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Self-understanding and Self-identity Print
Identity or social identity refers to people’s self-understanding.

It is important for the individual as a social actor to understand him- or herself and his or her own feelings and competencies for engaging in social activities. People learn about themselves from engaging in contextual challenges. They develop a self-understanding which makes them able to engage in social life. In late modern societies where ‘individual’ individualisation have become a must it seem more necessary then ever to have a sensible self-understanding to be able to engage as a competent actor in social processes. In the development of late modern societies, and especially in the 1960’s the concept of identity became very popular. Identity formation was seen as a necessary psychological goal for all individuals. Today the identity perspective is often described as social identity. Social identity points to identity as formed in social life and as part of a relation between individual and social life. Therefore individualisation and self-understanding describes the social perspective of individual functioning and identity and social identity the psychological perspective. (SM)



Giddens, Anthony (1991) Modernity and Self-identity. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Tajfel, H. and Turner, J. C. (1986) The social identity theory of inter-group behavior. In S. Worchel and L. W. Austin (eds.), Psychology of Intergroup Relations. Chicago: Nelson-Hall.
Côté, J. (2000) Arrested Adulthood New York: New York University Press.
Erikson, H. (1968) Identity: Youth and Crises. New York: Norton.
Cushman, P. (1990) Why the Self is Empty. Towards a Historically Situated Psychology. In: American Psychologist vol. 45: 599-611 (19p.)
Rose, N. (1996) Inventing Our Selves. NY: Cambridge University Press, ch. 7: Governing enterprising individuals, 150-168.


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Last Updated ( Monday, 22 May 2006 )

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