Summary / Abstract

Title: Sociological perspectives on identity formation: the culture–identity link and identity capital

Synopsis: This paper lays the groundwork for understanding identity formation in an interdisciplinary fashion byaddressing the problem of how culture and identity are interrelated. I attempt to resolve this problem by framing the“culture–identity link” with concepts representing three social-structural periods at three levels of analysis(the macro, micro, and psychological). The concept of “identity capital” is derived from this framework, depicting howindividuals can negotiate life passages in an increasingly individualistic, complex and chaotic world. These formulations placeexisting research in a broad perspective and suggest avenues for future work. culture, identity formation, life, sociological perspectives, framework, psychology, modern society, adolescence, social structural period, culture identity link, character type, future, representing, context, societies, formulation, ego identity, social structure, life passages, institutions, consumption, commitments, directed character type, personality, social class, social contexts governing, Professionals, future work, increasingly individualistic complex, interdisciplinary fashion,

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journal adolescence 1996 19 417 428 sociological perspectives identity formation culture identity link identity capital james e co te paper lays groundwork understanding identity formation interdisciplinary fashion addressing problem culture identity interrelated i attempt resolve problem framing culture identity link concepts representing three social structural periods three levels analysis macro micro psychological concept identity capital derived framework depicting individuals negotiate life passages increasingly individualistic complex chaotic world formulations place existing research broad perspective suggest avenues future work 1996 association professionals services adolescents introduction recognition need understand social contexts governing human development rise considerable recent research evidenced special issue progress made need overarching framework guide efforts produce coherent body research particular question extent ways culture identity interrelated answered systematic empirically testable manner sociologically oriented social psychologist i addressed problem constructing framework links macro sociological factors micro interactional ones psychological factors i refer framework culture identity link brief discussion framework see co te 1996 original complete discussion culture identity link assumptions underlying framework stem social psychological tradition sociology called social structure personality perspective house 1977 view perspective suitable task hand interrelated levels analysis explicitly recognized necessary theory human social behaviour levels 1 social structure political economic systems 2 interaction comprising patterns behaviour characterize day day contacts people socializing institutions like family schools 3 personality encompasses terms like character self psyche subcomponents like ego identity reprint requests correspondence addressed dr james co te department sociology university western ontario london ontario canada n6a 5c2 0140 1971 96 05041712 18 00 0 1996 association professionals services adolescents 418 j e co te table 1 presents superordinate concepts framework arranged respective levels analysis traced three types societies specific derivative concepts relevant identity specified illustrating cultures parameters identity formation statements describing key relationships framework taken propositions argued tested seen table 1 three interrelated levels analysis vertically postulated associated constructs representing three periods social structural stability change horizontally producing three three typology three socialstructural periods meant portray prevailed past centuries western societies societies influenced west distinction pre modern early modern corresponds widely accepted sociological distinction folk urban societies distinction referred terms agrarian vs industrial societies folk vs urban gemeinschaft vs gesellschaft western societies transformation largely completed 19th century early modern period considered era modernism production defining feature social relations century consumption increased importance defining feature social relations identity taking late modern society production declined relative importance consumption technology supplanted labour created surpluses cf gergen 1991 giddens 1991 interactional level three patterns corresponding social structural changes identified regard socializing institutions family school patterns postulated margaret mead 1970 denote social change affects relationship socializers socializees influencing cultural continuity mead refers patterns figures models representing three kinds culture cf muuss 1988 three cultures postfigurative children learn primarily forebears cofigurative children adults learn peers prefigurative adults learn children mead 1970 p 1 note prefixes tend counter intuitive uses post refer past pre refer future see muuss 1988 discussion formulation associated pre modern societies postfigurative cultures relations parents offspring governed traditional norms questioning parent child postfigurative culture stabilized table 1 framework culture identity link superordinate concepts level analysis social structural period social structure pre modern early modern late modern interaction postfigurative cofigurative prefigurative personality tradition directed inner directed directed 419 sociological perspectives identity formation coresidence three generations ascription adult roles generation comes age cofigurative culture intergenerational linkage tenuous offspring look non traditional sources components adult identities e g contemporaries fundamental change relation parent child authority parent questioned child actually give direction parent consequently eventual adult identity offspring longer taken granted parent child lastly prefigurative culture conception future holds offspring life experiences parents offspring guidance highly regarded fact type culture young teach guide parents point parents subservient ways gap parents offspring opened cofigurative culture widened prefigurative contemporary sociological language leave coming age task primary architects identities cf giddens 1991 addition framework suggests socializing influence institutions cultures nurture personality characteristics encourage development character types anthropologists like mead ruth benedict favored view e g benedict 1938 mead 1960 little work done 1950s implication broad character types found manifestations cultural pressures interacting human temperaments individual differences character distributed predominant modal cultural character types cf co te 1993 relevant formulation influential sociology comes david riesman 1950 riesman argues three character types coincidentally fit social structural institutional patterns identified argues tradition directed character type characterizes pre modern type societies important relationships life controlled careful rigid etiquette learned young years intensive socialization end initiation full adult membership p 11 character type heteronomous range choice minimal apparent social need individuated type character minimal p 12 correspond early modern societies inner directed character types emerge principal mode securing conformity p 14 counteract disruptive influences early industrialization associated geographical mobility urbanization capital accumulation mass production individuals socialized metaphorical gyroscope implanted early life elders directed generalized inescapably destined goals p 15 parents come see offspring individuals careers make p 17 inner directed persons exercise choice initiative general heading pattern acceptable behaviour embark careers resulting individuality threat social economic order person self governing equipped gyroscope third character type arises conditions resemble late modern society emerging riesman wrote mid century means mass production mastered abundance taken granted scarcity psychology inner directed supplanted abundance psychology gives rise called directed character type late 420 j e co te modern society production results technological advances met heightened consumerism words production problems mastered late modern society needs consumption large scale capital accumulation suffers complementary mass consumption mass insecurities regarding right things done said people problem material environment riesman 1950 p 18 consumption emerges identifying loyalties relationships consequently directed character sensitive opinions approval riesman uses metaphor radar characterize orientation individuals taught early life constantly monitor social environment ensure consumption patterns appearance behaviour conform accepted standards time place directed person strives meet goals goals shift staying tune shifts paramount importance character type see prefigurative socialization mechanisms mead postulated contribute directedness parents providing guidance influence children identity formation children turn direction extent culturally conditioned individual character see ewen 1976 discussion rise advertising industry twentieth century cultivation insecurities anxieties create sense need consume order alleviate manufactured dissonance identity formation patterns levels analysis social structural periods identified culture identity framework help organize number identity concepts generated past decades term identity ways emphasize different facets human self definition cf gecas burke 1995 social structure personality perspective suggests taxonomy 1 term social identity designate individual position social structure 2 concept personal identity denote concrete aspects individual experience rooted interactions institutions 3 notion ego identity refer fundamental subjective sense continuity characteristic personality terms need competition seen attempts map different facets interdisciplinary terrain taxonomy presented table 2 specific reproduction conceptual crosstabulation table 1 words vertically representations identity formation patterns depicted table 2 logically linked cultural character patterns discussed horizontally identity concepts meant depict cultural prototype imitated social structural period social identity formation postulated differ type society particular cultural prototype tends ascribed pre modern societies achieved early modern societies managed late modern ones terms defined follows ascribed means assigned basis inherited status achieved sociological sense social position accomplished 421 sociological perspectives identity formation managed means reflexively strategically fitting oneself community strangers meeting approval creation right impressions cf gecas burke 1995 words pre modern society social identity largely determined characteristics attributes like race sex parent social status early modern increasingly based personal accomplishment material attainment ostensibly based appraisals merit late modern society matter impression management social encounters situational appraisals important social background accomplishments level interaction i e interpersonal world culture individual meet personal identity largely heteronomous individuated image oriented move three types societies heteronomous identity based uncritical acceptance appraisals expectations produces conformist mechanical blending community individuated identity based production distinctive personal style role repertoire person biography leads organic integration community image oriented identity based projection images meet approval community gaining access long images remain acceptable personal identity refers interpersonal styles shaped actual life experiences individuals sense expresses culmination individual biography point time level character two components ego identity classified structure process ego identity structure refers experience handled experiences considered important individual marcia 1993a p 3 ego identity process refers manner ego forms identity distinct entity relation object world terms types identity structure studied identity status researchers identity foreclosure qua commitments determined predominates pre modern societies identity achievement qua self chosen commitments prototypical structure modern societies identity diffusion qua lack stable long term commitments appears emerging predominant late modern societies follow framework outlined terms processes identity formed pre modern society requires members adopt identities early life early modern society people expected construct identities come age latetable 2 cultural prototypes identity formation patterns constituting culture identity link level analysis social structural period pre modern early modern late modern social identity ascribed achieved managed social structure personal identity heteronomous individuated image interaction oriented ego identity personality structure foreclosed achieved diffused b process adopted constructed discovered 422 j e co te modern society individuals encouraged continually discover identities consumption pleasing cf gergen 1991 applications existing research framework promises give identity researchers common reference point anchor concepts hypotheses cross cultural trans historical manner doing suggests things cultural context identity status paradigm cf marcia 1993b framework north american european researchers studying identity society increasingly late modern prefigurative otheroriented noted suggests identity diffusion increasingly conditioned nurtured stance identity formation cf marcia 1989 proposition tested large scale random samples successive cohorts passing adolescence basis meta analyses existing studies identity diffusion increasing achieved ego identity structure undergoing decline new cohort empirically tested fact identification mama cycles symptomatic difficulties sustaining commitments late modern society cycles individuals re evaluate commitments adulthood evidenced oscillation moratorium questioning achievement commitment marcia 1993a decline sustained commitment characteristic achievement status concern designation identity status preferred outcome identity formation association psychological health see selections archer 1994 josselson 1994 disruptions oscillations commitments cause families communities concern terms loss civil society lack guiding structure attempting come age postulated increase diffusion decrease achievement styles identity formation accounted framework late modern socialization pressures encourage directedness enhanced impression management desire discover identity image consumption cf co te allahar 1994 image consumption introduced successive cohorts century mid century profit oriented industries youth cultures peer cultures heightened need conform adolescent period made relatively easy pattern image consumption introduced involves immediate gratification orientation enhancing physical experiential self deemed appropriate commonplace adorn body fashions jewellery cosmetics order project particular images please gratifying narcissistic desires customary spend great amounts time experiences similarly project images gaining validation consumption music mass media computers assorted games drugs involve image consumption sense illusions basis key interactions consequence mass phenomenon nurturance mass consumers little concern regarding future holds receptive shifting trends values reject culture primary socialization prone guided 423 sociological perspectives identity formation act opposition gyroscope discussed riesman losing basis innerdirectedness psychoanalytic terms signals increasing id orientation decreasing superego orientation personality cf co te 1993 implications framework problematic nature late modern society obvious implication framework culture identity link social life late modern society increasingly problematic individual terms establishing stable viable identity based commitments embedded community interpretation reflects pessimism i believe deserves careful examination section i elaborate problematic nature present future society balance formulation suggests individuals coping deleterious social structural cultural influences pre modern modern institutions tend supportive individual identities intergenerational continuity new members willing recruits culture extent institutions failing failed follows individual identity formation cultural reproduction jeopardy extent institutions replaced exploitive consumption oriented patterns follows western cultural development proceeding like rudderless ship vessel transport occupants safely desired destinations cf giddens 1991 easy romanticize past context reason concerned young receiving benign guidance identity formation little foresight ongoing cultural change true observers welcome break cultural continuity based conclusions western culture patriarchal racist classist break tied increasing anomie social structure significant casualities comes matters individual identity scenario outlined suggests two general courses individuals take confronted late modern life simply go ride drift currents eddies changes orchestrated captains consumer industries profit manipulating identities young co te allahar 1994 discussion culture identity link constitutes descriptive account prescriptive vein discuss course individuals take active role development pilots destinies extent realistically possible sociologists refer architect biography e g giddens 1991 words institutional support guidance making developmental transitions individuals left largely internal resources past passive response drift image image discussed undertake difficult developmental tasks like actively exploring challenging developing beliefs potentials contrast active agentic response develop strategies dealing influences terms sustaining sense direction meaning taking initiative personal development i believe segment population engages active response learn studying strategies comparing 424 j e co te engage passive response keep mind investments dividend guaranteed risk strategy capital venture identity capital reasonable assume proportion individuals societies actively strategize maximize life course outcomes sociologists economists studied strategies people actively investing progeny strategy represented concept human capital becker 1964 1975 human capital theory strong impact educational policies world based assumption inculcation skill oriented knowledge generates economic activity related notion cultural capital grew recent sociological theories social class reproduction bourdieu passeron 1977 based assumption knowledge high culture aesthetics speech patterns etiquette gains access reward structures upper classes despite differing assumptions origins concepts developed account social background educational experiences investments eventually pay individuals table 3 represents concepts places precursors concept i believe applies aptly conditions late modern society identity capital three concepts represent likely advantageous resources secure social class mobility reproduce class position type society discussed view concepts human capital cultural capital useful comprehensively describes necessary individuals successfully negotiate vagaries life passages late modern society late modern society appears producing altered life course reasons social institutions like education workplace family poorly regulated inadequately linked actually failing tradition based contingency patterns relied uncritically strong status tribal differentiations emerged based class race gender age status differentials introduces arena identity politics played macro micro political levels consequently individuals require personal resources heightened awareness make uncharted hostile territory i see attributes constituting general forms capital human capital cultural capital key components contemporary self definition term identity capital appropriate describe wherewithal individuals engaging transactions attempt negotiate tricky passages created obstacles late modern society table 3 advantageous social class mobility reproduction resources social structural period pre modern early modern late modern type resource acquired human cultural identity capital capital capital 425 sociological perspectives identity formation addition concepts human capital cultural capital sufficiently sensitive unique opportunities available late modern prefigurative otherdirected societies societies inculcation human capital form instrumental skills gain membership technocracy little short long term personal development fulfillment mention fact instrumental skills regularly obsolete cultural capital useful gaining sustaining membership high status culture source personal development fulfillment cultural aesthetic skills rewarded technocracy old class advantage dwindles transferred successive generations consequently late modern society liable limited value long term highly changeable personally politicized society skills tastes rules constantly shifting i am proposing human capital cultural capital useful resources develop exchange attributes net worth apt decline long run astute investments terms seeing total life course diversified portfolio psychosocial skills necessary intelligent strategist helm behaviour cf giddens 1994 p 7 key individual form sustain identity pragmatically situated social occupational matrix individual invests identity identities engages series exchanges level identity actors complex shifting social milieu requires cognitive skills personality attributes imparted human cultural capital certainly imparted mass public educational systems portfolio individual better position move dimensions place space late modern world cf giddens 1991 engaging tactics like self monitoring snyder 1974 situated identities i e adjusting behaviours suit particular situations cf gecas burke 1995 stands contrast restrictions place space imposed individuals earlier societies identities restricted repertoire flexibility background define identity capital specifically stressed abstract arching concept intended guide empirical research directly operationalized discrete construct value assessed terms generates research questions regarding empirical manifestations discussed helps interpret results meta analyses object singular direct measurement status erikson general concept ego identity emphasize psychological dimension coping identity capital emphasizes social psychological term identity capital denotes individuals invest investments potentially reap future dividends identity markets latemodern communities player markets first establish stable sense self bolstered social technical skills variety areas effective behavioural repertoires psychosocial development advanced levels associations key social occupational networks apparent chaos late modern society key resources bargaining exchanging late modern communities apt involve skills negotiating life passages 426 j e co te securing validation communities strangers attaining membership circles groups aspires successful investors identity markets presumably portfolios comprising two types assets sociological psychological hand assets tangible sense socially visible sociological features comprise things educational credentials fraternity sorority club association memberships personal deportment e g manner dress physical attractiveness speech patterns tangible resources effective passports social institutional spheres inasmuch vital terms getting gatekeepers groups wants member accepted established members groups vary concreteness specific memberships abstract reference groups making tangible resources important micro politics involved identity negotiations involved day day interactions period time resources increase identity capital accruing negotiable self concepts selfpresentations see lerner et al 1990 goodness fit model conception personality strengths nurtured addition identity capital resources intangible psychological factors exploration commitments ego strength self efficacy cognitive flexibility complexity self monitoring critical thinking abilities moral reasoning abilities character attributes give individuals vitalities capacities understand negotiate social occupational personal obstacles opportunities likely encounter late modern life addition tangible social components internal subjective experiential component identity capital relevant terms external demands micro politics impression management eriksonian terms attributes tied developed ego synthetic ego executive abilities cf co te 1993 context exploration commitment aspects identity formation studied identity status researchers relevant extent reflexivity involved developing life plan setting goals important preparation antidote exigencies late modern society discussed awareness strengths associated exploring alternatives setting goals goals change basis type agency necessary cope conditions research reveal low identity statuses diffusion foreclosure intangible resources compared high statuses moratorium achievement i predict advantages tangible resources e g derived higher social class background reduced long run life course empirical assessment identity capital concept proceed assessment mentioned factors best predict successful negotiations late modern community addition advantages associated human capital cultural capital controlling social class advantage prime testing ground university opportunities abound developing tangible intangible resources mentioned based assumption personal development stimulated felicitous environment higher social class background give advantage acquiring identity capital make university social class 427 sociological perspectives identity formation important particular university environment individual exposed words 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