“Who Needs “Identity”?” by Stuart Hall

In “Who needs identity?” Stuart Hall focuses on defining identity. Many thinkers have tried to understand the issue but have not reached any conclusion. Hall (2000) argues that it is essential to understand the notion of “identification.” According to Hall, identification is the ability of individuals to “recognize some common origin or shared characteristics with another person or a group” (Hall, 2000, p.16). The article’s main claim is that there is a need to understand the idea of identity.

The author asserts that identity may change with time. Thus, it is paramount to examine identities based on the historical development of society. Hall also defines identities as the positions that people choose when trying to fit in a group. Although they know it may be difficult to match everyone in the set, they agree on the differences (Hall, 2000). To analyze different researcher viewpoints, Hall focuses on Foucault’s standpoint. According to him, Foucault’s argument regarding identity is insufficient (Hall, 2000). He perceives that it is imperative to theorize the idea of identity to make it more relevant. Further, Hall focuses on Butler’s perceptions regarding identity. He points out that Butler’s understanding of identity is based on self-identity, sexuality, as well as feminism. However, he argues that Butler’s understanding is based on exclusion, which is not insubstantial as people may perceive it.

Under another score, Hall cites other authors such as Nakayama, Tanno, and Hedge. The writers argue that the notion of identity is essential in contemporary society (Hall, 2000). Thus, they infer that studying identity is crucial in solving most conflicts in the present-time world. Hall concludes that it is important to theorize the concept of identity as this will lead to an in-depth understanding of the activities and issues that influence personalities.

Admittedly, understanding identity is very important in the contemporary world. Issues concerning identity should be addressed so that people can find their most suitable positions in groups and the entire society. Identity awareness is key in enhancing communication; in modern society, diversity is encouraged; thus, it is essential to be aware of the issues affecting identities to foster good relationships, especially in workplaces. When people understand their positions, it is easier to interact and appreciate one another, even in a diverse setting.


Hall, S. (2000). Who needs “identity”? In du Gay, P., Evans, J., & Redman, P.(Eds.) Identity: A reader (pp. 15–30). Sage Publications.

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