Integrating “Internal,” “Interactional,” and “External” Perspectives: Identity Process as the Formulation of Accountable Claims Regarding Selves

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    This chapter presents a preliminary theoretical framework broadly integrating discursive-interactional and ego-identity perspectives. Identity process is conceptualized as involving discursive claims made about selves, geared toward eliciting affirmation for pragmatic use and formulated to be accountable. Claiming processes can take place internally (reflexively in thought); interactionally (in talk); and externally (between others). Based on Mead and Vygotsky, internal identity processes are described as emergent from and modeled after interactional identity processes, yet they operate somewhat autonomously and develop across the lifespan. Characterizing identity processes as claims made to be affirmed can alert researchers to the diverse criteria employed by participants in multiple, often overlapping contexts in the evaluation of self-made and interactionally performed claims, the result of which feed into subsequent iterations of identity formation. The chapter shows how such a perspective is consonant with classical Eriksonian theory. A brief empirical vignette is described and analyzed to demonstrate this approach.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Identity Development
    EditorsKate C. McLean, Moin Syed
    Place of PublicationOxford, UK
    PublisherOxford University Press
    Number of pages18
    ISBN (Electronic)9780199936564
    ISBN (Print)019998381X
    StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015


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