Identity theory grows out of structural symbolic interaction (Stryker [1980] 2002). Two features that are particularly important in structural symbolic interaction are society and self. Society is viewed as a stable and orderly structure as reflected in the patterned behavior within and between social actors. When we look at the patterned behavior across social actors and see how these patterns fit with the patterns of other social actors, we find larger interindividual patterns that constitute the core of social structure. While actors are creating social structure, they are also receiving feedback from the social structure that influences their behavior. In this way, actors are always embedded in the very social structure that they are simultaneously creating.


Identity Theory Identity Discrepancy Role Identity Identity Verification Identity Standard 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan E. Stets
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of CaliforniaRiverside

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