The Snowball Self in Motion
Notions and fears of identity theft or identity fraud pervade our lives, and in one sense these are indeed worrying – I certainly would prefer for the details of my bank cards and their respective PINs not to fall into criminal hands. I wonder, though, if this is really anything like as serious, or as implausible, as someone running away with my identity! Identity is concerned with people’s conceptions of, and activities as, who they are, that is, how drummers understand themselves to be drummers, and what they do as drummers. Deny me online access to my bank account; tell me that I do not live in my flat because the telephone line is registered to a lady of another name; send my tax bills to the wrong address – irritating though these things can be, none of them affects my sense of who I truly am and how it is that I am me. The word ‘identity’ has proven tough to pin down, causing, as it is prone to do, widespread confusion; there are perhaps at least as many notions of what identity is as there are academics who have wrestled with the term. Although I have dedicated some space already in this book to discussing identity, it is worth exploring in a little more depth various ways that the term is understood and applied. I cannot do justice to all of its conceptualizations or uses; however, I hope at least to draw attention to some of the baggage with which it travels, and further to elucidate how I interpret it.