Modern Identity Studies: From Structural Certainty to Procedural Incompleteness



The development of the problem of identity is considered in the article, mainly in the sociopsychological perspective. It is noted that although the growing interdisciplinary use of the concept of identity can be analyzed from the point of view of new restrictions and new possibilities, in any case, recent studies of identity are inextricably linked given the features of contemporary social reality, which, to the maximum extent relevant to the constant search of man’s existence, the implementation of the ongoing determination of his “I”. Attention to situational uncertainty and changeable social context leads to widespread recognition of the crisis of identifying the structures of the personality and the corresponding emphasis on the “fluid” identity of a person of “fluid” modernity, devoid of structural certainty and completeness. This research trend is considered on the basis of the example of modern versions of three traditional dichotomies in the analysis of identity: differentiation/integration, variability/consistency and “I”/social context. It is shown that in each of these dichotomies the gradual disappearance of meaningful oppositions can be observed: a change in structure and content of definiteness in the understanding of identity and determining the regularities of its development. More and more are emerging views that reflect the procedure and probability of any of its manifestations. Stressing that such a shift in conceptualization was due to the dynamics of contemporary social space: a study of the identity of recent decades has largely been the attempt to understand how man confronts the uncertainty, multiplicity and variability of the social world.

General Information

Keywords: identity, crisis of identity, multiplicity of identity structures of personality, potentiality of identities

Journal rubric: General Psychology, Personality Psychology, History of Psychology

Article type: scientific article

For citation: Belinskaya E.P. Modern Identity Studies: From Structural Certainty to Procedural Incompleteness. Vestnik of Saint Petersburg University. Psychology, 2018. Vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 6–15. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


Andreeva G. M. K voprosu o krizise identichnosti v usloviiakh sotsial’nykh transformatsii [The issue of identity crisis in terms of social transformation]. Psikhologicheskie issledovaniia [Psychological research] , 2011, no. 6 (20). Available at: (accessed: 02.12.2017). (In Russian)

Information About the Authors

Elena P. Belinskaya, Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Professor, Faculty of Psychology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



Total: 246
Previous month: 12
Current month: 20


Total: 121
Previous month: 12
Current month: 22