<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

…could be said to be characterized by the more or less actually attained but forever-to-be-revised sense of the reality of the self within social reality; while the imagery of the ego ideal could be said to represent a set of to-be-strived-for but forever-not-quite-attainable ideal goals for the self. (pg. 160; Erikson, 1980a)

Negative identity is often expressed as an angry and snobbish rejection of the roles expected by one’s family, community, or even society. It is a profound reaction to the loss of identity that typically arises when identity development has lost the promise of wholeness that one expects to obtain from their identity. The consequences can be severe, for both individuals and groups of young people. Erikson worked with young people who were beginning to make choices in life that could easily lead them toward their vindictive fantasies of becoming prostitutes or drug addicts (an extreme way of rebelling against their parents). As such disturbed young people gather together, they can form gangs, drug rings, sex clubs, and the like (Erikson, 1968b, 1980a). Society, according to Erikson, often makes the mistake of enhancing this maladaptive behavior:

If, for simplicity’s sake or in order to accommodate ingrown habits of law or psychiatry, they diagnose and treat as a criminal, as a constitutional misfit, as a derelict doomed by his upbringing, or indeed as a deranged patient a young person who, for reasons of personal or social marginality, is close to choosing a negative identity, that young person may well put his energy into becoming exactly what the careless and fearful community expects him to be - and make a total job of it. (pg. 196; Erikson, 1968b)

Erikson believed that women and minorities (indeed, oppressed people in any situation) face special problems in the formation of their identity. Erikson considered men and women to be fundamentally different, but more importantly, he believed that only women could ensure the future of humanity. According to Erikson, men try to solve problems with “bigger and better wars.” And now, with the advent of nuclear bombs, men have nearly reached the limit of their ability to destroy each other. The future, therefore, requires the feminine aspects of personality, including realistically caring for the home, responsibly raising the children, being resourceful in peacekeeping, and devotion to healing:

The question arises whether such a potential for annihilation as now exists in the world should continue to exist without the representation of the mothers of the species in the councils of image-making and decision. (pg. 261; Erikson, 1968b)

For Blacks in America, the identity crisis has been one of being separated from their African heritage, and yet also separated from the White American heritage that surrounds them. Erikson recounts both clinical examples and folklore that emphasize the value placed on being White by Blacks themselves (Erikson, 1950, 1964, 1968, 1980a). The result is often psychological distress and depression, such as that seen in the classic study by Kenneth and Mamie Clark, in which Black children considered identification with their race as bad. Using Black and White dolls, some of the young Black children actually cried when asked to point to the doll they looked most like (Clark&Clark, 1947). Perhaps the most dramatic example of Erikson’s theory in action occurred during the 1960s. Disenfranchised Blacks adopted a negative identity and opposed many aspects of the American society that had oppressed Black’s for so long (Note: Negative identity is used here only as Erikson’s term, not to imply that the fight for racial equality was, in any way, something negative). With Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam, and Huey Newton and the Black Panthers, some young Black men opposed both the Christianity and the Democracy that formed so much of the American national identity. Those who did not, found themselves at odds with their own people, as we will see with Brian Copeland, author of Not a Genuine Black Man (see Chapter 16; Copeland, 2006). It should be noted, however, that the seemingly contradictory perspective of rejecting a society that gives one the very right to oppose it is not alien to the African psyche:

Questions & Answers

where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
Privacy Information Security Software Version 1.1a
Got questions? Join the online conversation and get instant answers!
Jobilize.com Reply

Get the best Algebra and trigonometry course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, Personality theory in a cultural context. OpenStax CNX. Nov 04, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11901/1.1
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Personality theory in a cultural context' conversation and receive update notifications?