Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950565 | Print ISBN: 9780761928201 | Online ISBN: 9781412950565| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Identity lies behind the answer one gives to the questions, “Who are you? What do you like doing? What do you value?” and “Whom do you love?” Identity enables one to move with direction in life, and identity gives meaning to one's existence as one interacts with the surrounding context. Subjectively, identity is a feeling of being “at home” in one's self, and a feeling of personal endurance across time and space. Identity is also a structural configuration, enabling one to synthesize important identifications from childhood and integrate them into a framework for interpreting one's life experiences that is uniquely one's own. Identity is a behavior, evidenced by the ability to make commitments to certain vocations, leisure pursuits, relationships, beliefs, and values within the social surrounds. Identity can be an act of enormous creativity. As a concept, “identity” was first used by psychoanalyst Erik Erikson (1963) to describe an entity ...