Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: June 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963978 | Print ISBN: 9781412909280 | Online ISBN: 9781412963978| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Angela D. Ferguson
The concept of identity has been defined as an internalized psychic system that integrates an individual's inner self and the outer social world into a congruent whole. The integration of a personal self and social outer world has been viewed as a developmental process and one that, according to Erik Erikson, requires the individual to synthesize fragments of childhood identifications into a single structure during late adolescence and early adulthood. Identity formation has long been viewed in this way; however, the notion that individuals synthesize fragments of childhood identifications into a single structure during adolescence may no longer be an adequate model in which to fully understand the development of identity. Many researchers and theorists now contend that traditional theories of identity development do not fully explain the development of an individual's group or social identity such as gender, ethnicity, class, and sexual orientation. A prominent criticism of foundational theories ...