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© Eva M. Snyder page created 12/07/03 last updated 12/07/03

The Identity and Attribute Problem


Identity does not guarantee Attribute.

Attribute does not guarantee Identity.

Identity Membership is defined as "self proclaimed membership where characteristics are extrapolated from observing the group". Such memberships are based on shared characteristics (even if membership is the only shared characteristic). Identity based membership does not require that other members of the group accept ones membership. One can believe one is a member of a group without any acceptance or recognition by other members. The sole criteria for identity membership is the assertion of the individual that they have such an identity.

Attribute Membership is defined as "membership assigned by observed characteristics independent of assertions of identity". Possession of a characteristic is no guarantee that an individual will recognize themselves as a member of the group of people sharing the characteristic. Even if membership is offered it is not necessarily sought or accepted. The sole criteria for attribute membership is the observation that the individual has the characteristics to meet the stated definition.


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