What your interpretation of Althusser brings up to me is his apparent lack of trust that individuals will eventually recognize their own indoctrination and reject those identities that do not serve them. He seems to frame the subject as powerless in the face of these imposed, external identities. To some degree, we internalize external expectations (from society, from family, etc.) and replicate them outward, sure. But at some point in many individuals' lives, we begin to recognize our indoctrination and complicity into these structures and purposefully reject or reform them, because we recognize that maintaining these identities is unsustainable and not valuable. We reform our ideas and create new identities which are further from the old ones.
Some specific, practical examples off the top of my head:
- the "coming out" narrative in LGBTQ communities
- the religious/spiritual conversion experience (ie "I was walking in the woods and suddenly felt God there with me.") -often seemingly spontaneous in an individual's mind and not linked to the expectations of a specific religious group or organization.
- the gentle/ democratic/ collaborative parent movement, attempting to parent with less (or no) power differential between parents and children
- the restorative justice movement's goal of reducing state power and increasing community power (without just eventually replicating state power)
I would love to know more about your practical ideas for creating "space for the formation of new identities" - what does that look like for you?