chapter  8
36 Pages

A Constructivist View of Identity Development: People as Postpositivist Self-Theorists

The quest for identity is a pervasive theme in contem porary Western so­ ciety. Popular books and movies and professional psychological litera­ ture are replete with concerns and advice about “becoming,” “knowing,” or “discovering” who we are. Coping with and resolving an “ identity crisis” has become increasingly accepted as a legitimate, even necessary, aspect of human development. However, as A1 Waterman (1984a) cor­ rectly noted, despite the common language the task of identity forma­ tion is conceptualized in at least two very different ways. Some see the quest for identity as an attempt to discover a preexistent intrinsic essence (see Waterman, 1984a), whereas others view the quest as an effort to con­ struct a sense of self (see Kroger, 1989).