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The purpose of this chapter is to review the historical development of identity theory from 1988 to the present, and then outline some thoughts about future directions for the theory.
The chapter discusses major advances in identity theory over the past 25 years such as the incorporation of the perceptual control system into the theory, the introduction of “resources” in which symbolic and sign meanings are important, new views of the social structure, the relevance of the situation in influencing the identity process, the idea of different bases of identities, broadening our understanding of multiple identities, studying identity change, and bringing in emotions into the theory.
Throughout the review, empirical work is identified and briefly discussed that supports the major advances of the theory.
The chapter suggests a number of ways that identity theory may be developed in the future such as examining negative or stigmatized identities. Additionally, there is a discussion as to ways in which the theory may be tied to other theoretical traditions such as affect control theory, exchange theory, and social identity theory.
Identity theory has had a number of applications to various areas in society, including understanding crime, education, race/ethnicity, gender, the family, and the environment.
Originality/Value of Chapter
This is the most recent overview of identity theory over the past 25 years. It becomes clear to the reader that the theory offers a way of understanding the person as a cognitive, emotional, and behavioral agent who influences the structure of society but who is also influenced by the social structure.
In this chapter, we advance an understanding of identity theory (IT) as originally created by Sheldon Stryker and developed over the past 50 years. We address…
In this chapter, we advance an understanding of identity theory (IT) as originally created by Sheldon Stryker and developed over the past 50 years. We address misunderstandings of IT concepts and connections. We provide definitions of key ideas in IT, propositions that identify important relationships, and scope conditions that outline the circumstances to which IT applies. Our goal is to provide scholars with an accurate view of IT so that it can continue to advance the science of human behavior in sociology and beyond.
Identity control theory has long posited that there are positive emotional consequences to identity verification and negative emotional consequences to the lack of identity verification. While some of the positive consequences of identity verification have been discussed, little work has been done to elaborate the variety of negative emotions that result for a discrepancy between meanings held in the identity standard and meanings perceived in the situation. This paper elaborates the nature of this discrepancy and hypothesizes the variety of negative emotions that arise depending upon the source of the discrepancy, the source of the identity standard, and the relative power and status of the actor and others in the situation. In this way, the emotional consequences of identity non-verification are shown to depend upon the context of the social structure in which the non-verification occurs.
Identity verification is the ongoing process of controlling perceptions of self-relevant meanings in a situation so that they correspond to the meanings held in the identity standard that defines who one is in the situation. Identity control theory posits that when a disturbance to this process occurs leading to a lack of such correspondence, a person’s identities are not verified. As a result, they engage in behavior that serves to counteract the disturbance and change meanings and resources in the situation so that one’s reflected appraisals or perceived self-relevant meanings once again match the meanings held in one’s identity standard (Burke, 1991, 1996; Stets & Burke, 1996, 2003). Accompanying this cognitive-behavioral process, there is an affective response to the discrepancy between perceptions and standard (Burke, 1991, 1996). Prior work has shown that when the discrepancy is large or is increasing, negative emotions result; and, when the discrepancy is small or decreasing, positive affect results (Burke & Stets, 1999; Cast & Burke, 2002; Ellestad & Stets, 1998; Stets, 2003; Stets & Tsushima, 2001).
In this paper, the authors situate existing scholarship about men in nursing within the broader gendered landscape of the profession and society. As a consequence, the…
In this paper, the authors situate existing scholarship about men in nursing within the broader gendered landscape of the profession and society. As a consequence, the need to reframe the discourse about men in nursing from the current emphasis on personal or collective experiences to collective action becomes apparent. The paper aims to discuss these issues.
A critical synthesis of scholarship addressing men in nursing serves as the basis for a conceptual paper which challenges the existing discourse on men in nursing.
The experiences and careers of men in nursing are profoundly shaped by patriarchal power structures that situate caregiving within the realm of the feminine. Although men generally benefit in the context of patriarchal society, men in nursing are subject to a patriarchal paradox that marginalizes their performance of masculinity and situates them as unlikely caregivers. Therefore, men in nursing are preoccupied with balancing the contradictions and tensions in their lives associated with enacting a contextual performance of masculinity depending on the social context of their gender performance.
A comprehensive synthesis of the existing men in nursing literature is presented and these findings are situated within a broader discussion of gender in nursing and society. This analysis provides the impetus for a “call to action” for nursing to comprehensively and meaningfully address the negative consequences of patriarchal forces on the profession of nursing.
The Soweto revolt of 1976 was mounted by black students in South Africa mobilized under the banner of the Black Consciousness (BC) ideology. However, when thousands of…
The Soweto revolt of 1976 was mounted by black students in South Africa mobilized under the banner of the Black Consciousness (BC) ideology. However, when thousands of these youths were driven into exile by state repression, they joined the African National Congress (ANC) or its military wing. When hundreds of them returned as guerrillas after 1978, some were arrested and tried, while others were involved in spectacular shootouts with the police. The resulting press coverage began to revive ANC ideology in popular consciousness. With further publicity in 1980 from a Free Mandela campaign, and from luridly successful sabotage attacks, popular support for the ANC soared, shaping political events for the rest of the decade. The only other noteworthy tendency among blacks was the Zulu‐based Inkatha movement led by Chief Gatsha Buthelezi, whose support among young people was slight because of his hostile stance to both BC and the ANC.
Of contemporary interest in the sociology of emotions and social psychology of self is the question of the reciprocal relation of affect or emotion and self. This question is pursued by asking how affect or emotion impacts the identity theory variables of commitment, identity salience, and role performance as well as by asking how these identity theory variables impact persons’ affective responses. Brief reviews of the general literatures on emotion, the symbolic interactionist literature (from which theoretical frame identity theory derives) on emotion, identity theory itself, and characteristics of social sentiments and emotional outbursts allows the development of expectations about the interrelation of sentiments and emotional outbursts and identity theoretic variables.