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The Construction of Familial Identity

Ludwig Wittgenstein’s unique perspective on the construction of familial identity explicitly addresses gender, sexuality, race, and ethnicity. Wittgenstein contends that identity is context-dependent, action-based, and normatively regulated through language games. While factual elements contribute to identity, they do not singularly determine membership; somewhat, identity is shaped within discursive contexts and normative practices. This essay explores the intricacies of Wittgenstein’s perspective, providing a comprehensive analysis of the relevant textual evidence and offering a real-world example to illustrate the dynamic nature of familial identity.

Analysis and Explanation of Relevant Textual Evidence

Wittgenstein’s exploration of relative identity demands situations with the traditional know-how of identity as an absolute and glued concept. He argues that when discussing human beings of equal gender, sexual orientation, race, or ethnicity, we regard relative identity as identification to admire (Medina, 2003). However, Wittgenstein urges caution in interpreting relative identity to avoid a robust identification-claim analysis. He introduces the perception of similarity, wherein matters that might be similar in a few appreciations can nevertheless be extraordinary in that appreciation and others. The vital factor is that those variations are disregarded or ignored when matters are brought near sufficient to be grouped collectively and dealt with as members of the identical category or own family. Wittgenstein’s emphasis on similarity running inside a context of variations underscores the nuanced nature of familial identification (Medina, 2003). In keeping with Wittgenstein, identity operates in a double feel, wherein people apprehend similarities against the backdrop of differences, each in relevant and inappropriate respects. This popularity of similarity, Wittgenstein argues, includes both sight and blindness. In other words, individuals can understand similarities handiest after deliberately making themselves ignorant of specific differences. This interconnectedness of sight and blindness in recognizing familial identity lays the groundwork for Wittgenstein’s broader claim about the nature of ideas used to describe ourselves and the world.

Real-World Example

To illustrate Wittgenstein’s perspective on familial identification, we turn to a nearby folklore tale from Sevilla, Spain, regarding the Triana ‘Negro.’ This narrative revolves around an unusual sepulcher observed within the church of Santa Ana in 1845. The sepulcher, composed of 32 ceramic tiles, depicts a younger guy of a darkish complexion named Iñigo Lopes, an enslaved person buried inside the church (Medina, 2003). The tombstone bears an inscription signed by Francisco Niculoso Pisano, indicating that it is the burial website of Iñigo Lopes, an enslaved person, dated 1503 A.D.

The strange ritual associated with this sepulcher involved girls, mainly from the lower socioeconomic lessons and regularly from the gypsy network, kicking the tombstone seven times. This ritual, believed to steady a great marriage, displays a normatively structured exercise in the Triana community (Medina, 2003). The context of the ritual, deeply embedded in nearby folklore, demonstrates how familial identity is formed via unique moves and normative expectations. The women’s performance of the ritual, kicking the tombstone seven times, is a chain of actions in the language sport of familial identity in Triana.

Objection and Response

One capability objection to Wittgenstein’s attitude is determining the criteria for legitimate discursive practices and normative expectancies. Critics may argue that without fixed criteria, familial identification will become subjective and at risk of manipulation (Medina, 2003). However, Wittgenstein’s emphasis on contextuality recognizes that those standards are context-structured. It is deeply rooted within the concrete contexts in which language games are played. These language games depend on tacit norms or normative expectations exhibited within the conduct of the individuals (Medina, 2003). Wittgenstein’s assertion that familial identity is sustained via interrelated networks of similarities and differences inside particular contexts reacts to the objection. The criteria for determining familial identification are not arbitrary; they emerge from the shared norms and practices within a community.


Wittgenstein’s attitude offers a nuanced know-how of familial identity, emphasizing its construction via context-based practices and norms. The actual-global instance from Triana illustrates the dynamic nature of identification inside a specific network, supporting Wittgenstein’s argument that familial identification is not decided via data on my own; however, it is fashioned through discursive contexts and normative practices.


Medina, J. (2003). Identity trouble: Disidentification and the problem of difference. Philosophy & social criticism29(6), 655–680.


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