Doing Identity

The work of identity is not confined to one period of our lives, as some theories of socialisation would suggest.

Nor is it confined to particular settings.

We define who we are, by where we have been and where we are going, and this leads to an understanding of identity as a trajectory in time incorporates that both incorporates the past and the future into the meaning of the present.

(Jocelyn Robson)

This is an important idea. The idea of identity as a trajectory – the self, that is the professional self – as an ongoing project. If professionalisation implies the idea of an occupational group becoming a profession, it also implies a change in how workers see themselves. From activist to professional. Is this the shift that accompanies, ‘from campaign the strategy’.

This means that our present is shaped in part by our sense of who we are becoming. Who we are – as professionals – is shaped by who we want to become, who we see ourselves becoming. Or our sense of who we feel we can or will be.

This is not an argument connected with personality; I have no interest here in the interpersonal construction of shared or private selves. It is the professional self that concerns and interests me.

It suggests ‘identity’ as an active process, the self as a site always and already under construction.

Identification rather than identity.

The self as pastiche.


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