view pdf in asp net mvc : Add url to pdf Library control component .net web page wpf mvc What%20is%20identity%20(as%20we%20now%20see%20the%20world)1-part1033

Thereisasecondoldermeaningof\identity"thatneednotapplytopersonsandthat
isalsostillinuse{forexample,\anidentityofinterests."ThissenseisdenedintheOED
asfollows: \Thequalityorconditionofbeingthesameinsubstance,composition,nature,
properties, or r in particular qualities under consideration." The OED gives s an n interesting
example here. In n SouthAfrica fairly y recently, , the e word was s used d as alabel for a policy
thatrefusedtoacknowledge any dierence betweenAfricansandEuropeans{the\policy
ofidentity." As late as 1960,it was saidthat\theearlierBritishpolicyofidentity broke
down."Notehowcontrarythisistothecurrentsense,whichwouldmuchmorelikelyequatea
\policyofidentity"withonethatfosteredorstrengthenedculturaldierenceandawareness
ofit,perhapsinapositiveway.
AsGleason(1983)shows,ourpresentsenseof\identity"hasevolvedinthelastforty
years,derivingmostofallfrompsychoanalystErikErikson’sconceptofan\identitycrisis."
Thefollowingexcerptfromtheprefacetoa1965bookbythepsychoanalystDaviddeLevita
givessomeindicationofthenoveltyofErikson’susage.
InHiddesen,acharminglittleGermantown,ameetingwasheldin1951todiscuss
‘HealthandHumanRelations,’sponsoredjointlyby... . AtthatconferenceErik
H.Erikson spoke e on n ‘The e Sense e of Inner Identity.’ I I was s deeply impressed d by
Eriksonandtheexpositionofhisbrilliantideas. ... Weallfeltthatthis‘concept
ofidentity’wasextremelyimportant,butitwasnotclearwhattheexactmeaning
was,soloadedwithsignicancewasthenewterm.
13
Erikson’s term m \identity y crisis"has made e it into dictionaries,andis dened inone
asfollows: \theconditionofbeinguncertainofone’sfeelingsaboutoneself,especiallywith
regardtocharacter,goals,andorigins,occuringespeciallyinadolesenceasaresultofgrowing
13
de Levita1965, emphasis added. . The e preface was written n by y H.C. Rumke, M.D. For Erikson’s own
discussionof the history of the newsense of theterm{ which he recognized as aconceptualinnovation
appropriated bypopularculture {seeErikson (1968,15-25). . The e closest Erikson comes heretodening
his understanding g ofthe concept of \identity"is s this complex formulation: : \identity y formation employs
aprocess ofsimultaneous re ection and observation, , takingplaceon n alllevels ofmentalfunctioning,by
whichtheindividualjudgeshimselfinlightofwhatheperceivestobethewayinwhichothersjudgehimin
comparisontothemselvesandtoatypologysignicanttothem;whilehejudgestheirwayofjudginghimin
lightofhowheperceiveshimselfincomparisontothemandtotypesthathavebecomerelevanttohim."
9
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upunderdisruptive,fast-changingconditions."
14
Thisstatementimplicitlydenes\identity"asone’sfeelingsaboutone’sself,charac-
ter,goals,andorigins. Whilemuchclosertoourcurrentmeaningthantheoldermeaning
discussedabove,thisiscloserstillto\self-image."Asweuseitnow,\myidentity"isnotthe
samethingasmyfeelingsaboutmyself,character,goals,andorigins,butrathersomething
aboutmydenitionofmyself,character,andsoon.
Thisbrief look atwhat dictionaries havetosay suggests that our current notionof
\identity" is historically fairly recent. . Identity y is anew concept and d not something that
peoplehaveeternallyneededorsoughtassuch. Iftheyweretryingtoestablish,defend,or
protecttheiridentities,theythoughtaboutwhattheyweredoingindierentterms.
15
Thus,
research intended toshow w how identity is socially constructedandhistorically contingent
must presume that our present concept ofidentity is transhistorically andtransculturally
applicable, sothat t we canask just as easily about theidentities of18thcentury English
peasantsasaboutpeoples’identitiestoday,forexample. Ifwewanttoapplyafairlyrecent
socialconstructtranshistorically,this isanotherreasontobeasclearaswecanaboutits
meaning.
16
Sowhatdoesthiswordmeanasweuseitnow? Recognizingthatnoshortstatement
willadequately coverallusages,Iarguebelowthattheword\identity"asusedtodayhas
twodistinctbutintertwinedmeanings,andthatmuchoftheforceandinterestoftheconcept
turnsontheimplicitquestionofpreciselyhowthesemeaningsintertwine.
Asnotedabove,thetwosensesmaybedesignated\social"and\personal"identity.In
theformer,anidentityisjustasocialcategory,agroupofpeopledesignatedbyalabel(or
labels)thatiscommonlyusedeitherbythepeopledesignated,others,orboth. Thisisthe
senseemployedwhenwereferto\American,"\French,"\Muslim,"\father,"\homosexual,"
14
Webster’sNewWorldDictionary,1979,p. 696.
15
In a a 1997lectureat the Universityof Chicago, Charles s Taylor made this point with the observation
thatLutherwouldhavebeeneitherbaedorscandalizedbyErikErikson’scharacterizationofhisyouthful
\identitycrisis"inYoungManLuther.
16
Gleason(1983)providesaninterestinganalysisofthesocialconstructionof\identity"inacademicand
populardiscoursethroughthe70s.
10
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\worker,"\professor,"or\citizen"asidentities.
Ifthisrstsenseismoretypicalofacademicthanpopularusage,thereverseistruefor
\identity"aspersonalidentity.Thisisthemeaninginvokedindeclarationsoftheform\my
identity is... . "or\Icouldnever r dothatbecauseitwouldbeinconsistent with,orwould
violate, my y identity." Here is the best Ihave beenable to do: : Personalidentity y is s aset
ofattributes,beliefs,desires,orprinciplesofactionthatapersonthinksdistinguishherin
sociallyrelevantwaysandthat(a)thepersontakesaspecialpridein;(b)thepersontakes
nospecialpridein,butwhichsoorientherbehaviorthatshewouldbeatalossabouthow
toactandwhattodowithoutthem;or(c)thepersonfeelsshecouldnotchangeevenifshe
wantedto. Mostoften,Iwillargue,the(a)meaningapplies,sothatforusageinordinary
languagepersonalidentity cantypicallybeglossedastheaspectsorattributesofaperson
thatformthebasisforhisorherdignityorself-respect. Usedinthissense,\identity"has
becomeapartialandindirectsubstitutefor\dignity,"\honor,"and\pride."
Thissecond denitionisa mouthful,andrequires explicationto begivenbelow. . It
shouldbenoted,immediately,however,thatbythisstatementsocialidentity(membership
inasocialcategory)mightenterintoorpartiallyconstitutepersonalidentity,throughany
of(a),(b)or(c).
Inwhatfollows,Idevelopeachofthesestatements byposingsimplerdenitionsand
askinghowtheysquarewithorwhethertheycapturesensesof\identity"incommonaca-
demicandpopularusage. Thetrailofargument t leads rst tosocialidentity andthento
personalidentity.
4 SocialIdentity
Asimpleanswertothequestion\whatisidentity?"wouldbethis:Itishowoneanswersthe
question\whoareyou?"Or,myidentityishowIdenewhoIam.Whenacademicauthors
oerbriefclaricationofwhattheymeanbytheword,thisisoftenthewaytheydoit(\a
person’sidentityishowthepersondeneswhoheorsheis").
17
17
See,forsomeexamples,denitions1,2,6,and13,orHopf(1998,175).
11
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One might answer the question \who are you?" entirely dierently in dierent cir-
cumstances. For r example,depending onthe context, , Imight t answer \an American," \a
professor,"\ason-in-law,"\ataxpayer,"\aDemocrat."InsomesituationsImightevengive
mysocialsecuritynumber.Bythissimpledenition,then,itistrivialthatonemighthave
multipleidentities,understoodsimplyasanswerstothequestion\whoareyou?",sincehow
youanswerthequestionwilldependonthespeciccontext.
Sohereisa rst cutata denition. . Anidentity y is somethingthatts asX inthe
sentence\IamanX."Inlogicalterms,anidentityisapredicatethatapplies(ormayapply)
toaperson,thatis,aqualityorpropertyofaperson.
Thisisn’tenough,sinceitallowsthingsthatclearlywouldnotqualifyas\legitimate"
(thatis,recognizabletousage)identities,eventakingabroadsenseoftheword.Forexample,
considerX=apersonwithtenngers,orX=apersonwithtwomolesonmyrightarm,
orX=apersonwhosawthedentistlastTuesday.Soanidentitymustbeaparticularsort
ofpredicateattachabletoaperson.
Butwhatsortofpredicate? Atthispointwemighttrytheroutetakeninphilosophy,
wherephilosophers havelong debatedovera particular and oftenrather technicalunder-
standingoftheword\identity."Inthisdebate,theidentityofathing(notjustaperson)
consistsofthosepropertiesorqualities invirtueofwhichitis thatthing. . Thatis,ifyou
changedthesepropertiesorqualities,itwouldceasetobethatthingandbesomethingdif-
ferent.Inquiryintoidentityinthissensegivesrisetoconundrumslikethefollowing:What
makes that treethe same tree that was there 20years ago? ? If f you rebuild aboat plank
by plank,doesitremainthesameboat? ? Or,intermsofpersons,whatwouldhave e tobe
dierentaboutmeformetonolongerbewhoIam? Whatarethepropertiesorqualities
invirtueofwhichIamJamesFearon?
Inthisphilosophicalsense,personalidentityisthosepredicatesofapersonsuchthat
iftheyarechanged,itisnolongerthesameperson,thepropertiesthatareessentialtohim
orherbeingthatpersonratherthanbeingmerely contingent. . Forexample,if f youlose a
ngerwewouldsaythatyouarethesamepersonasbefore;ifyousuerfromanadvanced
stateofAlzheimer’s,wemightnot.AsIdiscussbelow,thissenseisrelatedtothedictionary
12
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denitionandtothewaywecurrentlyunderstandtheconcept. Wedothinkofidentityas
consistingofthingsthatareinsomewayessentialtousbeingwhoweare,whereasother
things,likethetypeoficecreamIhappentowanttoday,aremerelycontingent.
Butwhatphilosophershavemeantby\identity"inthissenseisnotwhatwecurrently
meaninsocialscience academicorinpopulardiscourse. . Forexample,Imightsaythata
crucialpartofmyidentityisthatIliketolistentopunkrock,butifIstoppedlikingthis
musicIwouldnotthinkthatIwasliterallyadierentperson{IwouldnotimaginethatI
ceasedbeingJamesFearoneventhoughImight understandmyidentitytohavechanged.
Thesamemightbesaidofnationalidentity,ifIchangenationalaliations.
So we stillneeda qualication onthe denition that says an identity is an Xthat
satises\IamanX"insomecontextorsituation. Lookingtousage,thetypicalpredicate
isveryoftenasocialcategory,asinseveraloftheexampleslistedearlier. Consider,then,
asimpledenitionthatsaysanidentityis justasocialcategory,andtohaveaparticular
identitymeanstoassignoneselftoaparticularsocialcategoryorperhapsjusttobeassigned
toitbyothers.
18
Tobecomplete,thissimpledenitionrequiresastatementofwhatasocialcategoryis,
astraightforwardbutnecessaryexercise. Tobeginwith,asocialcategoryisasetofpeople
designatedbyalabel(orlabels)commonlygivento,orusedby,asetofpeople. Thelabel
mustbeinvokedoftenenoughorinsucientlyimportantsituationsthatpeoplecondition
theirbehaviororthinkingonit. Forexample,wecanthinkofthecategoryofpeoplewho
haveninengers,butthisdoesnotarise,orisnotrelevantinthesensethatnobehaviors
orbeliefsareregularlyconditionedit. Thusweprobablywouldnotadmitthisasasocial
category. (Orperhapswewouldjustcallitanirrelevantone.)
Social categories s have two o distinguishing g features. First, , they y are dened and by
implicitorexplicitrulesofmembership,accordingtowhichindividualsareassignedornotto
thecategory(someexamplesarediscussedbelow).Second,socialcategoriesareunderstood
18
Social scientists sometimes s seem m to o want t to o restrict \identity" to a social category whose e members
subjectivelyidentifywiththecategory.Thiswon’tcaptureordinarylanguageusage,whereitisnotnecessary
thatindividualsidentifywithacategoryforittobecalledanidentity. Forexample,aperson’sethnicidentity
mightbeGermanevenifheorsheiscompletelyindierenttothisfact.
13
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in terms of sets of characteristics s {for r example, , beliefs, desires, moralcommitments, , or
physicalattributes{thoughttypicalofmembersofthecategory,orbehaviorsexpectedor
obligedofmembersincertainsituations,asinthecaseofroles,suchasaprofessor,student,
orpolice ocer. . Iwillcallthesethecontentofasocialcategory. Bothmembershiprules
and the content t of f a social category y may, of f course, be the subject t of dispute. Indeed,
contestationover themembership rules,thecontent, , andthemoralvaluationor r political
treatmentofsocialcategoriesiswhatpolticalscientistsrefertoas\identitypolitics."
19
Myimpressionisthat thisvery simpledenition{anidentity isasocialcategory{
takes onequitefarinterms ofunderstanding whatacademicsfrequently meanwhenthey
usetheword.Toaskaboutidentitiesofsuch-and-suchpeopleisoftentoaskaboutthesocial
categoriesinwhichtheyplacedthemselves(orwereplacedbyothers)andhowtheythought
abouttheircontentorrulesofmembership.Inmanycasesitmightbeclearerandbetterto
use\socialcategory"ratherthan\identity."
Whileidentity-as-a-social-category captures much h ofwhatacademics oftenmeanby
theterm,thissimpledenitiondoesnotcoverallthatwemeanbytheword.Inparticular,
\anidentityisasocialcategory"doesn’tworkwhenweuseidentityinthesenseofpersonal
identity, which may y be formulated d in terms of a group aliation but t need d not be.
20
In
addition, even when the e word doesrefer primarily y toa a socialcategory { nation, , gender,
sexuality,forinstance{itcanmeansomewhatmorethanjust\socialcategory"becauseof
animplicitlinkagewiththeideaofpersonalidentity.
Toseehow,considerthecentralpropositionofmuchconstructivistscholarship,that
identitiesaresociallyconstructed.Withoutasharpstatementofthemeaningof\identity,"
thiscentralclaimmustremainsomewhatmysterious.Supposeweoerthetranslation,\so-
cialcategoriesaresociallyconstructed,"andtake\sociallyconstructed"tomeanthatsocial
categoriesvaryover time,historically,andarethe productsofhumanthinking,discourse,
andaction.
19
Onesocialcategorymayhavemultiplelabelswithdierentsocialvaluations,sothat\identitypolitics"
isoftenplayedoutincontestationoverlabelsandtheirmoralvalence(e.g.,gayvs. queervs. homosexual).
20
\Identity"inthissecondsenseisexplicatedbelow.
14
Thisisnotaterriblywrongtranslation,anditcertainlyhastheadvantageintermsof
clarity.Thetranslationalsoraisesaquestion:Whatistheimportantinsightintheclaimthat
identitiesaresociallyconstructed?Ofcoursesocialcategoriesaresociallyconstructed,ifthis
meansthattheyvaryovertimeasaresultofhumanthinking,discourseandaction. What
elsewouldtheybe? Theclaimthat\identities"arechangeableandhistorically y contingent
maysoundlikeaninsight,dueinparttoanimplicitplayontheolderideaofidentityasthe
constitutivepropertiesofathingthatremainthesamethroughtime. Butconsider\social
categorieschangeover timeandarehistorically contingent."Ofcoursetheydo. . Milkmen
haveceasedtobealivesocialcategory,exceptincertainjokes. Or\clerk,"\blacksmith,"
or\Visigoth"{allarecategoriesnolongerinactiveuse. Andofcourseother,new w social
categorieshavebeencreated,suchassoftwareengineerandsoccermom.
Howcouldsocialcategoriesbesomethingotherthansociallyconstructed? Theanswer
implicit in n most t constructivist scholarship is that people e often believe, , incorrectly, that
certainsocialcategoriesarenatural,inevitable,andunchangingfactsaboutthesocialworld.
Theybelievethatparticularsocialcategoriesarexedbyhumannatureratherthansocial
convention and practice. Much h constructivist labor has been n dedicated d to o destabilizing
such beliefs by y showing how thecontent t andevenmembership p rules of taken-for-granted
categoriessuch asman/womanor heterosexual/homosexual have changed over time.
21
It
cannotbesurprisingthatpeopleviewidentities-as-social-categoriesasobjectivefeaturesof
theirsocialworldsthattheyconfront as unchangeableconstraints (thus,\natural"inone
sense). Socialcategories s generally are objective socialfacts beyond the reach ofany one
individualtochange.Forinstance,nooneindividualintheU.S.canchangethefactthatin
manyinteractionsonewillbecodedaswhite,black,hispanic,orasian,oftenwithimportant
consequences. Itismoresurprising,andanimportantconstructivistinsight,thatpeopletend
\naturalize"systemsofsocialcategoriesinthesenseofviewingthemalsoasnormativelyor
morallyright,andoftenashavingthesamenecessityaslawsofnaturalworld.
22
21
See,foragoodexample,Chauncey(1994).
22
Thisconstructivistinsightamountsinpart totheobservationthat socialcategoriesaresubjecttothe
is/oughtfallacy,withimportantpoliticalandsocialconsequences.Cf.Hardin(1995).
15
Butevenif\identityissociallyconstructed"canbeproductivelytranslatedandana-
lyzedas\socialcategoriesaresociallyconstructed,"thisdoesnotdofulljusticetotheclaim.
Rather,thestatement\identityissociallyconstructed"tradesontheimplicitandunarticu-
lateddoublesenseof\identity"inpresentusage.Itmeansatoncethatsocialcategoriesare
sociallyconstructedandsomethinglike\peoples’senseofthemselvesasdistinctindividuals
issocially constructed."Inpart,whatgivessuchstatementstheirforce,interest,andsub-
versiveappealis thenotionthatasocialprocess beyondtheindividual’s controlcrucially
shapessomethingthattheindividualmayunderstandasdeeplypersonal.Itisworthnoting
thattheclaimissubversivewhensetagainstbackgroundassumptionsderivedfromclassical
liberalism,whichsinceHobbeshasemployedanotionofapresocial,autonomousindividual
as anaxiom and, , arguably,as s a normative ideal. . In n liberalism, constraints or in uences
onindividualsthatemanatefrombeyondtheindividualandwithoutconsciousconsentare
viewedassuspectorillegitimate.
23
Therefore,while oftenserviceable for uses like\nationalidentity," \ethnicidentity,"
andthelike,theshortdenition\anidentityisasocialcategory"missesanunelaborated
argumentimplicitinthecontemporaryconceptofidentity. Theargumentholdsthatsocial
categoriesenter intoour senseofourselves asindividuals (atemporary glossfor personal
identity) incomplex andpossibly nefariousorcoerciveways. . Thus,\identity"caninvoke
notjustasocialcategory(contentplusmembershiprules)butalsotheunarticulatedways
thatsocialidentityconstitutespersonalidentity.
5 Roleandtypeidentities
Beforeproceedingtoinvestigatethemeaningthatcorrespondstopersonalidentity,Ioer
somefurtherdisctinctions andarguments regardingidentitiesassocialcategoriesthatare
usedsubsequently. In n particular, Idistinguishbetween two classes ofidentities, roleand
23
Forexample,thesenseofscandalthatpervadesFoucault’sDisciplineandPunishisbasedonademonstra-
tionthatthepracticalapplicationofliberaltheoryhasentailedthecoercivemanufactureofaparticularsort
ofindividual,whichseemsdirectlycontrarytosomeofliberalism’sstatedideals(nottosaythatFoucault’s
workisstraightforwardlyliberal).
16
type.Theseareidealtypes,inthatmanysocialcategorieshaveelementsofboth.
Roleidentitiesrefertolabelsappliedtopeoplewhoareexpectedorobligatedtoperform
somesetofactions,behaviors,routines,orfunctionsinparticularsituations. Forexample,
taxidriver,tollcollector,mother,father,president,professor,businessman,student. Type
identitiesrefertolabelsappliedtopersonswhoshareorarethoughttosharesomecharacter-
isticorcharacteristics,inappearance,behavioraltraits,beliefs,attitudes,values,skills(e.g.,
language),knowledge,opinions,experience,historicalcommonalities(likeregionorplaceof
birth),andsoon.Thereisapresumptionthatthecharacteristicsaremorethantransitory,
althoughatypeidentitysuchas\teenager"maynotbepermanent.
Nationalidentities,likeAmericanorRussian,areexamplesoftypeidentities.Thereare
almostnocontextsinwhichitwouldmakesensetospeakofthe\theroleofanAmerican,"
except inatheatreplay where\role"means part. . Othersocialcategoriesthatarealmost
whollytypeidentitiesincludepartyaliation(e.g.,DemocratorRepublican),sexualidentity
(heterosexual,homosexual,bisexual,etc.),andethnicidentity.
Someidentitiesorsocialcategoriesinvolvebothroleandtype.Forexample,\mother"
is a a role, , but nonetheless we expect certain beliefs, attitudes, values, preferences, , moral
virtues,andsoon,tobecharacteristicofpeopleperformingtheroleofmother(understand-
ingsthatmaychangethroughtime.) Ontheotherhand,someroleidentities,whichmainly
butnotexclusivelycompriseoccupationalcategories,havefewifanytypefeaturesassociated
withthem(forexample,tollboothcollector).
Both type e and role e identities are dened in n terms s of f membership rules s and d social
content,asarguedabove. Forroles,membershiprulesareoftenformal,sociallyrecognized
procedures,suchasthebarexamorthewholesetofelectoralcontestsandceremoniesthat
makeU.S.presidents. Someonewhoperformstheexpectedactionsbuthasnotsatisedthe
membershiprulesismerely\impersonatingapoliceocer,"forexample.
Withtype identities, , membership rules s are frequently less s formal, though h still very
muchsocialconventions. Take,foranexample,ethnicidentity. Themembershiprulethat
weseemtouseimplicitywhendecidingethnicidentityisthis:Youarememberofanethnic
groupXifyoucanclaimtohaveparentsormaybegrandparentswhowerealsorecognized
17
asmembersoftheethnicgroupX.Thatis,membershipinanethnicgroupisunderstoodto
bedeterminedbyadescentrelationship.
Thus,ifIconverttoJudaism,Imaybeconsidered\religiouslyJewish,"butfewwould
not say that I was \ethnically Jewish" or that my ethnic identity was Jewish. . Andthis
couldbetrueevenifIadoptallmannerofbeliefs,customs,attitudes,etc.,thatarethought
tobecharacteristicofthecategory\Jews"(whichisalreadyhighlydiverseandcontested).
Thus,to\haveanidentity" inthesenseofasocialcategory,itisnotnecessary thatone
sharewhatarethoughttobetypicalfeaturesofmembersofthecategory.Thepointsharply
illustratesthedistinctionbetweenthetwosensesoftheword,socialandpersonal.Wemight
saythat\John’sethnicidentityisJewish"and\JohndoesnotconsiderbeingJewishasan
importantpartofhisidentity"andbeperfectlycorrectinbothcases.
Themembershiprulesdeningatypeidentityarethusdistinctfromthesetoffeatures
thoughttypicalofpeopleinthissocialcategory(theidentity’scontent).Foranotherexample,
takethenationalidentity\American,"whichhas amembershiprulesayingthataperson
is a member ofthe category if he orshe is able legally to obtaina U.S.passport, , and a
content that may or may y not t characterize many individuals who satisfy y the e membership
rule.Notefurtherthatthemembershiprulesdeningtypeidentitiescanbequitearbitrary
andinconsistent. IntheU.S.,havingasingle,non-too-distantancestor r whowascodedas
whitedoesnotmakeone\white,"butonemaybecodedasblackifonehas\asingledropof
blackblood,"astheracistsayinggoes.Thereisofcoursenobiologicalreasonorjustication
forthis;itisjustanarbitrarymembershiprule.
Whilesomeoccupationalandotherroleidentitieshaveagooddealof\typecontent"
associatedwiththem(e.g.,mother),othershaveverylittle(e.g.,tollboothcollector).Kreps
(1989)\corporateculture"theorymaybeapplicablehereforexplainingwhysomedoand
somedon’t. FollowingKreps,thesimplerthetasksorfunctions{andthelesslikelyisthe
personintheroletoencounternovelsituationsthatcannotbespeciedinadvance{theless
likelywearetoseethedevelopmentofcontentfeaturesassociatedwiththerole.Atollbooth
collector’sfunctionscanbecompletelyspeciedverysimply,andnovelsituationsrarelyarise.
Amotherorfather,ontheotherhand,encountersmyriadnovelandunforeseeablesituations
18
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