chapter  10
Personal Persistence and Personal Projects: Creating Personal and Cultural Continuity
ByMonika Brandstätter, Christopher E. Lalonde
Pages 28

The overall goal of our contribution to this volume—our own personal project—is to showcase the ways in which personal projects analysis can be used to explore variation in the construction and understanding of the meaning of self. More than that, we mean to use personal projects analysis as a vehicle for examining this variation across both individuals and whole cultures. We realize, of course, that studies of self and culture are contentious within the social sciences. We recognize, too, that announcing our plan to link the personal and the cultural in the pages that follow amounts to uttering what some would consider fighting words. However, the kernel idea that we offer up as away of avoiding fisticuffs, is this: Professional and cultural differences aside, in our everyday experience, both selves and cultures are commonly understood to both change and yet remain the same. That is, whatever else divides us, we routinely experience ourselves and others as temporally stable or continuous, yet we also expect people to change—and often strive to bring about change in ourselves and others. 272In much the same fashion, we understand that cultures must change and yet, if they are to survive pressures of assimilation, or colonization, or conquest, must somehow remain “the same.” Some hope for resolving this apparent paradox of sameness and change—and of bridging the gulf between studies of individual persons and of entire cultures—can be found, we argue, in notions of personal and cultural continuity that are capable of preserving identity (both personal identity and cultural identity) across time and through change.