Research in Higher Education

, Volume 45, Issue 5, pp 463–496 | Cite as

Forming Identities in College: A Sociological Approach

  • Peter Kaufman
  • Kenneth A. Feldman


Using data from 82 in-depth interviews with a randomly selected sample of college students, we explore how these students are forming felt identities in the following domains: intelligence and knowledgeability, occupation, and cosmopolitanism. We study the formation of students' identities by considering college an arena of social interaction in which the individual comes in contact with a multitude of actors in various settings, emphasizing that through these social interactions the identities of individuals are, in part, constituted. In using a symbolic interactionist approach in our research in conjunction with consideration of the social structural location of colleges in the wider society, we demonstrate the sorts of information and insights that can be gained from a nondevelopmental approach to the study of college student change.

identity college effects college environment peer influence 


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Kaufman
    • 1
  • Kenneth A. Feldman
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of SociologyState University of New York at New PaltzNew Paltz
  2. 2.State University of New York at Stony BrookUSA

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