The Autonomy of the Self: Narrative Analysis of Group Affiliation As a Map of the Self
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The self is something intangible and abstract; the only means by which we can come to understand our self and the selves of others is by means of their identities. The identities we chose, their formation and the locations in which the individual is situated is the best way of coming to understand the self. The use of an individual’s self identification with various groups, and their dis-identification with others, can be used as something of a map of their self. Using narrative analysis and interviews structured to look at the social, political, and religious values of the “millennial” generation, research into the self and identity formation of the participants was conducted. Respondents were asked questions concerning the issues they thought most important, their religious and political affiliations. The findings show that individuals do shape their group affiliations in a particular pattern that is unique to them, representing certain underlying individual preferences. The groups they affiliate with and how much the affiliate with them, as well as the groups they dis-affiliate with, can lead to a much better understanding of the individual and their responses and actions in particular circumstances.