Identity: cultural change and the struggle for self

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Oxford University Press, Incorporated, 1986 - Psychology - 280 pages
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What do we mean by "having an identity"? How has the process of establishing a personal identity changed over recent centuries? Is creating an identity harder today than in medieval times? Professor Baumeister explores these and other questions central to the understanding of the human personality and of deep personal concern to any individual. Drawing on a wealth of historical, cultural, literary, and philosophical evidence, the author describes the evolution of identity in the west over recent centuries--from the relatively simple and passive achievement of identity in feudal times to the more complex and uncertain process by which modern men and women must choose their identity. Out of this account and contemporary psychological research, the author delineates a theory of the nature and structure of identity. Along the way the reader is treated to fascinating discussions of how brainwashing works, how children learn who they are, the different kinds of identity crises, when and why the concept of a private or "hidden" self emerged, and how our view of love has changed from mild insanity to an ideal of fulfillment. Identity will be of interest to social, personality, and development psychologists, and their students. General readers will also find this book both stimulating and accessible.

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Basic Conceptual Issues
Medieval and Early Modern History of Identity

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About the author (1986)

Roy F. Baumeister is the Eppes Eminent Professor of Psychology and head of the social psychology graduate program at Florida State University. He received his Ph.D. in social psychology from Princeton in 1978 and did a postdoctoral fellowship in sociology at the University of California at Berkeley. Baumeister has worked at Case Western Reserve University, as well as the University of Texas, University of Virginia, Max-Planck-Institute, and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. Baumeister's has received research grants from the National Institutes of Health and from the Templeton Foundation. His research spans the areas of self and identity, self-regulation, interpersonal rejection and the need to belong, sexuality and gender, aggression, self-esteem, meaning, and self-presentation. He is the author of nearly 400 publications. His books include Evil: Inside Human Violence and Cruelty , The Cultural Animal , Meanings of Life and Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength.

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