Postmodern Identity: Creativity Or Falsification


The article analyzes the contradiction between creativity and falsification as a way for an individual to solve the identity crisis generated by the postmodern socio-cultural situation. The research methods are the sociocultural reflection of the personal identification process in a postmodern culture. During the examination of the main postmodern factors that determine the personal identity and identification methods transformation, both positive and negative potencies are revealed in the influence of each factor. The article proves that a critical negative impact on humanistic identification of the individual has social marginalization, loss of the society’s sociocultural stability. Creativity is characterized as a productive identification way, acquiring and preserving the genuine humanistic individuality personality. It is based on the individual freedom of functioning in a society where every possible form of alienation has been overcoming. It is emphasized that creativity as a way of person’s self-identification, self-realization, self-discovery and harmonious unity with the world through free humanistic activity, presupposes a humanistic transformation of oneself, of the surrounding world. The product of creativity is substantial identity, which is characterized by such attributes as the identity basic forms priority, a clear structure and hierarchy of identities, stability and resistance to transformations, realization through unity of sociocultural environment and other people through internally accepted social roles, disclosure of the individual human abilities creative potential, individual humanistic orientation. The falsifying identity various methods product is marginal desubstantiated, structureless, diffuse, fluid, changeable, fragmentary, baseless identity.

Keywords: Identitysimulacrumimitationcreativityidentificationfalsification


The paradoxical specificity of our time is in its continuous and ever accelerating fluidity, dynamism, in which everything steady, permanent, fundamental disappears, the substantialness of not only the sociocultural environment, but also of the personality itself is eroding. In this situation of sociocultural desubstantization, the social demand for creativity and, at the same time, the mass distribution of simulacra, fakes, and falsification of creativity and identity, is extremely aggravated.

On the one hand, we face the powerful demand of our time for creative reconstruction, innovative renewal of society and personality, and on the other hand, the massive, equally powerful tendency of deconstruction, penetrating into all spheres of our life: economics, politics, spiritual life, art, morality, religion, pedagogy. Personality, its self-consciousness and self-identification are subjected to the most powerful pressure in this contradictory situation.

The demand for creative identity for modern Russian society is emphasized by Volkov (2014). “For sociocultural modernization of Russian society, it is creative identity that is a way to increase competitiveness, generate new ideas and meanings, opportunities for society to become a mass social subject” (Volkov, 2014, p. 30). But the identity of a person in a postmodern situation turns out to be problematic. It can be said that this problematicity perception is permeated by our whole life, where falsifications begin to clearly prevail over the true essences of things and phenomena. All of our modern life and social reality is a universal imitation of life and of reality. Imitation, visibility, fake and its companions – lies and falsehood permeated the entire modern society. We all together are engaged not in real life and activity, but in imitation of life and activity, game in life and activity. Few workers pretend to work, and employers pretend to pay for work. The teachers pretend to teach, and the students pretend to study. The government pretends that it rules by constantly issuing tons of administrative papers and demanding from the subordinate organizations still large tons of response papers, which force people to concentrate not on the real business, but on the paper imitation of the case. The authorities pretend that they care about the people, and the people pretend that they support the authorities. However, on both sides – all this is clumsy imitation. Political parties and leaders pretend to engage in political struggle, represent some social groups and defend their interests. In fact, for politicians their activity is a form of business. At delicate electoral intervals, candidates pretend to be conducting election campaigns, while voters pretend to elect. In fact, the elections long ago turned into a sort of Nanai struggle, where political competition is only imitated, where the programs of parties and candidates are of no interest to anyone, beginning with these parties and candidates themselves, where all the opponents of the current rulers only play up to them, taking care of them and not about their victory in the elections, for which they receive handouts from the authorities. Our cultural figures pretend to create high-quality and popular products. The public pretends that it consumes these indigestible “soulless” and “uncultured” products neither for the mind nor for the heart. In fact, the public is fed with a wretched and disgusting gum of a mass, low-grade culture. Journalists and the media pretend to inform, educate and entertain the public. The public pretends to feed on informational “products” poured on its weak brains and relatively pure souls by media means. The military pretend to strengthen the defense and protect the country. The country pretends to support and provide the army. In fact, military activity has also become a business, and real military actions are increasingly inferior to their virtual imitations.

The problematic situation with personal identity in the postmodern culture is one of the most urgent scientific interest’s subjects on the part of the most diverse social and humanitarian disciplines representatives, adhering to very different approaches, methods and research paradigms. The diversity of approaches to this topic, however, does not facilitate, but rather complicate, the comprehension of the essence and ways of overcoming the current personal identity crisis.

Problem Statement

Postmodernism poses the problem of the personal identity crisis and the findpath for overcoming this crisis. There are many postmodern concept interpretations and its characteristics descriptions as a modern society and culture type. The understanding of postmodernism as a term denoting an epoch in the human history, associated with the transition from industrial to post-industrial society, can be considered as generally accepted. The postmodern era beginning most researchers refer to the second half of the XX century. With a variety of this epoch features interpretations, a number of postmodern era society common features are distinguished: 1. permanent and all the accelerating dynamism of sociocultural changes, 2. departure from the principles of unification and mass production, 3. overcoming economic, social and political alienation of personality, 4. growth of diversity and pluralism in society and culture, 5. opening new perspectives for the free individual development, etc. However, as postmodern is a characteristic of a transitional society, it should be borne in mind that in this transitive society, past and future, negative and positive processes and phenomena, humanistic and dehumanistic perspectives and possibilities of the future, which lead to a sharp struggle, are mixed.

One of the postmodern essential elements is the identity transformation, which has got the most complete expression in the postmodernism philosophy. The personal identity transformation in the postmodern era is evaluated differently. Humanists emphasize the destruction of traditional identity, based on the principles of classical humanism, and sound well-founded anxiety, seeing in this destruction the dehumanization of society and the individual.

Modern culture is experiencing a global identity crisis, manifested in disintegration into subject and object, individual and social, internal and external. The reasons for this kind of phenomena can be called the social relations domination based on the principles of consumption, and, as a result, the loss of personal value and the new value attitudes system, charactering for a consumer culture, imposition. (Alikhanova, 2017, para. 7)

Realists simply state the actual personality and the personal identification processes transformations in the postmodern world as givenness, avoiding extreme positive or negative evaluations. The ontological chaos proclaimed and consistently cultivated in postmodernism contributes to a cardinal transformation of the self-determination problem: the ability to not uncover, collect and preserve its integrity becomes important, but, on the contrary, to avoid specifying coordinates in space-time and relationships, because all the painstaking work on self-construction can come to ought because of too often changing circumstances.

Therefore, in order to avoid the painful collapse of hopes associated with the future, it is reasonable for a person to adhere to the strategy of conducting “short lots”. In essence, this behavior strategy is a defensive reaction and a form of human adaptation in a disintegrated, fragmented world, devoid of purpose, meaning and regularity (Kazanova, 2014).

Optimists joyfully welcome the “freedom” of identification and the fundamental fluidity of identity in the modern world, focusing on the emerging imaginary prospects for individuality, personal growth and creative self-identity self-design flourishing. For example, Grechko (2013) praises the constructive potential of deconstructing traditional substantive identity.

Differences, which are designed to multiply deconstruction, increase, and significantly, the combinatorial force of constructionism. There are more opportunities for free movement in the space between (differences), design is becoming more and more dynamic ... Focusing on deconstruction, you need to talk not about all-encompassing, totally complete, reliably founded, but always fragmentary, local, situational design. (Grechko, 2013, p. 32)

The pluralism of identity transformation assessments in the postmodern era, as well as the inconsistency of the transformation processes themselves, lead to the problem formulation: What are the ways and means for an individual to emerge from the identity crisis in the postmodern era.

Research Questions

The subject of the research is the contradiction between creativity and falsification as a means of identifying a person in the postmodern socio-cultural situation.

Purpose of the Study

The aim of the article is to analyze the contrast between the processes and results of creativity and falsification as ways of forming identity in the postmodern world, as well as analyzing the factors underlying these alternative methods and discussing ways to overcome the dehumanistic tendencies of personal identity transformation in a postmodern culture.

Research Methods

The main research method is the sociocultural reflection of the personal identification process in the postmodern culture. This reflection presupposes, above all, the clarification of key terms: “identity”, “identification”, “creativity”, “falsification”, “simulation”, “imitation”.

The polysemic term “identity” in modern discourse has many connotations. There are three main contexts in which it is used in relation to personality: 1. designation of oneself, individuality, originality, uniqueness, 2. substantiality, preservation of its essence, stability in external pressure and transformations, 3. Personal self-consciousness about its identity and substantiality.

In modern discourse in the West, the concept of identity is considered as problematic and polysemic. Here, the main dilemma passes between the substantialist and constructivist interpretation of identity.

Identity is a vague concept. Like the earlier notion of «race», it has evident street value in everyday language usage, but it lacks scientific clarity. The concept is such an ambiguous mixture of «hard» (essentialist) and «soft» (constructivist) meanings that it now barely functions as an analytical concept. Amidst the stream of publications over the last few decades on the subject of identity and identity politics, a consensus has emerged that collective identity can better be understood as a process, in constant motion, rather than as a fixed result. (Oostindie, 2011, p. 108)

The identity of the postmodern era from the point of view of the constructivist approach is seen as a product of discourse between the individual and society. Hence there is a fundamental pluralism of identities. “Identity is seen as a discursive structure that endows meaning to objects and individual and collective agents. From this perspective, the social is characterized by a multitude of circulating identities, contested and contestable, that offer subjects opportunities for identification (which in turn creates the link with the more psychological approaches) and provide them with the building blocks of their subjectivities” (Carpentier, 2011, p. 351).

Since identity is formed in individual socialization and inculturation process, in its content, it is a bundle of social roles and functions assumed by the individual. In this bundle there are basic and surface forms. Almost in all areas of their activities and relationships, a person forms a certain identity. “Social identity can be understood as a holistic, integrative and differentiated process, which establishes the individuals’ correspondence with the external sociocultural space, within which people identify themselves with certain social models acting or had already acted in society” (Grebenyuk, 2013, p. 16). Erickson (1996) emphasized the identity substantiality as an assimilated and accepted sameness of identity to itself, which manifests itself in the subjective self-consciousness. He noted that identification is a process that passes through certain age stages and is carried out through identity crises. “Each person goes his own way of development, experiences his crises and finds their resolution in the ways that should be described here, successively going from the beginning to the end of the selected stages” (Erickson, 1996, p. 43). Identification is the identity acquisition by an individual as a conscious process of the formation personality not only self-image, but also private personal qualities.

The personal identity formation, although it occurs through the impact on the individual of society’s socializing institutions in specific sociocultural conditions, necessarily implies an active personal activity on the adoption and assimilation of social qualities and roles. This activity of an individual to acquire his own identity may be of a different nature. It could be productive and unproductive (reproductive and destructive) ways of the individual self-identity. Creativity is the most adequate and the only productive way of personal identification and personal growth.

The creativity concept characterizes the process of creating new, previously non-existent spiritual or material products and values. Creativity is an activity that transforms not only the external world, but also the person himself. “Creativity is not only the transformation of the surrounding world, but also is the personal self-transformation, human potential development and realization, objectification and distribution of the essential human forces, actualization, identification and development of his abilities” (Polomoshnov & Polomoshnov, 2014, p. 25). In the case of personal identification, the subject and the object of creative activity coincide. Creativity, as a productive way of identifying an individual, does not imply a passive perception by a person from outside of imposed forms and models, but their internal development and transformation, development and improvement of their personality, their qualities and abilities of a pro-social, humanistic orientation. It is necessary to emphasize the inextricable link between genuine creativity and humanistic orientations, ways and goals of activity. “Creativity is the only form in which, the formation of the individual integrity spiritual component of a person occurs. Through creativity, an individual acquires a unique, truly human qualitative certainty, identifies himself with himself as a natural, social and spiritual integrity, becoming being capable of building harmonious relationships with accessible fragments of the World and sharing the mysteries of life (Belyaev, 2010).

What term is the most adequate to characterize unproductive ways for a person to acquire a genuine identity? Terms such as “simulation”, “imitation”, and “falsification” seem appropriate. Let us examine their shades of meaning. Simulation in the traditional sense is the creation of some appearance. In postmodern philosophy, this term acquired the expanded meaning of total semiotisation of being. “Simulation is no longer a simulation of a territory, a referential being, a substance. It is a product of real models without the original and reality: hyperreal. The territory no longer precedes or survives the map. From now on, the map precedes the territory” (Baudrillard, 2015, p. 32).

If we talk about simulation as a way of identifying an individual in the context of this term postmodern interpretation, then its essence boils down to the desubstantiation of identity and the personality itself. “In the essential certainty of postmodern constructionism, a number of specific properties or traits can be distinguished. Undoubtedly, anti-fundamentalism claims first place in this series. In the general philosophical (but postmodern) aspect, it is generally a reality “attenuation”, a transition from “solid” things and structures to some objectless dynamics, a flow of forces.

In other words, the entire reality is being made, the objective (object) and subjective (subject) are being constructed, and, with historical necessity, the transition from pre- to self-certainty is accomplished (Grechko, 2013). In this sense, this term may be applicable to the destructive identification method’s characteristic.

The term “imitation” is appropriate to characterization of a reproductive, non-creative way for an individual to form an identity through non-critical assimilation of external patterns and roles, since imitation is likening to something, reproducing, replicating, copying external patterns.

The term “falsification”, as the creation of a false notion about something with the purpose of introducing deception, the creation of a fake seems appropriate for a general designation of reproductive and destructive methods of identification, since both imitation and identity simulation are different ways of replacing genuine, creative identification with ineffective fakes. As applied to personal identity, falsification contains not only a fake for others, but also self-deception, a fake for itself.

The sociocultural reflection of identification methods, in addition to clarifying key terms, includes factor analysis, i.e. consideration of specific socio-cultural factors that determine the method and results of individual identification in the postmodern culture.

Finally, the sociocultural reflection of opposing methods of personal identification implies not only finding out the differences between the identification procedures themselves, but also the results of this identification, i.e. differences in identity forms.


Let us analyze the main postmodern factors that determine the transformation of personal identity and identification methods, highlighting the positive and negative potencies in the influence of each factor.

Globalization , as the internationalization of the world economic, political, spiritual system, in relation to identity carries with it contradictory potencies. On the one hand, it can lead to the unification of the sociocultural, national identity of ethnophors, the erosion of their civic, state identity.

On the other hand, globalization contains the potential of enriching national identity with the achievements and experience of world culture by integrating local sociocultural subjects into the world community, if it follows the unity model of the diverse or the unified world community, as a multicultural multi-civilization multipolar world, formation.

Informatization , Internet and manipulating virtual reality possibilities’ development, on the one hand, creates technical possibilities for destructive virtualization of the consciousness of the personality and its identity. With the virtual reality advent, the virtual identity violent constructing possibility has emerged and the problem of the relationship between real and virtual identity has arisen. Virtual reality factionalize between real and virtual identity and forms ineffective methods of identification: imitation, destructive manipulation or combination. “Digital technologies, as they improve and integrate into the cultural and historical context, are increasingly acquiring a virtual nature, stop reflecting and start simulating reality” (Emelin, 2016, p. 90). On the other hand, informatization can expand opportunities for the creative design of a genuine, substantial identity of the individual.

Permanent scientific and technical growth , expressed in the rapid and continuous equipment and production technologies modernization, on the one hand, frees the person from non-creative, physical there and thus creates prerequisites for personal growth, but, on the other hand, carries the risk of dehumanization of technology and society, the depersonalization of man, turning him into an appendage of technology and an imperfect rival of cyborgs.

The market relations universalization , their penetration into all public life spheres and all planet regions, on the one hand, stimulates the creativity of the individual, as a necessary condition for adapting to market relations, on the other hand, it carries the possibility of personal alienation of the person, the personality and its identity transformation in a simple product. This danger was recorded by Fromm (2006).

In a market orientation, a person is confronted with his own strength, as with a product alienated from him. He is not one with them, and they are hidden from him, because what matters is not his self-realization in the process of using them, but his success in the process of selling them. And his powers, and what they have created, alienates from him, becomes something different from him, something that others will value and use; as a result, his sense of identity becomes as unstable as self-esteem. (Fromm, 2006, p. 73)

The modern development of market relations, the priority in the these relations system of goods advertising, has led to the replacement of the true human identity with advertising and product brands. "The brand organizes and organizes the space of human being-consumer: it gives a system of value navigation in the world of art and culture ....

The brand becomes a symbol of the personal qualities of the individual, simulatively replaces the true imaginary” (Khokhlova, 2010, p. 373).

Global, transnational capitalism , on the one hand, creates a single global economic, political and informational space, thereby creating the prerequisites for the formation of a universal, global identity. But, on the other hand, the system of global, transnational capitalism generates a global social polarization, not only on a national scale, but also on an international scale. Combined with the huge growth in labor productivity and technological progress, international social polarization gives rise to the global problem of marginal social groups, as well as entire nations and civilizations. In other words, global capitalism leads to a global social marginalization of entire countries and peoples and social groups. There is a marginalization of the basic forms of existence of the planet population majority and its social status. This is the problem of modern “extra people”. In the modern high-tech society, most of the population of individual countries is “superfluous”. Nobody needs them: neither the authorities, nor the modern masters of life, nor themselves, but they want to live and want to live well. The point here is not even unemployment generated by the market economy. High-tech production does not need much labor at all. And the majority of the population becomes redundant people. What to do with them, where to put them, what to occupy is the headache of the ruling castes.

In the international aspect, entire countries, peoples and regions are superfluous. Peoples of the backward, underdeveloped countries are unnecessary. They are not needed by anyone either as an object of goods sale, because their solvency is low. They are not needed and as cheap labor and object of exploitation. At least, in such excess amount. The billions of people are in the ranks of the superfluous “golden billion”. But after all, they themselves do not think so and want to live, and want to live well. And they hate the “golden billion” who are fed up with super profits.

Permanent sociocultural mobility, the variability of the sociocultural environment , on the one hand, expands the possibilities of personal growth and accelerates its pace, on the other hand, carries with it the threat of the desubstantiation of identity, the loss of its fundamental humanistic foundations. A quick and continuous change of social reality leads to the internal sociocultural marginalization of the individual: it divides the past and the new identity. There is also social marginalization within society: different generations have different identities and are marginal to each other.

The negative influences of the personality identification factors complex in modern society are due to the fact that, despite the cheerful declarations of postmodern apologists, the basic forms of alienation generated by the principles of a market economy, namely, the alienation of social, economic, political institutions from the individual. As a result, a person is transformed from a subject of relations and activities into an object of manipulation by alienated global structures. Identification is replaced by manipulation of the consciousness and behavior of the masses by TNCs, global corporate structures. Social marginalization, loss of socio-economic situation stability has a critical negative impact on the humanistic identification of the individual.

The negative impact of capitalism on personal identity is also noted by Baudrillard (2015).

It was capital that, in the first place, was fed, throughout its own history, by the destruction of every referent, any human goal destruction, which broke all the differences between true and false, good and evil, to establish a radical law of equivalence and exchanges, the iron law of its power. He first played intimidation, abstraction, detachment, deterritorialization, etc., and if he supported reality, the reality principle, then he and the first eliminated it, exterminating any ordinary value, any real equivalence, production and wealth, in the very sense of that we have the unreality of stakes and the omnipotence of manipulation. However, it is precisely the very same logic that today turns against him in the most radical way. And when he wants to overcome this catastrophic spiral, highlighting the last ray of reality in order to base the last ray of power on him, he thereby multiplies its signs and speeds up the simulation game. (Baudrillard, 2015, p. 27)

Almost all researchers recognize that the most important prerequisite for obtaining a humanistic identity and the formation of a creative, artistic personality is a fairly high and stable social status and the associated highly intellectual, creative work. All these conditions are usually associated with the concept of “middle class”. “The middle strata, what can be called the middle class, play an extremely important role in any society life. The presence of an extensive middle stratum acts as a real, and not a declared guarantor of the social elevation, the solution of new problems facing it.” (Krivosheev, 2006, p. 58). The positive role of the “middle class” as a social soil of creative identity is also noted by Volkov (2014): “In Russian society, where the influence of excessive social inequalities and the transfer to softer, neutral forms cannot be solved instantly, creative identity creates a system of personal security, affiliation with others, extinguishes the level of social conflict and reduces deprivation effects” (p. 33). Both Volkov and Krivosheev saw the social basis of creative identity in the middle class, but unlike Volkov, who believes in the middle class in Russia, Krivosheev strongly doubts its’ existence.

What is constitute the contrast between creativity and falsification of identity as a means of identifying, acquiring and preserving identity by an individual?

Creativity as a productive way of identifying, acquiring and preserving a true humanistic individual by an individual is based on individual’s free activity in a society where all forms of alienation has been overcoming. The creativity essence, as a positive personal freedom to reveal his potential, “... consists in the spontaneous activity of the person’s complete personality." (Fromm, 2006, p. 42). Fromm (2006) emphasized that individual’s free activity, aimed at humanistic goals and values, allows the individual overcoming alienation between himself and the outside world and other people, not losing, but, vice versa, developing his originality and true individuality. “With every spontaneous activity, the individual merges with the world. But his personality is not only preserved, it becomes stronger. Since person is strong as far as it is active ... Only the qualities that flow from our spontaneous activity give the personality strength and thereby form the basis of its usefulness” (Fromm, 2006, p. 48).

Creativity as a way of personal self-identification, self-realization, self-actualize and acquire harmonious unity with the world via free humanistic activity, presupposes a humanistic transformation of oneself, but as well as the surrounding world. In this sense, it is necessary to admit the truth of Berdyaev (1916), who emphasizes the drama of the creative act of overcoming its own limitations and hostility from the alienated world. “The creative act is always liberation and overcoming. There is an experience of power in it. The discovery of one’s creative act is not a cry of pain, passive suffering, not a lyrical outpouring. Horror, pain, relaxation, death must be conquered by creativity. Creativity is essentially a way out, an outcome, a victory. Sacrifice of creativity is not death and horror. Sacrifice itself is active, not passive” (Berdyaev, 1916, para. 6).

Belyaev (2010), analyzing creativity as a way for a person to acquire a genuine humanistic identity in external social conditions that are not entirely favorable for this, stresses that creativity is a struggle, resistance, rebellion against dehumanistic sociocultural factors and conditions of a person's existence.

Creativity is an open, although not always conscious, rebellion of an accomplished, becoming human being against at any moment a realized, becoming natural-social human dimension of accessible fragments of the World, against its own uncontested integration into the present conditions of fully determined mechanical existence, against the circumference of all that took place, frozen dead, transformed into the scenery of a meaningless performance, the participants of which - puppets led by puppets play the role of puppets. (Belyaev, 2010, p. 58)

Destructive in relation to the person, an alternative to creativity as a method of personal identification is falsification, imitation, true identity simulation to which a person, accepting postmodern dehumanistic factors, is doomed. What is the peculiarity of falsification, as a way to identify a person?

The falsification is characterized by identificational value orientations depreciate, especially humanistic ones, the devaluation of the personality itself, the profanisation and relativization of social roles. Identification becomes arbitrary in the context of the terms “wanton” (meaningless, extravagant, causeless, dissolute, exuberant) and “random” (random, random, made at random). “A person is free to break the map of his life, turn it over and assemble it in any way, because the most important property of a rhizome is the presence of exits, compensating for the lack of depth and height of the structure” (Kazanova, 2014, p. 43). Identification turns into an arbitrary meaningless game. “The main point of the game in this case, in our opinion, is the self-actualization of the playing subject through the transformation of the subjective reality of his being, and thus the change of the “status quo”of his (subject) individual and social pre-assignment” (Kazanova, 2014, p. 24).

Falsification as a way to identify a person leads to the personality integrity destruction, fragmentation, to the transformation of the personality into an artificial arbitrary mask, more precisely into a carnival of constantly and arbitrarily replaced masks, in which the integrity and coherence of the personality and its social roles disappear. The fragmentation of identity is a characteristic of postmodernism spirit.

Fragmentation is anti-holism, distrust of the entire, “rebellion” of parts against the entire, a measure of the parts autonomy within the entire. A postmodern entire is so soft and dynamic that it can include not only related but also parts or fragments opposite to it. We are accustomed to thinking that the entire is greater than its constituent parts. But the postmodern entire is arranged differently; it may even be smaller than its parts. (Kravchenko, 2015, p. 20)

Yakovleva (2016) uses the term “nomadism” to characterize postmodernist identity falsification. “In the new form of identity, nomadism is all-encompassing: it manifests itself in thinking, actions, and life in general. The nomad does not linger anywhere : his thoughts jump from one to another; He does not complete any of the affairs / projects; each time focusing on the new, the individual moves freely in the social space, constantly changing his place of residence / work / environment / addiction” (Yakovleva, 2016, p. 31).

Falsification and simulation as unproductive, destructive for an individual, ways of identifying an individual in a postmodern culture are not confined to opposition between individuality and society. The conflict between personal individuality and the external pressure of alien social roles is removed here by transforming social roles into simulacra, into fakes. The personality only outwardly accepts these roles as a game, and not as its essence, and therefore imitates their execution, and does not identify these roles with itself. There is the place

... imitation-simulacrum: a purely external, ritual in nature demonstrative presentation of following social norms and values is akin to a social dramatization. By resorting to a simulacrum imitation strategy, the subject in one way or another reproduces only the external form of behavior, oriented towards the normative requirements and value reference points superficially acquired during socialization. (Kravchenko, 2015, p. 25)

Personal identification transformation into the game is largely facilitated by the virtual space of the Internet. "In this present experience economy, for example, playfulness not only characterizes leisure time, it can be fun), but also work (which should be above all be fun nowadays), education (serious gaming), politics (ludic campaigning), and computer war simulations and interfaces” (Frissen, Lammes, De Lange, De Mul, & Raessens, 2015, p. 17).

The contrast between creativity and falsification as a means of identifying an individual in the postmodern world is also manifested in the contrast between identification results, i.e. identity’s forms. The product of creativity is substantial identity, which is characterized by such attributes as the priority of basic identity forms, a clear identities structure and hierarchy, stability and resistance to transformations, realization through unity of sociocultural environment and other people through internally accepted social roles, disclosure of the individual human abilities creative potential, individual humanistic.

The product of falsifying identity various methods is a special form of identity, which can be defined as “marginal identity”. This identity is desubstantialized, unstructured, diffuse, fluid, changeable, fragmentary, groundless. In the postmodernist identity, there is a certain order that justly consists of a certain order (Carpentier, 2011).

Marginal identity is an imitation of genuine humanistic identity, its simulacrum, or its antipode, that is, dehumanistic identity.

The margin is the personality of biased identities, a personality in which there is no expressed value core. Or, to put it differently, a marginal person is a person in whom discrepancies and ambiguities are formed around an incompletely formed and distinct value core. The margin, by virtue of this, does not have a basic identity; it is all woven from different-order remnants of the former and emerging structures of new identities. In this sense, the margin looks like an incomplete, unclear personality, whose behavior is difficult to predict. (Krivosheev, 2006, p. 61)

Identification as a game gives rise to a game identity, which only at first glance seems to be trouble-free and arbitrary. In fact, the “game identity” carries a number of conflicts: between reality and appearance, i.e. playful appearance, between freedom and the strength of external circumstances and determinants, between individuality and collectivity (Frissen et al., 2015). The most important is the conflict between reality and the appearance of a simulative, game identity. “Playful personae are constantly oscillating between reality and appearance. They play their role, just pretending that they are identical to them, but at the same time their role-playing is utmost serious and as such becomes a reality sui generis. Moreover, the competitions they engage in are not «just play», but they have very profane real-life consequences” (Frissen et al., 2015, p. 25). Naturally, internal conflicts generated by identity simulation can not affect the mental health of the individual.

A group of scientists (Tom Postmes, Lenka J. Wichmann, Anne M. van Valkengoed, Hanneke van der Hoef) conducted a synthesis of research on the relationship between mental depression and social identification. As a result of this study, it was found that “the relationship was found across different participant groups and different conceptualizations of depression and social identification. However, this result needs to be interpreted carefully, as the relationship between depression and social identification is neither straightforward nor uniform. Our results indicate that substantial variability exists across studies” (Postmes, Wichmann, van Valkengoed, & van der Hoef, 2019, p. 115). 

Many Western researchers, adhering to the constructivist approach to identity, consider the processes of arbitrary construction of personal identity not as destructive, but as constructive, and even as a sociocultural norm of postmodern. “Where identification becomes increasingly a matter of choice, where all citizens are increasingly able to reinvent themselves within multiple identities” (Oostindie, 2011, p. 110).

McComiskey (2000) distinguishes between a modernist and postmodern understanding of identity. In his opinion, the modernist understanding of identity is substantialist and therefore emphasizes differences as opposed to identity. “The modernist Subject is defined in terms of its objective relationship to reality and its opposition to «Other» subjects, and the construction of the modernist Subject (autonomous and sovereign) is an effect of ethno-centric formulations (frames, constructions) of identity/difference oppositions” (McComiskey, 2000, p. 71).

Postmodernism on its term “construct «identity and difference» as a complementary pair, as an alliance rather than an opposition. And the subjectivities that result from this alliance refuse the structural closure of the modernist Subject and articulate themselves (engage in cultural and rhetorical practices) in the aporia between identity and difference” (McComiskey, 2000, p. 73).

The marginal identity issue acquires a special context in connection with the formation of multicultural communities in Western countries and the United States as a result of mass migrations from countries in Africa and the Middle East and Latin America. In this regard, the question arises from the relationship between the national and socio-cultural identity of migrants with the identity of the basic nation, as well as the question of the formation of a single integral identity. On this occasion, Larrucea (2015) notes the difficulty of applying a strong concept of identity to the characteristics of the identity of migrants. “Strong concept of identity is extremely difficult to apply in multicultural contexts, in which the existence of many different groups and the blurred boundaries between them render it difficult to define specific collective identities” (Larrucea, 2015, p. 80). As criteria for the effectiveness of migrants identification in the local community, she suggests three factors: 1. belonging, 2. language and 3. transnational practices. (Larrucea, 2015).

Brooke (2006), on the example of local communities identity analyzing, finds the importance of civic factors in the national identity formation instead of a local migration identity that is fragmented by a society. “Civic leadership, knowledge of heritage, stewardship: these may well be the most important aspects of regional identity, as a possible alternative to the migratory identity so prevailingly fostered by American education” (Brooke, 2006, p. 145).

The diffusion of sociocultural and national identity that occurs in the mass migrations process is positively evaluated in the postmodern discourse context, as a way of forming geographically unbound identities. “Postmodern and post-colonial discourses have praised hybridity and ambivalence as enriching traces of identity-building in our age of multidirectional migrations as if only travelling between and across cultures through transnational dislocations could provide the experience of developing diasporic, hyphenated or deterritorialised identities” (Machaqueiro, 2010, p. 198).

As a result of ethnic migrations from backward countries to highly developed migrants, a form of identity such as “border” or peripheral identity is formed.

By frontier identity I mean a culturally and socially constructed self-image with some distinctive traces. In small- or medium- term processes of identity-building, a frontier identity exhibits the kind of transitional hybridity that social scientists find in so many instances of migration, when the subject’s self-representation is mixed, though internally divided in its identification with competing models. The word ‘transitional’ is used to underscore the provisional nature of these identities, invariably paradoxical, frozen in their own movement or living on the edge. Such identities are unable to make a definite choice between an archaic self-image representing to the subject the past he must break with, and a modern self-image representative of the future. (Machaqueiro, 2010, p. 201)

The marginal identity issue is also connected with the processes of globalization and the formation of transnational, interstate associations. Here the priority belongs, of course, to the European Union. In this context, the identity issue is raised as a question of the relationship between national, state identity and identity throughout the European Union. Pierre P. Balestrini, exploring the factors of forming a common European identity within the European Union, notes that factors such as higher education, professional qualifications, short-term personal economic expectations do not have a significant impact on the formation of common European identity. The traditional national identity is much stronger. “Citizens’ affective attachment towards the nation (or towards the nation and the EU) is therefore proving particularly entrenched and enduring” (Balestrini, 2012, p. 372). Balestrini (2012) notes the important role of politicians in the adequate strategy development for the common European identity formation.

It is therefore important that national and EU policy-makers work towards flexible modes of integration, that ensure a greater compatibility between national identities and a European identity and thus give some satisfaction to as many national publics as possible. It is also about fostering a European identity that is not portrayed as threatening national identities and capitalise on what is common to all national identities. (Balestrini , 2012, p. 373)


The study revealed a postmodern cultural factors’ complex that have a controversial influence on the processes of personal identification and identity forms: globalization, informatization, scientific and technological growth, market relations universalization, permanent socio-cultural mobility, global capitalism. Each of these factors carries the potential of both positive and negative opportunities and influences on the personal identification in the modern world. Social marginalization, loss of the individual socio-economic status stability have a critical negative impact on personal humanistic identification.

Creativity is a productive way to identify, acquire and preserve the genuine humanistic individuality by the personality. It is based on the individual’s free activity in a society where every possible form of alienation has been overcoming. The product of creativity is substantial identity, which is characterized by such attributes as the priority of identity basic forms, a clear identities’ structure and hierarchy, stability and resistance to transformations, realization through unity of sociocultural environment and other people through internally accepted social roles, disclosure of the individual human abilities creative potential, humanistic orientation of the individual.

Destructive towards the person, an alternative to creativity as a personal identification method is falsification, imitation, simulation of the true identity to which a person is doomed who accepts the dehumanistic factors of the postmodern. The falsification is characterized by the identification value orientations depreciation, especially humanistic ones, the devaluation of the personality itself, the profanisation and relativization of social roles. Falsification as a way to identify a person leads to the destruction of the personal integrity, its fragmentation. The product of falsifying identity various means is “marginal identity”. This identity is desubstantialized, unstructured, diffuse, fluid, changeable, fragmentary, groundless. Marginal identity is an imitation of genuine humanistic identity, its simulacrum, or its antipode, that is, dehumanistic identity.

The damaged, marginal identity in all its forms variety is the compensation of the individual’s marginal status in a dehumanistic society, and the identity imitation is the compensation of creativity as a productive, humanistic way of identification. However, all marginal identity simulacra are an ineffective compensation for humanistic identity.

Creativity constructs the highest spiritual reality, values sublimating, enriching and spiritualizing material reality, elevating it. Simulacrum, imitation emasculates and devastates material reality, degrades and devalues it. Creativity humanistly develops and enriches the personality. Imitation destroys the individual and dehumanizes society.


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Polomoshnov, A., Polomoshnov, P., Gabibov, A., Polomoshnov, L., & Maslova*, E. (2019). Postmodern Identity: Creativity Or Falsification. In D. Karim-Sultanovich Bataev, S. Aidievich Gapurov, A. Dogievich Osmaev, V. Khumaidovich Akaev, L. Musaevna Idigova, M. Rukmanovich Ovhadov, A. Ruslanovich Salgiriev, & M. Muslamovna Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Social and Cultural Transformations in the Context of Modern Globalism, vol 76. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 2138-2153). Future Academy.