Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 June 2012
This volume outlines a variety of definitions and methodologies for studying social identities in a diverse set of contexts within American politics, comparative politics, and international relations. As such, we hope it will serve as a primer on the analysis and methodology of identity scholarship for a wide range of interested researchers. Political scientists have long enjoyed access to many excellent guides to mainstream theories and methods, yet those wanting to do research on social identities have had to synthesize enormous literatures on their own, with no practical guide to the alternatives they might employ in their scholarship. This volume aims to be such a road map, both analytically and methodologically. The chapters include a broad array of definitions as well as methodological options available for scholarly research on identity, including methods currently in use and some promising newer ones.
The chapters of this volume demonstrate concretely how to conduct identity research using several different methodological options. Each chapter shows how the ideas that underlie identity are applied in the context of individual research and what sorts of insights such projects can yield. In this way, the combined chapters create a whole greater than the sum of its parts; by aggregating the various specific methodological approaches, the text provides a coherent basis for the general examination of identity in the study of political science.