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date: 15 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the contributions in this handbook and the field as a whole from a critical, catholic point of view. This broad and discerning perspective sees the field of identity studies as including various social sciences and the concept of identity as multidimensional, varying by level of analysis, manifestation, and interacting with other phenomena. Although a number of chapters in this volume also recognize this broad nature of the field and that no one perspective “owns” the identity concept, some chapters take a more parochial view of “identity.” Given that the social scientific study of identity is past the half-century mark, the author argues that the time has come when such parochial perspectives are no longer sustainable. If the identity studies field is to grow beyond its current state of terminological and conceptual confusion, empirical and theoretical rapprochements are necessary among the various disciplines studying of the diverse subject matter of this promising field.

Keywords: Identity formation, identity maintenance, taxonomy, perspectives, bias, epistemological divide, development vs. socialization

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