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Individual crisis episodes and cultural transition: finding the macrocosm in the microcosm

Individual crisis episodes and cultural transition: finding the macrocosm in the microcosm

Robinson, Oliver ORCID: 0000-0002-6758-2223 and Smith, Jonathan (2008) Individual crisis episodes and cultural transition: finding the macrocosm in the microcosm. In: Fifth International Conference on the Dialogical Self, 26-29 Aug 2008, Queens' College, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK..

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According to dialogical self theory (Hermans, 2001), individual identities reflect cultural and subcultural values, and appropriate voices and discourses from the social environment. Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) systemic theory of human development similarly postulates that individual and social development occur in a symbiotic and interdependent fashion. It would therefore be predicted that individual changes in identity reflect macrocosmic changes in cultural values and social structures. The current study investigated narratives of crisis transitions within adults aged 25-40, by way of interviews with 22 participants. An intensive qualitative analysis showed that the narratives of crisis could indeed be viewed as individual manifestations of contemporary cultural changes.
National statistics and academic research have documented in the UK substantial cultural shifts over the last twenty years including the lessening popularity of marriage, the rise of freelance and portfolio careers and the growth of accepted alternative gender roles. In individual crises, changes made over the course of the episode were invariably in the same direction as these social changes; towards flexible work patterns, non-marital relationships and redefined gender identities. Before the crisis, participants described their identity as bound into an established discourse of conventionality, a traditional sense of masculinity or feminitity and a singular career role, while after the crisis alternative and fluid identities are explored, and identity is less defined by role and institution. These findings show that changes in the social macrocosm can be found in the individual microcosm, and therefore support dialogical self theory.

Item Type: Conference or Conference Paper (Paper)
Additional Information: Ref: Robinson, O 2008, Individual crisis episodes and cultural transition 0143. Abstracts published in the conference book of abstracts. Paper session 19. Online publication.
Uncontrolled Keywords: crisis, transition, self, identity, dialogical, qualitative
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Pre-2014 Departments: School of Health & Social Care
School of Health & Social Care > Department of Psychology & Counselling
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Last Modified: 21 Oct 2020 08:30

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