Identity Formation, Youth, and Development

A Simplified Approach



James E. Cote, Charles Levine

ISBN : 9781848726741 (Paperback) 9781848726734 (Hardback)

Psychology Press – 2016


The concept of identity is one of the most important ideas the social sciences have investigated in recent years, yet no introductory textbooks are available to those who want to gain a sense of this burgeoning field. The first of its kind, this text provides an introduction to the scientific study of identity formation, with a focus on youth development. The analyses of the problems and prospects faced by contemporary young people in forming identities are placed in the context of societies that themselves are in transition, further complicating identity formation and the interrelated processes of self development and moral-ethical reasoning.In order to sort through what is now a vast literature on the various aspects of human identity, this book introduces the Simplified Identity Formation Theory.  cover Coté
This theory cuts through much of the academic jargon that limits the accessibility of this promising field, and builds an understanding of human identity from first principles. Part I outlines the philosophical and theoretical roots of the “identity question,” explores different historical and cultural contexts, and provides a framework for studying the multifaceted nature of contemporary identity formation. Part II examines related forms of human development, focusing on perspective-taking and moral reasoning, and how these are related to ethics and forms of agency. Part III completes the book by examining the scientific evidence concerning identity formation in various societal contexts, along with the interventions that can be undertaken to foster optimal development. A robust website also accompanies this text, containing everything from flashcards to a study guide for students, and an instructor manual to PowerPoint Presentations for instructors.
James E. Côté is a Professor of Sociology at The University of Western Ontario. He is the founding editor of Identity: An International Journal of Theory and Research, Associate Editor of the Journal of Adolescence, and the author or co-author of nine other books.

Charles G. Levine is an Associate Professor of Sociology at The University of Western Ontario. He has co-authored several articles and a book with Lawrence Kohlberg, Moral Stages: A Current Formulation and a Response to Critics.



Part I: Philosophical and Conceptual Roots of the Identity Question 1. From Ageless Questions to Current Theories 2. Culture and History: How Current Experiences Differ From the Past 3. A Social Psychology of Identities and Their Formation Part II: Late-Modernity: Contextual Adaptations to Individualization Processes 4. Moral Reasoning: A Relational Basis of Individualized Identities 5. Proactivity: Agency in Identity Formation 6. Identity Capital: Strategic Adaptions to Late-Modern Societies Part III: The Transition to Adulthood: Developmental Contextualism Applied to Late-Modernity 7. Current Scientific Approaches to Self Development and Identity Formation 8. Contexts of Identity Formation in Late-Modern Societies 9. Identity Formation and the Potentials of Human Development


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