Understanding Identity Change: Conditions, Context, Concepts

  • Jennifer Todd
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Compromise after Conflict book series (PSCAC)


This chapter outlines the theoretical focus of the book and what it contributes to the sociological analysis of group boundaries and identities and to the political science study of ethno-national conflict. It maps the conceptual space for this research as an alternative to conventional categorical approaches to identity change. It explores the role of meaning, value and everyday agency in ethnic division, nationalist movements and identity processes, problematizing the relation between micro-individual, meso-group and macro-social levels. It makes precise and operationalizes the concepts of ethnic division and identity change for empirical and comparative research, showing distinct aspects of individual identity change (synchronic identity innovation, diachronic directional change and wider social outcomes) which need different methods of analysis and measures.


Collective and personal identity Meaning-making Paradoxes of identity change Social and symbolic boundaries Conflict Consociationalism Ethnic division Nationalism Ethical life Cultural sociology Diachronic and synchronic measures of identity change 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer Todd
    • 1
  1. 1.Geary InstituteUniversity College DublinDublinIreland

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