Invisible Hands: The Forces Shaping Our Identities

From the beginning, humanity has grappled with these questions: What am I? What are we?

When getting in a taxi, making small talk at the neighbourhood deli, or after the first handshake at a job interview, the question on everyone’s minds is: “What are you?” And for good reason — identity, or at least the attributes that identity confers, helps us to navigate a complex world. It is a heuristic that helps us discern friend from foe, activate appropriate behaviours and assess the usefulness of a new connection. It also helps identify tribes that are deserving of protection or alienation. From the very beginning, humanity has grappled with these questions: What am I? What are we?

Even if we identify as Singaporean, our understanding of the obligations, values and behaviours of being Singaporean may differ from someone else’s.

Symbolic goods like social status and networks could become ever more central to our identities.

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Centre for Strategic Futures

Welcome to CSF Singapore’s blog site, a space to share our shorter think-pieces and reflections. Visit our main website at www.csf.gov.sg