Theory and Society

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 429–463 | Cite as

Social transformation, collective categories, and identity change

  • Jennifer Todd


Changes in collective categories of identity are at the core of social transformation. The causal linkages among identity change, institutional change, and change in modes of practice are, however, complex. Developing and adapting ideas from Pierre Bourdieu's work, this article shows the coexistence in tension of a plurality of elements within each collective identity category. On this basis, it proposes a typology of responses at the level of identity to socio-political change. This allows an explanation of patterns of identity change in terms of wider social processes and resource distribution, while remaining open to the sense and complexity of the individual's experience and the moments of intentionality that arise when individuals face choices as to the direction of change. The worth of the model is shown by analysis of modes of identity change in a society now experiencing radical change in socio-political structures, namely post-1998 Northern Ireland.


Social Process Causal Linkage Radical Change Institutional Change Resource Distribution 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer Todd
    • 1
  1. 1.University College DublinIreland

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