Self and Identity: Fundamental Issues

Self and Identity: Fundamental Issues

Self and Identity: Fundamental Issues

Self and Identity: Fundamental Issues

Synopsis

Self and identity have been important yet volatile notions in psychology since its formative years as a scientific discipline. Recently, psychologists and other social scientists have begun to develop and refine the conceptual and empirical tools for studying the complex nature of self. This volume presents a critical analysis of fundamental issues in the scientific study of self and identity. These chapters go much farther than merely taking stock of recent scientific progress. World-class social scientists from psychology, sociology and anthropology present new and contrasting perspectives on these fundamental issues. Topics include the personal versus social nature of self and identity, multiplicity of selves versus unity of identity, and the societal, cultural, and historical formation and expression of selves. These creative contributions provide new insights into the major issues involved in understanding self and identity. As the first volume in the Rutgers Series on Self and Social Identity, the book sets the stage for a productive second century of scientific analysis and heightened understanding of self and identity. Scholars and advanced students in the social sciences will find this highly informative and provocative reading. Dr. Richard D. Ashmore is a professor and Dr. Lee Jussim is an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Excerpt

For us this is the start of a wonderful and important adventure—the Rutgers Series on Self and Social Identity, a biennial symposium-plusbook series devoted exclusively to self and social identity.

Although the notions of self and identity have long been important parts of psychology and other social sciences, it was not until the past 20 years that research and theory have begun to fulfill the promise of William James’s (1890) view of self as both central to understanding human thought, feeling, and behavior and as extremely complex. These social scientific advances are apparent in the large number of references to self and identity appearing in Psychological Abstracts and other academic abstracting services. Also, recent years have seen the appearance of many innovative models of and methods for studying self and identity.

Given the quantity and quality of research in this field, there is a need for a continuing forum dedicated to it. The Rutgers Series on Self and Social Identity fills this need for a regular, public, and archival series on self and social identity. The Rutgers Series comprises both a symposium and book component for each topic addressed. The symposium is a public face-to-face forum where selected speakers and discussants present their ideas, and these are discussed and debated with audience members both in formal sessions and in informal settings surrounding the formal program. This interchange, plus feedback from a reviewer and the volume editors, is then used by each speaker to create a final draft chapter for the related book. This book, then, is not simply . . .

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