Public Reason: Vol. 12, No. 2, 2020
Collective Identity, between Ideology and Cooperation
Stefan Ionescu

Abstract: The present article aims to analyze the shaping method of collective identities and how they operate. A collective identity is based on a common set of symbols and values – both material and spiritual – faiths, rules of conduct and rituals, all consistent through time, and it derives from the interactions of the individuals, but also from their relationships with the social structures and ideologies. The more extensive and original the structures are, the stronger the identity is. Throughout time, collective identity has been identified with different types of membership, such as nationality, tribe, race, ethnicity, thus forming the classic identity model. Therefore, it has been assumed that the biological inheritance includes an inheritance – in certain cases a cultural superiority, based on the observation that people actually live in communities genetically related, going as far as isolating themselves from other groups around.

On the contrary, the American liberal antiracism denies the importance of both biological factors and races, due to the fact that, in this perspective, races do not exist. The current analysis aims to propose an in-between view. We shall see that race is an inherited morphological reality, which, contingently and a posteriori, can acquire cultural significance. Categories such as self-description, social standpoint, affiliation to the group and values of the community might provide us, in the end, the key to a better analysis of the relationship between common identity and ideologies, especially in modern societies. Consequently, collective identity will appear as a commitment rather than a merely given affiliation, in the formation of which ideologies play an essential role.


Keywords: collective identity, nationality, ethnicity, belonging, values, symbols, culture.


Ionescu, Stefan. 2020. Collective Identity, between Ideology and Cooperation Public Reason 12 (2): 17-26.