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Group Identity in the Renaissance World

This book argues that the Renaissance, long associated with the historical development of individualism, in fact witnessed the emergence of radically new concepts of group identity. From the end of the fifteenth century, rapidly accelerating globalization intensified cross-cultural encounters, destabilized older categories of large- and small-group identity, and contributed to the rise of new hybrid group concepts. Drawing on insights from psychoanalysis, linguistics, and social network theory, this book advances a theory of group subjectivity perceptions, fantasies, and patterns of belief that guide the behaviors of individuals in groups and of collectives. Considering not only Europe, but also South Asia, Africa, the Sugar Islands of the Atlantic, the Caribbean world, and Brazil, Hannah Chapelle Wojciehowski reconsiders the Renaissance in global context, presenting micro-histories of group identity formation, and persuasively argues that we think of that transformational era as a re-networking of the world and its peoples, rather than a rebirth.

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