On the concept of the sense of identity: overview of problems and proposed conceptualization

Aleksandra Pilarska


Issues of the sense of identity have been of continuing interest within different areas of psychology and related fields, such as philosophy, pedagogy, sociology, and cultural anthropology. The popularity of this subject is reflected in the diversity of – not always explicitly stated – meanings, in which the term sense of identity is nowadays being used. The terminological and methodological discrepancies greatly hinder answering the basic questions, namely, what is, what functions are served by, and how the sense of identity develops? Inconsistencies in these matters appear not only between distinct disciplines, but also between researchers from the same field of knowledge, including psychology. It is these inconsistencies that constitute the subject of this paper. The article does not aim at a comprehensive analysis of the problem of the sense of identity, but rather at pointing out some of the many concerns and doubts that have been raised about the issue of the sense of identity in the field of psychology, and to propose a conceptualization of this phenomenon.


sense of identity, identity, self, self-concept

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