Bamberg, M., Demuth, C., & Watzlawik, M. (Hrsg.). (2021). The Cambridge Handbook of Identity. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Michael Bamberg, Carolin Demuth & Meike Watzlawik

While ‚identity‘ is a key concept in psychology and the social sciences, researchers have used and understood this concept in diverse and often contradictory ways. The Cambridge Handbook of Identity presents the lively, multidisciplinary field of identity research as working around three central themes:

  • difference and sameness between people;
  • (ii) people’s agency in the world; and
  • (iii) how identities can change or remain stable over time.

The chapters in this collection explore approaches behind these themes, followed by a close look at their methodological implications, while examples from a number of applied domains demonstrate how identity research follows concrete analytical procedures. Featuring an international team of contributors who enrich psychological research with historical, cultural, and political perspectives, the handbook also explores contemporary issues of identity politics, diversity, intersectionality, and inclusion. It is an essential resource for all scholars and students working on identity theory and research.

Reviews from around the world:

“This handbook represents an important milestone in advancing an interdisciplinary understanding of identity. The chapters offer an accessible understanding of how people across cultures form an identity, how identity remains constant or changes over time, and how societal discourses shape subjectivity. This remarkable volume introduces a diverse array of perspectives, articulating the conceptual and methodological challenges facing identity studies.”

Sunil Bhatia, Professor of Human Development and Chair of the Human Development Department, Connecticut College, USA

“At last, we have a resource that weaves together the rich and varied strands of a topic long central to the social sciences and beyond. My gratitude to the editors for a tapestry that captures both the intellect and the imagination.”

Kenneth J. Gergen, author of Relational Being: Beyond Self and Community

“The modern history of identity is the history of an open question. As societies have become more intricate and multi-voiced, so have the ‘who am I?’ questions of their members – turning into never-ending explorations. This volume impressively takes stock of them, drawing on the state of the art in psychology and the social sciences.”

Jens Brockmeier, Professor of Psychology, The American University of Paris, France

“As interest in the study of identity has steadily blossomed, this handbook comes at the perfect time. The chapters, written by an impressive roster of international scholars from many disciplines, are creative and expansive in scope, providing both comprehensive overviews and new insights. It is sure to be an essential resource for years to come.”

Deborah Tannen, University Professor and Professor of Linguistics, Georgetown University, USA

 “This extremely well-written and superbly edited book is a collection of international contributions that offer new insights into identity research from multiple disciplines. Its novel approach conceptualises identity as a fluid process that continues to develop. A brilliant contribution.”

Paul M. Camic, Professor of Health Psychology, University College London, UK

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