Cover image for The quest for identity : from minority groups to generation Xers
The quest for identity : from minority groups to generation Xers
Taylor, Donald M.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Praeger, [2002]

Physical Description:
x, 133 pages ; 24 cm
Reading Level:
1330 Lexile.
Electronic Access:
Table of contents

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HM753 .T39 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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There are groups in society that experience profound social problems. Others betray a growing social malaise. Massive academic underachievement, family dysfunction, substance misuse, violence, and delinquent behavior are some of the major crises afflicting groups in the United States and Canada, including Aboriginal people, African Americans, and certain Hispanic groups.^LTaylor adds to this list the escalating number of so-called street kids roaming inner-city streets. To a lesser but no less frightening extent, he includes what has traditionally symbolized society's most privileged group-young white men. He asserts that while these are not the only groups who stand out as noticeably disadvantaged, they are among the most visible and, due to his research and activities, allow him to test his arguments and offer his proposals for change.

Drawing upon his research experience in Canada, the United States, South Africa, and Indonesia, Taylor examines the impact of assimilation and the policies of cultural diversity and multiculturalism on these groups. He offers surprising insights into the causes of group malaise and individual failure, and his conclusions are bound to be of significant interest to scholars, students, and researchers involved with intergroup dynamics and cultural diversity.

Author Notes

Donald M. Taylor is Professor of Psychology at McGill University.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Taylor (social psychology, McGill Univ.) has written a brief, important, and highly readable statement about the plight of disadvantaged people in Western society, including aboriginal peoples of Canada (the Inuit and aboriginal Indian), African Americans in the US, Hispanic groups, "street kids," and (surprisingly) young white men. The crux of Taylor's argument is that the central component of the self is not personal identity, but rather collective identity, and that the predicament of the disadvantaged is linked to the problem the author calls "collective identity overload," i.e., the confusion that results when one is confronted with alternative collective identities. Like psychologist Elliot Aronson (Nobody Left to Hate, 2000), Taylor is able to combine a vigilant scientific methodology with a careful observer's humane understanding of the plight of people about whom he obviously cares deeply. This reviewer believes the richness of his work rests more on this latter ability than on his distinguished scientific skill. Although mildly defensive about this unusual combination in his presentation, he need not be. If anything the author is prophetic in having readers face squarely those aspects of the collective self they would rather hide. ^BSumming Up: Essential. All levels. J. P. McKinney emeritus, Michigan State University

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Chapter 1 Collective Identities in Crisisp. 1
Chapter 2 Society's Disadvantaged Groups: the Grim Realityp. 17
Chapter 3 Collective Identity: a Person's Primary Psychological Blueprintp. 33
Chapter 4 Traditional Explanations for Group Differences: the Usual Suspectsp. 55
Chapter 5 Valueless Colonialism and the Destruction of Collective Identityp. 71
Chapter 6 Collective Identity Overload: a Threat to Society's Most Disadvantaged and Not So Disadvantaged Groupsp. 91
Chapter 7 Collective Demotivationp. 107
Chapter 8 Toward a Healthy Collective Identityp. 117
Referencesp. 127
Indexp. 131
About the Authorp. 135