Fluid Identity

Sweat, J. & Bahr, P. R. (2006, Aug). Instability or flexibility?: Testing competing theories of the effect of identity fluidity on well-being. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, Montreal Convention Center, Montreal, Quebec, Canada Online. Retrieved 2006-10-05 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p105080_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: Conventional psychological theories of identity formation argue that normal developmental processes result in a consolidated, stable, core identity. Instability or confusion with respect to one's identity is thought to have a detrimental effect on emotional well-being. In contrast, constuctionist theories of identity, including symbolic interactionism and postmodernism, argue that, in recent decades, there has been a dramatic and sustained shift away from fixed, stable self-concepts and toward more fluid, fragmented ones. These theories argue that flexible identities are better adapted to the institutional instability, the rapid social change, and the evolving nature of social relations that characterize contemporary society. It follows that individuals who have more fluid identities will have higher levels of emotional well-being than individuals who have more stable identities.