Affiliated Organization

University of Amsterdam, Netherlands


This paper develops a semiotics of identity management in three parts. Part 1 (Identifying assumptions) is an introduction. It aims for an appreciation of how pervasive issues of identity really are. Philosophy, science and, not to forget, religion may indeed be viewed as attempts for coming to terms with identity. Part 2 (Identity in enneadic dynamics) presents the encompassing framework. An enneadic model of semiosis is sketched, which is then applied to design a pragmatic, or behavioral, orientation at identity management. Communication and identity management are largely synonymous; identity management is essentially dialogical. Illustrations from natural history serve to emphasize the generally valid behavioral orientation. Part 3 (Social practices in identity management) illustrates how the semiotic framework helps to gain overview. It discusses selected developments in identity management at the cultural level, i.e. as practiced by human communities and societies. The partly electronic future of identity management is proposed as a program for open security in an open society.