chapter  10
Work, identity and love
Pages 24

We finished the last chapter on the theme of how an adolescent’s peers seem to change in his mind from people to be like or, in other words, to identify with, to people to be with or with whom to cooperate. It was suggested that this sets the scene for the next stage in development, which is to move into adult modes of relationships with other people and to engage creatively with the world. Let us now turn to discovering and establishing oneself in the adult world through work and love. In France, Raymond Cahn (1998) uses the word ‘subjectivation’, which has been translated into English as ‘becoming a subject’, to try to capture this process of emergence from adolescence into young adulthood. By this he means that, in engaging with the external world, individuals can gather up their internal world of feeling and belief and incorporate it into their sense of themselves. Thus, a subjective sense of being (or an identity) emerges, which enables the individual (or subject) to stand, as it were, with a foot in both the internal and external worlds without one predominating over the other.