In search for identity in the contemporary society: Discontinuity, post-traditionalism, and individualism

Cover Page

Cite item


The article considers one of the most complex social problems - the formation of identity under the contemporary “new individualism”. Global transformations in the nature of social interactions are deeply inscribed in the ‘Self’, which requires significant self-restructuring of individual lives. Postmodern realities have radically changed the established concepts of identity for individuals today possess a wider range of possibilities to determine one’s identity than before. The contemporary reality is fluid, fast-moving and flexible, thus, it is no longer possible to believe in an unchanging and stable identities - they are considered to be multiple, and increasingly fragile and fragmented, to come not from the single source, but to be (re)constructed from a variety of overlapping and sometimes contradictory discourses, practices and positions. In the XXI century, the constant desire to upgrade oneself inevitably becomes a fundamental trend of the contemporary life, that is why, in the situation of the recognized absence of any sustainable worldview, identity must be highly adaptive: everything that previously was immutable becomes short-living and temporary; social patterns, standards, and models continue to change or completely escape from individuals - we all witness the “eternal” process of self-discovery in the new “shimmering reality”.

About the authors

A K Mamedov

Lomonosov Moscow State University

Author for correspondence.

Sociology Chair

O I Yakushina

Lomonosov Moscow State University


Sociology Chair


  1. Bauman Z. Tekuchaya sovremennost'. SPb.: Piter, 2008.
  2. Bodriiyar Zh. Simulyakry i simulyatsiya. Tula: Tul'skii poligrafist, 2013.
  3. Mamedov A.K., Yakushina O.I. Teoreticheskie podkhody k ponimaniyu identichnosti v sovremennoi sotsiologicheskoi nauke // Vestnik Moskovskogo universiteta. Seriya 18: «Sotsiologiya i politologiya». 2015. № 1.
  4. Sennet R. Korroziya kharaktera. Novosibirsk: FSPI «Trendy», 2004.
  5. Filosofiya. Entsiklopedicheskii slovar'. M.: Gardariki, 2004.
  6. Khorkkhaimer M., Adorno T. Dialektika prosveshcheniya. Filosofskie fragmenty. M., SPb.: Medium, 1997.
  7. Altheide D. An Ecology of Communication. Hawthorne, 2005.
  8. Beck U. Individualization. Thousand Oaks, 2002.
  9. Bornman E. Struggles of identity in the age of globalisation: Searching for anchors that hold // Communication: South African Journal for Communication. 2003. Vol. 29. № 1-2.
  10. Brubaker R., Sooper A. Beyond «identity» // Theory and Society. 2000. № 29.
  11. Calhoun C. Critical Social Theory: Culture, History, and the Challenge of Difference. N.Y., 1995.
  12. Cerulo K.A. Identity construction: New issues, new directions // Annual Review of Sociology. 1997. Vol. 23. № 1.
  13. Connell R. Gender and Power: Society, the Person, Sexual Politics. Stanford University Press, 1987.
  14. du Gay P., Evance J., Redman P. Identity: A Reader. L., 2000.
  15. Elliott A. The new individualist perspective: Identity // Forum. 2010. № 11.
  16. Elliott A., Lemert S. The new individualism. L., 2006.
  17. Erikson E. Identity and the Life Cycle. Selected Papers. N.Y., 1959.
  18. Giddens A. Modernity and Self-Identity. Stanford University Press, 1991.
  19. Habermas J. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere. Massachusetts, 1991.
  20. Hall S. Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices. L., 1997.
  21. Kehily M.J. What is identity? A sociological perspective // ESRC Seminar Series: The educational and social impact of new technologies on young people in Britain. London School of Economics, 2009.
  22. Luckmann T. Personal Identity as a Sociological Category. Zagreb, 2006.
  23. Meyrowitz J. No Sense of Space: The Impact of Electronic Media on Social Behavior. Oxford University, 1985.
  24. Reeves B., Nass C. The Media Equation. Cambridge University Press, 1996.
  25. Riesman D. The Lonely Crowd. Yale University Press, 2001.
  26. Rose N. Governing the Soul: The Shaping of the Private Self. L., 1999.
  27. Sennett R. The Fall of Public Man. N.Y., 1992.
  28. Stryker S., Burke P.J. The past, present, and future of an identity theory // Social Psychology Quarterly. Special Millennium Issue on the State of Sociological Social Psychology. 2000. Vol. 63. № 4.

Copyright (c) 2015 A K Mamedov, O I Yakushina

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

This website uses cookies

You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website.

About Cookies