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Navigating Multiple IdentitiesRace, Gender, Culture, Nationality, and Roles$
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Ruthellen Josselson and Michele Harway

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199732074

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199732074.001.0001

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Multiple Identities and Their Organization

Multiple Identities and Their Organization

(p.13) 2 Multiple Identities and Their Organization
Navigating Multiple Identities

Gary S. Gregg

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines historical and current theories of the multiplicity of identity, and in addition to McAdams’ story-structure model and Hermans and Kempen’s dialogical model, it outlines a “structuralist” or “generative” theory. Based on life narratives elicited from young adult Americans and Moroccans, the “generative” model emphasizes the crucial role played by structurally ambiguous key symbols and metaphors in integrating multiple self-representations, and in facilitating shifts between them via figure/ground-like reversals in their meanings and in the affects that the features highlighted as “foreground” elicit. This model resembles Dennet’s (1991) “multiple drafts” theory of consciousness and Schenker’s (1954) and Lehrdahl and Jackendoff’s (1983) “layered” theories of music cognition, and it is hypothesized that self-representation employs cognitive processes and structures that strongly resemble those that organize tonal music. Specifically, it hypothesizes that “octave-like relations” among key symbols serve as the elementary units of self-representation, as they define the scale-like structures within which self-relevant meaning becomes possible.

Keywords:   identity, personality, self, narrative, life history, culture, music cognition, metaphor

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