chapter  3
28 Pages

Multiple Group Identities: Differentiation, Conflict, and Integration

Recent writing on identity development in adolescence emphasizes the fact that it is not simply an intrapsychic process, but also an interper­ sonal process, embedded in a social context (Hart, 1988; Josselson, 1988; Noam, 1988). Hogan and Cheek (1983) noted that an authentic identity does not simply mean being autonomous, but rather successfully integrat­ ing both the personal and social aspects of identity. The social context has been most often conceptualized in terms of significant others, primar­ ily parents and friends with whom the adolescent interacts on a daily basis. However, in addition to family and peers, the larger context, such as ethnic group, class, or society, plays an important role in the forma­ tion of identity. Research on identity development has paid relatively little attention to the broader context, a fact that is surprising in view of Erik­ son’s (1968) assertions that the identity process is located “ m the core o f the individual” and yet also “ m the course o f his com m unal culture” (p. 22). Erikson emphasized that we cannot separate personal growth from communal change, noting the importance of “ the interplay between the psychological and the social, the developmental and the historical” (p. 23).