Identity Formation and Ideological Commitment as Narratively Constructed
Carolan, Kistine A.
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Nine individuals were interviewed in this study concerning their commitment to either religious activity or ecological activity. The research sought to integrate the ideas of Erikson and McAdams with regards to identity formation. In this synthesis, identity was viewed as a psychosocial developmental process that is made coherent through narrative construction. It was hypothesized that ideological commitments to either religious or ecological activity would be integrated into one’s identity both developmentally and narratively in similar fashions between the two groups, despite ideological differences. Narrative elements, such as an ideological setting, nuclear episodes, generativity scripts, and thematic lines were investigated. Interviews were analyzed for their salience of themes regarding these issues. In general, it was found that individuals had previous experience with either ideology in childhood. Adolescence most often proved the period in which individuals sought out commitment to the ideology without influence of outside sources (i.e. parents). Commitment became most involved in the college setting through organizations and other community settings. Individuals from both groups demonstrated examples of nuclear episodes and thematic lines of power and intimacy. Possible ways in which future generativity scripts might be formulated were discussed. Common themes between the groups were isolated and discussed and included 1.) Direction and Intentionality, 2.) Perspective, 3.) Purpose/Meaning, 4.) Community/Relationships.