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The Self: Measurement Requirements from an Interactionist Perspective

Peter J. Burke
Social Psychology Quarterly
Vol. 43, No. 1 (Mar., 1980), pp. 18-29
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3033745
Page Count: 12
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The Self: Measurement Requirements from an Interactionist Perspective
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Abstract

Techniques for measuring an individual's self-concept must have two characteristics: They must be theoretically grounded and they must be quantitative. With respect to the first of these characteristics, six theoretical properties of the self as seen from an interactionist perspective are discussed in terms of their measurement implications. These properties are: (1) that the self is composed of an organized set of identities, (2) that identities are self-in-role meanings, (3) that identities are defined relationally in terms of counter-identities, (4) that identities are reflexive, (5) that identities operate indirectly, and (6) that identities motivate social behavior. Measures that fail to take account of these properties suffer for this failing. Suggestions are made about how such properties might be taken into account in deriving quantitative measures of certain characteristics of role/identities.

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