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The business of identity

Kimlicka said in his book Multicultural Citizenship that culture provides the spectacles through which we identify our experiences as valuable. A marriage is not just a contract if you are a religious person, and a kilt is not just a skirt if you are Scottish.

Culture gives meaning to our life choices, but culture is no longer exclusively associated with national or religious groups. In our global world identity is constantly negotiated between groups and tribes; Muslim, feminist, parent, gay, activist, Buddhist, tech geek, Conservative or Green.

Some of these identities were passed to us by our parents or our upbringing; others we chose to take on.

A culture can be given, but a tribe is voluntary, as Seth Godin explores in his book Tribes.

When you’re creating products and services, another way of connecting with your customers is taking into account the fact that we are all constantly negotiating identities.

Are we parents first, or leaders, or devoted members of our communities, or perfect sons and daughters? What comes first? How can I make sense of all of this? What space are we trying to create? Which identities are essential? What is missing?

Think about mom entrepreneurs, Jubus (Jewish Buddhists) or eco-feminists; all of these groups thrive in the interaction of two identities.

Which identities are your customers actively negotiating? How can you help them in their endeavour?



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