Identity process theory: Clariications and elaborations

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IPT and the information age It is 26 years (at the time of writing) since the first publication of Coping with Threatened Identities (Breakwell, 1986). Many changes have impacted upon psychology since then. These include: The channels of communicating – the digital revolution has freed research communities to speak to each other with an immediacy and on a scale (e.g. in numbers, geographical spread, or volume of transmission) inconceivable to most – even 20 or more years ago. It may be hard now to remember what it was like before Berners-Lee and Cailliau invented the World Wide Web in 1989, with the Internet being implemented in 1991. With the Internet we truly entered the Information Age. All academic disciplines have been changed as a consequence but perhaps none more so than psychology. Not only has its ways of working been changed but the very subject matter that it can research has been irrevocably altered. The quintessential concern of social psychology – interaction between people – has been transformed. Since the 1980s there has been a vast increase in the number of graduate psychologists – the massive expansion of the psychology-literate community has changed the everyday discourse about psychological questions and has accelerated the demand by policy-makers and practitioners for responsiveness in psychology to immediate societal problems. Agencies that fund research in psychology have increasingly demanded policy-relevance and, in many cases, an interdisciplinary approach (because societal problems are multifaceted and need analyses that span the social, political, economic and technological elements besides their psychological components). The tools available for capturing and recording information have radically changed – ranging from the complex and expensive (such as nuclear magnetic resonance imaging – NMRI) to the merely omnipresent (such as closed circuit television CCTV). These tools make the data accessible to psychology possibly overwhelming in complexity and scale – unless carefully controlled and structured.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIdentity Process Theory
Subtitle of host publicationIdentity, Social Action and Social Change
PublisherCambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781139136983
ISBN (Print)9781107022706
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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