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The Social Construction of ‘Ethnic Identity’: Confusion over Terms? How the Sociology of ‘Ethnic Identity’ can be Relevant to the Use of Theory in Counselling Psychology


Gaist, Byron J.

Subject and Keywords:

immigration ; ethnic identity development ; race ; cultural identity ; acculturation


In today’s shifting social climate of financial crises, war, economic migration and refugee crises, ethnic identity is an increasingly important psychosocial variable to consider within the helping professions. In this article, a postmodern perspective on the development and experience of ethnic identity is discussed - in particular, the social constructionist view, which is based on a fluid, non-binary identity logic. Using applications of ethnic identity in the field of counselling psychology as a professional example, some major theoretical approaches to the study of ethnic identity are briefly described - including social identity theory, acculturation and psychodynamic approaches, as well as the contribution of identity process theory - and questions are raised about the useful potential of adopting this postmodern perspective alongside these standard theoretical models in clinical work.

Place of publishing:



Instytut Socjologii Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego


Banaszak, Ewa. Red.

Resource Type:



ISSN 2657-3679


pol ; eng

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© Copyright by Byron J. Gaist