chapter  2
26 Pages

Psychosocial Identity and Adolescents’ Educational Decision Making: Is There a Connection?

The question addressed in this chapter is whether it is necessary to refer to individuals’ psychosocial identity to explain the educational decisions they make. The notion of identity, as a construct designed to explain the self and, hence, human beliefs and action, has a long, distinguished, and controversial history. Controversial because, within the social sciences, there has been at least one competing tradition1 that has claimed that human beliefs and action can be explained largely by the notion of in­ strumental rationality; this tradition argues that psychosocial explanations of the kind that refer to identity are, at best, only to be employed in patho­ logical cases where instrumental reasoning has failed and are, at worst, redundant.