Societal Perspective

  • Ute Hillmer


This chapter offers an historical and contemporary analysis of different social realities. These realities are important, because they offer the foundation for social structures, and it is this social structure, within which a society places its categories for social identities. This means identities are linked within the social system (Smith-Lovin 2003, p.174), which means that individuals are not free to define their social categories. As all social choices are socially constrained (Stryker and Stratham 1985; cited in Thoits 2003, p.182). Furthermore, social structures and meaning systems which include the self are in an reciprocal relationship of influence. This chapter focuses on the investigation of these often hidden constraints. Uncovering them will further increase an understanding for the choice of available identities and for the identity content that enables or constrains enactment. Once the social heritage of the spectrum of choice and limitation is understood, the investigation will continue with the role contemporary information technology has on society and on the individual. Opportunities and threats are investigated, and the possible perceptions within the social context are discussed. Special recognition is given to emerging network societies, a technology enabled new form of social ties, which also might account for individuals' perceptions in a situation of technological change.


Social Capital Technological Change Social Identity Social Order Societal Perspective 
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© Gabler | GWV Fachverlage GmbH 2009

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  • Ute Hillmer

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