By Whose Measures? Identity Theory and the Perestroika Generation
Lauchlan, Caitlin B.
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Numerous developmental psychologists have spoken of adolescence as a period of radical change. For the majority, there is an understanding of it as a central time in self-formation. Identity formation, the development of a sense of self, and building of a set of personal values and beliefs as one makes the transition out of childhood are major undertakings during this period. Under the best of circumstances adolescence has the potential to be stressful and confusing. So what happens when this internal tumult is combined with a shifting cultural base? How do adolescents define themselves when the beliefs they have grown up with are disintegrating? And how do they carry the self that is formed during this stage into their adult life? These are key questions to address as we speculate about the future of Russia, since the Perestroika generation will determine the country's path over the next years. According to developmental theory, the future looks bleak. But is this an accurate means of assessment? A glimpse into the lives of ten young Russian adults allows for an exploration of some of the effects of stress and transition, as well as an examination of the applicability of identity theory. Concrete answers to questions of the future are impossible. However, the experiences of the individuals interviewed begin to give voice to a generation, providing insight into the effects of the transitions from a first-hand perspective.