NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ819885
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Apr
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 28
ISSN: ISSN-1364-436X
Personal Identity: Moving beyond Essence
Webster, R. Scott
International Journal of Children's Spirituality, v10 n1 p5-16 Apr 2005
Education's ancient and profoundly important pursuit to "know thyself", is often realised through engaging with the question "who am I?" In order to the identify "who" in this search, it is argued in this paper that personal identity should be understood to be embedded in the purposes one has for one's life through "how" one relates, and is therefore spiritual. This spiritual quality of personal identity is therefore existential in character--not essential. However, often when children respond to this question "who am I?", they rely upon socially constructed categories and labels such as religious, feminine, cool, punk and the like. The application of such labelling assumes that meaningfulness lies in their essence; that is, they identify what "is". This can become most problematic when individuals accept and apply such essentialist labelling to themselves, because such a process can only answer "'what' am I?" and not the educationally more important question of "'who' am I?" This paper therefore challenges the inadequacy of such an approach and offers a conceptualisation of personal identity which is spiritually embedded in a purpose for one's life.
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A