The Oxford Biblical Studies Online and Oxford Islamic Studies Online have retired. Content you previously purchased on Oxford Biblical Studies Online or Oxford Islamic Studies Online has now moved to Oxford Reference, Oxford Handbooks Online, Oxford Scholarship Online, or What Everyone Needs to Know®. For information on how to continue to view articles visit the subscriber services page.
Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD REFERENCE (www.oxfordreference.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single entry from a reference work in OR for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

Subscriber: null; date: 13 August 2022


A Dictionary of Media and Communication

Daniel Chandler,

Rod Munday


1. The persistent sameness of a person despite changes over time.

2. One's subjective sense of oneself as an individual.

3. The widespread common-sense notion of a core, inner, authentic, or ‘true self’ which individuals experience as stable, unified, coherent, and autonomous of external influences (an essentialist stance) but which contemporary theorists have characterized as constructed, fluid, multiple, hybrid, fractured, and decentred (see also decentred self). The core self is now seen as a mythology derived from the individualistic legacy of Cartesian dualism. In contrast to this notion, identity is conceived to be a dialectical relationship between self and others.

4. The process in which the child differentiates itself from its parents and family and which develops through adolescence in social interaction. This usage derives from the American psychologist and psychoanalyst Erik Erikson (1902–94).

5. (identifications) The socially constructed and culturally-variable categories to which individuals relate in the process of producing a sense of personal identity: notably gender identity, sexual identity, ethnic identity, and social (class) identity. This perspective is found in symbolic interactionism and social constructionism. In structuralist framings identities are constituted through the positioning of the subject through language (or, in Foucault, discourses). In contemporary societies these identifications are multiple and fluid.

6. The relationship of individuals to their social roles, the expectations for which are internalized through socialization.

7. The active construction by individuals of a sense of self from the cultural resources available: see also bricolage.

8. The discursive practices and performances of individuals in relation to their similarity to and difference from others within their cultural contexts.