Future Direction of Identity Research in a Context of Political Struggle: A Critical Appraisal of Erikson

Charl Alberts, Kevin Durrheim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Identity research has become a prominent field of study in the social sciences, but the conceptualization and measurement of the construct of identity remains contested. Although Erikson’s theoretical work has been extremely influential in directing theory and research over the past 50 years, the theory has elicited a variety of criticisms. In this article, we critically reflect on the application of Erikson’s theory in contexts of social and political struggle. We engage with Eriksonian theory in terms of the debate regarding the relationship between society and the individual. We develop a view of identities as historically contingent contextual discursive performances. Empirical material from two South African studies is presented to illustrate our argument about how the sociopolitical context of struggle and threat shapes and structures the identity aspirations and decisions of young people.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-305
Number of pages11
JournalIdentity
Volume18
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Identity; Erikson; discursive; political struggle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Future Direction of Identity Research in a Context of Political Struggle: A Critical Appraisal of Erikson'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this