Dynamics Of Personal And Sociocultural Identity In A Transitive Society

Abstract

The article discusses the problem of the dynamics of personal and sociocultural identity in a transitive society. The significant role of the diversity and variability of the contexts of identity development is shown. A feature of the socialization of modern adolescents is the fact that transitivity is perceived by them as a constant context of life. Analysis of the modern socio-cultural situation proves that there are contradictory trends in it, which make it extremely important and urgent to preserve the integrity of identity. The results of an empirical study of the processes of socialization and the formation of the identity of modern adolescents and young people are presented. The materials obtained in studying the structure and content of the identity of modern adolescents revealed parameters that are resistant to the influence of a changing social context. Viability is considered as an important factor ensuring positive socialization in a transitional society. Despite the transitive nature of modern society, most adolescents are well socialized and have a positive self-attitude and identity. Positive self-perception is one of the permanent factors that ensure socialization in transitivity. Great importance also belongs to the family, the importance of a good emotion microclimate in which increases with the growth of transitivity. The obtained data also showed that the leading tendencies in the development of identity are the desire for personalization and differentiation of its content. This tendency is connected, first of all, with the tasks of development on this period of ontogenesis.

Keywords: Identitytransitive societyadolescentshardinessvolatile social contexts

Introduction

The problems of identity formation in a transitive society

The study of identity in a modern transitive society is based on a whole complex of sociocultural changes that become an important context of psychological research. A feature of modern sociocultural situation of identity development is the complexity of the structure of reality and the presence in it of contradictory trends: the globalization and the localization, the stability and the instability, the sustainability and the variability, the diversity and the uncertainty. An important psychological task of the subject in the continuously changing and contextually fragmented world is the preservation of one's identity. The leading role in this process is played by values and factors of culture, and the family plays an increasingly important role in the socialization of modern children and adolescents. It is the family environment that can be considered as a factor of sustainability and existential security in a transitive society.

The cultural influences on the emergence of identity are manifested at three main levels: universal (the humanity, the universal values, a civilizational development); macrosocial (the social groups and the communities, the norms and the values adopted in them); personal (a person, his personal preferences, the personality and the subjectivity). In a transitive society, the balance of personal and sociocultural identity is characterized by lability and instability (Martsinkovskaya, 2015).

The current state of a society is characterized by factors of the transitivity, the instability, the multiculturalism, the fluidity and the multiplicity of development contexts. This situation is ambiguous for the development of identity, because, on the one hand, it is experienced by a person as stress and a life difficulty, and on the other hand, it tears off a field of new opportunities for him. A feature of the socialization of modern children and adolescents is the fact that their development in an unstable and transitive living environment is perceived by them initially as a norm.

In the study of the development of the identity of modern children and adolescents, the processes of the socialization are considered by a number of researchers in unity with the processes of individualization (Belinskaya, 2015; Martsinkovskaya, 2015; Khuzeeva, 2017). The actual direction of research here is the study of the role of global, local and situational contexts in the development of the individual. If before culture in psychology was considered as a factor that affects certain mental processes, today it is the continuous context that accompanies the emergence of the identity of the children and the adolescents, as well as the very basis of the changes in the psyche (Guseltseva, 2018; Poleva, 2017). It is a culture and the positive sociocultural contexts that are the factors of a person's resilience in a changing world.

The resilience as a factor of successful socialization in a transitive society

In the course of studying the characteristics of the socialization of the adolescents, the indicator of their successful socialization was identified, which was defined as the level of the vitality (the hardiness and the resilience according to the test by S. Maddi). The resilience (viability) is a belief system that allows a person to perceive even the negative life events as a useful experience and thereby cope with them (Maddi, 2004, 2005). It includes three components: the involvement (the belief that people find the world interesting only because of their activity), the control (the conviction in the controllability of the world and their ability to achieve results) and accepting the risk (the willingness to act contrary to the uncertainty of the situation and the threat and gain experience from any situations).

Thus, the involvement supports the human activities, broadens the range of his interests and communications. The control and the acceptance of the risk are associated with a person's willingness to work in spite of the difficulties. The willingness to extract experience from existing situations, to act in a situation of uncertainty is called upon to activate consciousness, to cope with the complexity of the inner world. For the most of the contemporary adolescents vitality is a necessary resource, which serves as an instrument of successful adaptation in the stressful situations and is an important resource in a modern transitive society. Thus, vitality is seen as an important resource for the socialization of the adolescents in nowadays transitive and unpredictable world.

Problem Statement

The existence of a modern people reveals a variety of the social contexts and the heterogeneity of his psychological time. An important research issue here is the paradox of the identity: how a person manages to maintain identity and integrity of a person, nevertheless successfully adapt to social changes?

We assume that in the structure and the content of the identity are presented the parameters that are more resistant to the influence of the social contexts. In our study, we refer to the time factor as a significant "agent of influence", and to a lesser extent consider the content characteristics of the sociocultural context of modern Russia. We also assume that there are mechanisms that ensure greater success in the socialization of the adolescents in the current context of the sociocultural context. As such a mechanism, the hardiness (the viability) factor can be considered.

Research Questions

The necessity to understand the factors and determinants of dynamics of the personal and sociocultural identity in a transitive society define the aims of this study. Research tasks included:

  • The identification of volatile and stable parameters of the personal and sociocultural identity.

  • The determination of the level of vitality of the modern adolescents (as a personal resource and a factor contributing to coping / socialization in conditions of transitivity, diverse and contradictory sociocultural dynamics.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to identify stable and variable parameters of personal and sociocultural identity, depending on different social contexts.

It was assumed that:

  • despite the transitive nature of a modern society, most adolescents successfully socialize;

  • in the process of the identity formation, its individual characteristics are stable and independent of the social context, while other characteristics of the sociocultural and personal identity are variable and determined by the temporal and spatial characteristics of the social context.

These assumptions were checked in the course of empirical research of teenager’s and youth’s from Moscow aged 15-16 years.

Participants: 360 teenagers aged from 15 till 17 years;

Research was conducted on base of the several schools of Moscow. The study was conducted in 2013-2018 years. All the participants gave their consent to participate in the study.

Research Methods

The level of viability was studied by S. Maddi's resilience test. Adaptation (Leontiev & Rasskazova, 2006).

The questionnaire “Structure of social identity”;

The questionnaire “Successful Man”;

The questionnaire “Reference groups”.

Findings

The viability as a factor of successful socialization in a transitive society.

Table 1 -
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As the results showed, for the contemporary adolescents resilience is a necessary resource for successful socialisation. At the same time, the average parameters of the involvement and the risk acceptance are higher than the parameters of control (5% of the adolescents have a standard deviation of this indicator of the resilience).

The balance of identities: the predominance of developmental tasks over the social context

It was found that the adolescents have a high degree of the identity differentiation. The adolescents brought up to 11-15 characteristics of their own identity, and this indicator was quite stable. The results showed that the adolescents tend to build and maintain a positive identity, but this indicator shows fluctuations. This is because the nature of the emotional relationship, even when striving to maintain a positive identity, is very sensitive to the social contexts.

The identity of the adolescents is dominated by the personal characteristics (qualities of the person, features of character, etc.). This component, along with the communicative and physical characteristics makes up 75% of all qualities and refers to the individual characteristics of the personality. Materials obtained in our researches showed that building personal identity is the leading task of the adolescence. Therefore, this indicator is stable with respect to the change in the contemporary social context.

In turn, the development of the sociocultural identity is due to the social contexts and their dynamics. Our results show that if in 2015 24% of all self-descriptions of the adolescents were related to the classification of themselves as a particular social group (sex, age, family member, student, etc.), whereas in 2018 this indicator is already 33%. Thus, the social context in the process of formation of the adolescent's identity influences the degree of his self-realization through group affiliation, while the predominance of the personal characteristics in the content of identity the social context is virtually unaffected.

In the responses of the adolescents in 2018, the self-descriptions were more often indicated, indicating that they belonged to gaming communities ("I'm a gamer," "I'm a daughter," "I'm an investor," "I'm a swister," "I'm a kser"), which was not in 2013 and 2015 years. These results indicate that the playing space is an important area for the formation of the identity of modern adolescents. The virtual space is "embedded" in the social space of the adolescent identity, which testifies to the influence of the social context on the formation of the teenager's sociocultural identity.

Table 2 -
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The image of a successful person is more sensitive to changes in the social context

Our materials show that in describing the image of a successful person (regardless of the year of the study) positive characteristics prevailed (90-98%).

Figure 1: The substantial characteristics of the image of a successful person in the adolescents [1. Personal characteristics 2. Access to social groups 3. Humanistic orientation 4. Material characteristics 5]. Activity characteristics
The substantial characteristics of the image of a successful person in the adolescents [1. Personal characteristics 2. Access to social groups 3. Humanistic orientation 4. Material characteristics 5]. Activity characteristics
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So, in describing the image of a successful person, the personal characteristics and the characteristics associated with the activities and the individual strategies of behaviour is prevail. These parameters are stable throughout the study. Significantly changing the characteristics associated with the humanistic orientation of the person ("the kindness", "the responsiveness", "the mutual assistance"), as well as the material aspect of the success. The group membership of a person occupies an insignificant place in the structure of the image of a successful person.

To determine the significant differences in different groups, the Mann Whitney U test was used.

Significant differences were found (at p <0.05) for the following indicators:

  • The adolescents 2013, 2015 and adolescents 2013, 2018 significantly differ in the degree of representation of humanistic characteristics in the image of a successful person. In the adolescent group of 2015 and 2018, these differences are not observed. There is a decrease in the importance of humanistic orientation in the image of a successful person in the period from 2013 to 2015, then this indicator remains.

  • The adolescents 2013, 2018 and adolescents 2015, 2018 significantly differ in the degree of representation of material characteristics (wealth, prosperity, etc.) in the image of a successful person. Differences in the samples of 2013 and 2015 are not observed. The importance of material prosperity in the image of a successful person is reduced in the period from 2015 to 2018.

Consequently, a positive image of a successful person, as well as an understanding of the role of the person's activity, his individual strategy in achieving success, but not his group affiliation, can be attributed to stable characteristics. For adolescents, the image of a successful person presupposes one's own activity in achieving goals, which is characteristic of an individualistic type of culture.

The content of the image of a successful person is more sensitive to changes in the social context. To the changing characteristics here are the humanistic orientation and the role of the material factor in the image of a successful person.

The family occupies a primary importance in the structure of the sociocultural identity

When studying the structure of social identity, the importance of various social groups and their hierarchy was determined.

Figure 2: The structure of sociocultural identity in the adolescents [1. Family 2. Man 3. Citizen 4. City 5. Nation 6. Religion 7. Generation 8. Sex 9. Group of interest]
The structure of sociocultural identity in the adolescents [1. Family 2. Man 3. Citizen 4. City 5. Nation 6. Religion 7. Generation 8. Sex 9. Group of interest]
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Our materials show that the greatest importance in the process of successful socialization is played by the family. The place of the family, belonging to a certain ethnos and religion in the structure of sociocultural identity are least affected by the social context. The role of civic identity, gender, age in the structure of sociocultural identity is largely determined by the social context.

The structure of social identity according to the U-criterion of Mann Whitney revealed the following significant differences (at p <0.05):

  • The adolescents in 2013 and 2015 differ significantly in terms of the role of gender differences and the role of interest groups (subcultural communities). In this period, there is a decline in gender identity and an increase in the role of subcultural communities.

In the group of adolescents 2013 and 2018, as well as 2015 and 2018, these differences are not observed. Thus, the changes are multidirectional and non-linear.

The obtained results showed the importance of the family increases from year to year. Then, according to the degree of significance, a group of friends and close people are identified. The least important are people living next door, as well as friends. Changes in this structure of reference groups during the study were not detected.

  • At the same time, the place of the family, belonging to a certain ethnos and religion in the structure of the sociocultural identity are least affected by the changing social contexts.

  • While the role of civic identity, gender and age characteristics in the structure of social identity are largely determined by social contexts

Conclusion

Despite the transitive nature of the modern society, most adolescents successfully socialize and are highly resilient.

In the successful socialization of adolescents in a modern transitive society the most significant role play the resilience and predominance of personal identity in overall structure of identity. This phenomenology is connected with fact that the formation of identity’s structure and its differentiation is determined to a greater extent by the tasks of development than by the social context.

A social and virtual context often associate and combines with each other, which leads to increasing of the value of virtual identity in identity’s content.

The positive attitude to one-self and mainly positive identity is one of the constant characteristic features of positive socialization. Never the less the intension to save the positive attitude to one-self is very sensitive to the social context, mainly to communication with family and near friends.

The main factors of social environment that influence content and attitude to identity are social emotions and social concepts, mainly image of success and successful people and the role of personal activity in productive life.

References

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  3. Khuzeeva G.R. (2017). The study of the processes of socialization and individualization of children under school age. Psikhologicheskie Issledovaniya, 10(54), 9.
  4. Leont'ev D.A. & Rasskazova E.I. (2006). Test of resilience. (p. 63) M.: Smysl
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Publisher

Future Academy

First Online

18.12.2019

Doi

10.15405/epsbs.2018.11.02.26

Online ISSN

2357-1330