The concept of identity has become ubiquitous with the social and behavioural sciences in recent years, cutting across disciplines from psychoanalysis and psychology to political science and sociology. Identity theory, initially outlined by Sheldon Stryker, proposes a concept of identity based on the symbolic interaction of the social role and personal identity. By seeing all of these identities theoretically isomorphic, but having different bases and sources, a unification of the different uses of identity might be better achieved.
The contributions to Advances in Identity Theory and Research all begin with this view of identities and seek to extend and apply our understanding of that concept. The volume is presented in four sections based on recent research in the field:
- the sources of identity,
- the tie between identity and the social structure,
- the non-cognitive outcomes, such as emotional, of identity processes,
- the idea that individuals have multiple identities. By recognizing the multiple bases of identity that are found in group, role and person and by taking into account variation in levels of commitment and salience of these identities as people are tied into the social structure differently, the complexity of society is reflected in the complexity of the self.