Psychosocial and Social Constructionist

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"Identity can be understood as our own theory of ourselves, created from many sources" (Phoenix, 2007, p.47). This essay will be looking at identity using the psychosocial and the social constructionist theories and defining the contributions they have made in advancing our knowledge of identity.ü

The psychosocial theory was devised by Erik Erikson, a German psychoanalyst, through biographies of famous people, clinical and naturalistic observations, as well as his own history (Erikson, 1959 cited in Phoenix, 2007). Same paragraph-common theme

Erikson believed that there is a core identity, which is determined by the interaction between mind (psychological), body (genetic programming) and the social environment (shaped by culture and the times lived in). He also believed that people need to be viewed consistently over time and that their identity needs them to conform to a group’s ideals.

There are eight stages of identity development, which start at birth and continue until late adulthood. Identity is considered a state that people need to achieve. At each stage the individual engages in is a psychosocial crisis. "What the child acquires at a given stage is a certain ratio between the positive and negative, which if the balance is toward the positive, will help him to meet later crises with a better chance for unimpaired total development" (Erikson, 1959 cited in Phoenix, 2007). Same paragraph-common theme

Identity is therefore, in a perpetual process of development involving “a progressive resolution of … normative crises between individual needs and social demands …” (Phoenix, 2007, p.53).ü Same paragraph-common theme Adolescents, the fifth stage, is crucial in identity development, during which the task is to achieve ego identity (knowing who and what one is and ones place in society) and avoid role diffusion (not finding a secure ego identity). During adolescents is when identity crisis, shaped by the social environment, emerges and is the time...
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