed by Bailey for creating this paradigm which is a model of social identity with universal temporal parameters. Self in term of Other would be self-awareness placed in conflicting social groups. Identity stabilizes the social group to ensure success. Emergence of a new social identity always would have a barrier coming from the steady well established and represented social identity. Changing the identity would change the social group. If we continue in this direction, it is easy to define the social crisis: it occurs when social group do not want to change their identity or the positive-value social groups are not enough strong to make their identity a paradigm for majority. Bailey may need to explain in future why the dominant groups have been his main focus, since the culture is culture to have the power without dependence on dominant social group. One person with the right self-awareness is able to have impact on the whole society and to change the social group to which belongs. This is one of the reasons to believe that the prehistoric figurines belong to different functional categories although to one and the same material category. The figurines represent different aspects of social life and social identity.
More discussions on social identity would create a powerful fuel of the neohumanism as a core-social value in the global society.
Bailey, D. W. (2005). Prehistoric figurines. London: Routledge.
About the photo:
According to Bulgarian media, a new votive figurine of Priapus was discovered during archaeological excavations in Sozopol as an indicator of possible temple of this Greek God which ruins have been unearthed by local diggers.
Unfortunately, the information had come from Bozhidar Dimitrov whose name is a hallmark of delivering suspicious sensations to media. Then, we need to wait independent eventually non-Bulgarian expert to see the votive figurine and to make a conclusion about its authentic nature.
Wikipedia and other websites provide a rich gallery of Priapus images including votive figurines.
Priapus at Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Priapus