Master lecture


Identity: Personal AND Social

Vivian L Vignoles, University of Sussex, UK

This presentation Identity refers to how people answer the question, “Who are you?”, whether explicitly or implicitly, and whether the question is posed at a personal or a collective level, by others or by oneself. Schools of thought within the identity literature tend to emphasize EITHER personal OR social contents and EITHER personal OR social processes. Here, I will argue that identities are inescapably BOTH personal AND social, not only in their content but also in the processes by which they are formed, maintained, and changed over time. It is the simultaneously personal AND social nature of identity that gives the construct its greatest theoretical potential—namely to provide insight into the relationship between the individual and society. However, doing justice to this potential requires integrating insights from diverse perspectives on identity and self-processes from all areas of psychology and beyond. In this talk, I will outline some key building blocks for such an integrative understanding of identity.

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