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Main page / "Knowledge. Understanding. Skill" Journal / Contents / 2015 / 1

Żółkowska T. Some Features of Identity Building in Disabled Persons

(University of Szczecin, Poland)

Abstract ♦ Analyzing identity is of special importance for contemporary research into life situations of the disabled. Such analysis faces a number of considerable obstacles which stem from the variety of concepts of identity between disciplines and theories. The article analyzes the existing interpretations of identity and outlines the main factors contributing to current identification problems of a disabled person.

The differentiated and multi-conceptual status of identity allows us to outline a number of models. Of these, four models developed by R. Robinson and Z. Bokszaski — the model of health, the model of outlook, the egological model and the interactive model — are the most productive for interpreting the identity of the disabled. All of these four, as well as other concepts, are a reflection of the debates on the impact individual and social factors have on identity and its functions.

Analysis of the existing theories has led us to a conclusion that most theorists pay more attention to the social factors of identity formation than to the individual ones. Thus, T. Parsons interprets identity as a consequence of man’s involvement in social life. Throughout centuries, the importance of social factors for identity formation has been changing. These changes have become notably more conspicuous in the case of the disabled.

We are at the moment witnessing the demise of universal dominant identity. It has become elastic, variable, diffuse and fragmentary. This is due to the impact of globalization, to stimulating consumer interest and to other sociocultural developments. The variety and multiplicity of identifications make identity situative and heterogeneous, which, in turn, may increase the general stress and contribute to the rise in psychiatric disorders typical for modern civilization. The same can be observed in disabled persons

Keywords: identity, identification, the disabled, disabled person, factors of identification, identification models

Żółkowska Teresa, Doctor of Social Science, Professor, Director, Institute of Pedagogy, University of Szczecin, Poland. Address: 16/17, Ogiskiego St., Szczecin, Poland, 71-431. Tel.: (8-10-48) (91) 444-37-53. E-mail:


Citation: Żółkowska, T. (2015) Nekotorye obstoiatel'stva postroeniia identichnosti invalidov [Some Features of Identity Building in Disabled Persons]. Znanie. Ponimanie. Umenie, no. 1, pp. 89–97. (In Russ.). DOI: 10.17805/zpu.2015.1.8

Submission date: 12.12.2014 .



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