The concept of identity is one of the most important ideas the social sciences have investigated in recent years, yet no introductory textbooks are available to those who want to gain a sense of this burgeoning field. The first of its kind, this text provides an introduction to the scientific study of identity formation, with a focus on youth development. The analyses of the problems and prospects faced by contemporary young people in forming identities are placed in the context of societies that themselves are in transition, further complicating identity formation and the interrelated processes of self development and moral-ethical reasoning.
In order to sort through what is now a vast literature on the various aspects of human identity, this book introduces the Simplified Identity Formation Theory. This theory cuts through much of the academic jargon that limits the accessibility of this promising field, and builds an understanding of human identity from first principles.
This book is optimized for students and instructors, featuring several useful pedagogical tools and a robust series of online resources:
Primer format: the text synthesizes the vast and disparate literature that has characterized the field of Identity Studies, with a focus on identity formation during the transition to adulthood; theory and research is discussed in plain, non-technical language, using the author’s new Simplified Identity Formation Theory.
In-text pedagogy: to enhance student engagement, box insert and in-text examples from current events, popular culture, and social media are incorporated throughout the text; key terms are in bold in each chapter and combined in a glossary at the end of the text.
Online resources for instructors: A robust set of resources that, when combined with the text, provides a complete blueprint for designing an identity course; resources include PowerPoint Presentations, test bank, sample syllabi, and instructor manuals for both face-to-face and online courses that include weekly written assignment questions and discussion-forum questions along with essay topic ideas and grading rubrics.
Online resources for students: a student manual, flashcards, practice quizzes, and exercises with video links.
Table of Contents
Part I: Philosophical and Conceptual Roots of the Identity Question 1. From Ageless Questions to Current Theories 2. Culture and History: How Current Experiences Differ From the Past 3. A Social Psychology of Identities and Their Formation Part II: Late-Modernity: Contextual Adaptations to Individualization Processes 4. Moral Reasoning: A Relational Basis of Individualized Identities 5. Proactivity: Agency in Identity Formation 6. Identity Capital: Strategic Adaptions to Late-Modern Societies Part III: The Transition to Adulthood: Developmental Contextualism Applied to Late-Modernity 7. Current Scientific Approaches to Self Development and Identity Formation 8. Contexts of Identity Formation in Late-Modern Societies 9. Identity Formation and the Potentials of Human Development
James E. Côté is a Professor of Sociology at The University of Western Ontario. He is the founding editor of Identity: An International Journal of Theory and Research, Associate Editor of the Journal of Adolescence, and the author or co-author of nine other books.
Charles G. Levine is an Associate Professor of Sociology at The University of Western Ontario. He has co-authored several articles and a book with Lawrence Kohlberg, Moral Stages: A Current Formulation and a Response to Critics.
'Côté and Levine adeptly manage to place the field of identity theory and research into a psychosocial historical context that gives the reader new insights into the developmental task of identity formation, in a manner that is accessible to all.' – Steven L. Berman, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Psychology Department, University of Central Florida and President, Society for Research on Identity Formation, US
Identity is the integrating principle that makes sense of human existence but its study has tended to be fragmented and incomplete. Côté and Levine make a major breakthrough with their holistic view of human development in which identity and identity capital have a central place. – John Bynner, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor, Institute of Education, University College London, UK
'Professors Côté and Levine provide a masterfully erudite, creative, and singularly important integration of the multidisciplinary roots of the concept of identity, and offer a new and significant frame for future research through their Simplified Identity Formation Theory (SIFT). This is an invaluable book that is destined to become required reading for all scholars and students seeking to understand, and to advance knowledge about, identity development among youth.' – Richard M. Lerner, Ph.D., Bergstrom Chair in Applied Developmental Science and Director, Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development, Tufts University, US
'Côté and Levine are at their best when they describe identity issues in the college years and in the transition to career from college. An audience of undergraduates, themselves worried about what will come of themselves, feeling both uncertain and guilty at failing to do as well as they should have, will much appreciate the parts of the book that let them know that they are not alone.' – Daphna Oyserman, Ph.D., Dean's Professor of Psychology, University of Southern California, US
'This book integrates multiple perspectives on identity development with the sociological and psychological study of youth, and frames identity within the constraints of social and historical contexts. The emphasis on the interplay of agency and structure is extremely valuable, especially within a cross-cultural lens. Côté and Levine provide a roadmap for studying identity within the complex modern world.' – Seth J. Schwartz, Ph.D., Professor of Public Health Sciences, Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami and President-Elect, Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood, US