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date: 19 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter maps out a symbolic interactionist conception of authenticity as it relates to identity and identification. It begins by distinguishing between the phenomenological concept of self-authenticity and the interactional concept of identity authenticity. Emphasizing the latter, it discuss the significance of essentialism, categories, and boundaries in framing authenticity, followed by a focus on the processes and criteria through which authentic identities are constructed and assessed by members of many different identity categories. Drawing on a diverse range of scholarship from fields such as cognitive anthropology, social psychology, sociolinguistics, and sociology, it highlights the cognitive, cultural, and interactional processes involved in identity authentication and shows how they are tied to one another in mutually reinforcing ways.

Keywords: authenticity, cognition, culture, identity, symbolic interaction

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