Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Identity & Authenticity Crisis

The realization of identity and the question of how to represent that identity authentically has been a major subject throughout this course. By authentic I mean truthful, not copied, and genuine. So for instance representing a chamber pot as a chamber pot instead of a vase.

The problem with the question of authenticity in the Austrian empire is the realization of what it is... A potpourri of many different ethnic groups and countries mixed together with little to no cohesiveness holding it together. I think that the problem Austria displayed was rooted in a lack of a clear identity. How can authenticity be achieved when it is reliant on a clear identity? Or is it? Austria was composed of many small identities and how can that whole be represented authentically in order to provide for a cultural base (i.e. something that the people can rally behind)? This is the crisis.

Certainly certain aspects to the larger picture can be represented, but that doesn't really provide a unified picture, does it? Some might argue that the individual pieces represented separately and grouped together could represent the whole authentically, but would that work? Or would that lead to segmentation/polarization?

I think these questions have been at the root of what we have been studying this quarter and to be honest for me there are quite a few great big ?'s still left in my mind.

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