Clifford Geertz (1973) defined identity, as the set of stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, opening a discussion around the notion where the identity of a group is real as long as it is a shared intersubjective belief, which could actually mean anything a group wants.
If we follow that idea, we can see that all critical elements of identity are replaceable as we construct them in narrative form, in dialogue with culture and the spaces we inhabit.
But how do we source those elements? Narratives are not only a story or discourse but also a crucial mental process for the creation of meanings that help us to understand and make sense of reality.
In this sense, all means and technologies of communication, have an impact on our perspectives, as they are a very powerful unifying factor that can show us a generalised perception of identity and its norms. But what we are seeing offered to us contrasts with the increasing wave of social protests and conflicts, putting in perspective the need to raise awareness to the fact that we need to create safer spaces for a healthier mental environment.
At present, a deep and widespread sense of indifference is affecting the world, as the ruling classes, by taking ownership of a corporatist model of nation, demand minorities coexisting in the world to conform to this archetype.
The explosion of a nationalistic fervour, the growing pains of the European Union, security fears in the Middle East and the growing inequalities occurring in the south regions of the planet, have made more evident that a spectrum has begun to traverse nations and their narratives, creating crises associated not only to socio-political and economic movements but also to race, gender, sexuality and other dimensions, diminishing respect for basic human rights.
To this regard, frontier technologies of communication, such as virtual reality (V.R.) or augmented reality (A.R.) are emerging as powerful tools that can contribute to spread messages of a new understanding of the world, where diversity, pluralism and multiculturalism act as lines of continuity to bring out minorities from the marginalization they live in.
The fact that V.R. provides us immersive experiences gives us the opportunity of experience others viewpoints, emerge in different contexts, real or unreal, and place ourselves in different situations, so as to in that way, be able to understand different narratives and recognize the privilege of plurality.
GEERTZ, C. (1973), The Interpretation of Cultures. New York: Basic Books.
GIL-WHITE, F. (2002). The Cognition of Ethnicity: Native Category Systems under the Field
Experimental Microscope. Field Methods, 14(2), pp.161-189.