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Stages of Identity Development

Doing some research for my last paper in the class, “Theological Dimensions of Pastoral Care”. It has something to do with identity and the violence that occurs at incongruent negotiations of multiple cultures. Pretty ambitious for a mere paper, but what can I say, I’m a mere hack, an intellectual poser.

From the book on the left, I found a passage that was very interesting that mentions five stages of identity formation. And I have to say, with all my switching between micro- and macro- thinking as easily as one switches lenses of a microscope, I wonder if this identity formation applies to our generation as much as it works for the individual. So here’s a passage from page 54. What do you think? And furthermore, what stage do you identify in? And even furthermore, do you think the Asian models of church and community in America tends to limit or preserve the individual or the group in a particular stage?

It is generally believed that identity development is completed by the end of adolescence, but it is probably clearer to say that core identity is completed by then, because our sef-concept can change significatnly over time, as the “racial/cultural identity development model” appears to confirm….

The first stage is the conformity stage, during which peopel are generally self-depreciating with regards to self and group, discriminatory toward other  minority groups, and positive toward the dominant group.

In the second, dissonance stage, in each of these areas there is a conflict between an appreciating and a depreciating attitude.

In the resistance and immersion stage, the attitude toward self and group is positive and the attitude toward the dominant group is negative. In addition, the person struggles to decide whether to appreciate other minority groups or not.

In the fourth introspection stage, the person retains a positive view of the group but also wishes to take distance and assert individuality.

In the final integrative awareness sage, the person can appreciate self and all groups, although the person selectively appreciates certain subgroups of the dominant cultural group.


About David Park

Christian 2nd-generation Korean American; Atlanta Georgia; more details to come.

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