Adolescent Identities: A Collection of Readings, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Adolescent Identities

A Collection of Readings, 1st Edition

Edited by Deborah L. Browning


396 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9781138009936
pub: 2014-09-11
Hardback: 9780881634617
pub: 2007-08-16

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Adolescent Identities draws the reader into the inner world of the adolescent to examine the process of identity formation through the various lenses of history, anthropology, sociology, psychology, and psychoanalysis.

The volume reveals there is no single "normal" adolescent, nor is there a singular adolescent experience. Editor Deborah L. Browning illustrates that in the course of development, each individual must integrate one’s unique biologically-given constitution and temperament, personal life history, and the influence of the social and cultural milieu.

The book consists of six sections, arranged by concentric circles of influence, from the most exterior, identifiable, and potentially overt and conscious, to the most internal, private, and potentially unconscious concerns. Opening papers are drawn from sociology, European history, and cross-cultural anthropology, and address the question of whether and how adolescence can be considered a stage in development.

The second section explores how visible or potentially knowable minority statuses are experienced, and how these interact with individual identity processes. Moving closer to the adolescent’s interpersonal world, the third section presents papers about intimate relationships between adolescents and about the conscious preoccupations of adolescents when they are alone.

Extensive excerpts of Erikson’s most important contributions on identity formation and adolescence are offered in the fourth section. Papers on the most internal, private, and potentially unconscious conflicts comprise the fifth section. The book concludes with a section of papers on "failed solutions" to the challenge of adolescent identity consolidation: homelessness, drug abuse, eating disorders, and suicide.

Adolescent Identities provides mental health practitioners, teachers, and graduate students in both fields with a variety of perspectives on the internal experience of adolescents.


"Dr. Browning has succeeded in gathering an impressive group of readings – both classical and contemporary – demonstrating the continuing validity and importance of Erikson’s concept of the central role of identity formation in adolescent development and psychopathology. Her book will prove an invaluable source for students, academic scholars and clinical practitioners in this vital and fascinating field."

- Aaron H. Esman, M.D., Professor Emeritus of Clinical Psychiatry, Weill Medical College, Cornell University , USA

"Dr. Deborah Browning’s collection provides the reader with a contemporary interdisciplinary and inter-theoretical view of adolescence. It is a very fine assemblage in the Eriksonian tradition of historical and modern articles that describe the individual psychodynamic, cognitive, and relational world as well as the socio-cultural environment in which adolescent development occurs. Educators and practitioners alike will find it enormously useful and informative."

- Marsha Levy-Warren, Ph.D., Author, The Adolescent Journey

"With astutely chosen readings, this excellent anthology provides widely encompassing perspectives on adolescence, broadly but centrally focused on the developmental task of identity formation in our insistently diverse and global world. The collection will be of immense help to all teachers and students interested in adolescence. I will assign it in my course on adolescence and literature."

- Paul Schwaber, Ph.D., Professor of Letters, Wesleyan University, USA

Table of Contents

Preface. Acknowledgments. Dedication. Contributors. Part I: Identifying Adolescence. Jensen, Coming of Age in a Multicultural World: Globalization and Adolescent Cultural Identity Formation. Hanawalt, Historical Descriptions and Prescriptions for Adolescence. Schlegel, A Cross-Cultural Approach to Adolescence. Part II: Identity and Diversity and the Cultural Milieu. Phinney, Ethnic Identity Exploration in Emerging Adulthood. Savin-Williams, Refusing and Resisting Sexual Identity Labels. Gibbs, Identity and Marginality: Issues in the Treatment of Biracial Adolescents. Schultz, Constructing Failure, Narrating Success: Rethinking the "Problem" of Teen Pregnancy. Part III: Adolescent Identity Formation and the Relational World. Gilligan, Exit-Voice Dilemmas in Adolescent Development. Flum & Lavi-Yudelevitch, Adolescents' Relatedness and Identity Formation: A Narrative Study. Chu, A Relational Perspective on Adolescent Boys' Identity Development. Inhelder & Piaget, Adolescent Thinking. Part IV: Erik Erikson and Psychosocial Identity. Erikson, The Problem of Ego Identity. Erikson, Ego and Actuality. Part V: Adolescent Identity Formation and the Internal World. Horney, Personality Changes in Female Adolescents. Lampl-De Groot, On Adolescence. Blos, Sr., Son and Father. Part VI: Challenges to Identity Coherence and Maintenance. Hyde, From Home to Street: Understanding Young People's Transitions into Homelessness. Noshpitz, Self-Destructiveness in Adolescence. Gordon, A Changing Female Identity. King, Psychodynamic Approaches to Youth Suicide.

About the Editor

Deborah L. Browning, Ph.D., is adjunct associate professor in New York University's Department of Psychology, Graduate School of Arts and Science, where she teaches courses on adolescence, developmental psychopathology and psychoanalysis. In addition to her research and publications on adolescence and life-span development, her interest in art and music history has led her to her current project on the psycho-biography of the modern European painter and violinist, Hans Reichel. Dr. Browning maintains a private psychotherapy practice in New York City.

About the Series

Relational Perspectives Book Series

The Relational Perspectives Book Series (RPBS) publishes books that grow out of or contribute to the relational tradition in contemporary psychoanalysis. The term relational psychoanalysis was first used by Greenberg and Mitchell (1983) to bridge the traditions of interpersonal relations, as developed within interpersonal psychoanalysis and object relations, as developed within contemporary British theory. But, under the seminal work of the late Stephen Mitchell, the term relational psychoanalysis grew and began to accrue to itself many other influences and developments. Various tributaries—interpersonal psychoanalysis, object relations theory, self psychology, empirical infancy research, and elements of contemporary Freudian and Kleinian thought—flow into this tradition, which understands relational configurations between self and others, both real and fantasied, as the primary subject of psychoanalytic investigation.  

We refer to the relational tradition, rather than to a relational school, to highlight that we are identifying a trend, a tendency within contemporary psychoanalysis, not a more formally organized or coherent school or system of beliefs. Our use of the term relational signifies a dimension of theory and practice that has become salient across the wide spectrum of contemporary psychoanalysis. Now under the editorial supervision of Lewis Aron and Adrienne Harris with the assistance of Associate Editors Steven Kuchuck and Eyal Rozmarin, the Relational Perspectives Book Series originated in 1990 under the editorial eye of the late Stephen A. Mitchell. Mitchell was the most prolific and influential of the originators of the relational tradition. He was committed to dialogue among psychoanalysts and he abhorred the authoritarianism that dictated adherence to a rigid set of beliefs or technical restrictions. He championed open discussion, comparative and integrative approaches, and he promoted new voices across the generations.  

Included in the Relational Perspectives Book Series are authors and works that come from within the relational tradition, extend and develop the tradition, as well as works that critique relational approaches or compare and contrast it with alternative points of view. The series includes our most distinguished senior psychoanalysts along with younger contributors who bring fresh vision.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Developmental / Adolescent
PSYCHOLOGY / Developmental / Child
PSYCHOLOGY / Psychotherapy / Child & Adolescent