Measuring Identity: A Guide for Social Scientists

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The concept of identity has become increasingly prominent in the social sciences and humanities. Analysis of the development of social identities is an important focus of scholarly research, and scholars using social identities as the building blocks of social, political, and economic life have attempted to account for a number of discrete outcomes by treating identities as causal factors. The dominant implication of the vast literature on identity is that social identities are among the most important social facts of the world in which we live. Abdelal, Herrera, Johnston, and McDermott have brought together leading scholars from a variety of disciplines to consider the conceptual and methodological challenges associated with treating identity as a variable, offer a synthetic theoretical framework, and demonstrate the possibilities offered by various methods of measurement. The book represents a collection of empirically-grounded theoretical discussions of a range of methodological techniques for the study of identities.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“With its momentous theoretical, methodological, and empirical sweep, this tour de force in constructivist political science shows how to do studies that are both context-sensitive and generalizable across contexts. Here one learns about measures of social separation and graded ethnicity; incongruence analysis of identity structures in leader statements; constructivist datasets on ethnicity and institutions, textual analysis for identifying dominant identity discourses within a country—and much more. A must read for students of identity in politics and society as well as for policy analysts who seek rigorous methods to make sense of political and social discourses decisively affecting key domestic and international issues.”
-Mikhail A. Alexseev, San Diego State University

“Legions of social scientists working in many fields of the social sciences are grappling with the intricate problems of translating the theoretical insights of identity theories into empirically rigorous research programs. Measuring Identity provides an indispensable service to all scholars. It introduces the reader to state-of-the art overviews and assessments of the most relevant methods. Leading scholars in identity research offer expert treatments of survey methods, content analysis, cognitive mapping, discourse analysis, ethnography and experimental methods. As a research guide and teaching tool, social scientists will want to have this book close at hand.”
-Peter J. Katzenstein, Cornell University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521518185
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 4/6/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 436
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Rawi Abdelal is Professor at Harvard Business School. He is the author of National Purpose in the World Economy: Post-Soviet States in Comparative Perspective (2001) and Capital Rules: The Construction of Global Finance (2007).

Yoshiko M. Herrera received her B.A. from Dartmouth College (1992), and M.A. (1994) and Ph.D. (1999) from the University of Chicago. From 1999–2007 she taught at Harvard University, as an Assistant Professor and then as John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences in the Department of Government. Since 2007 she has been Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Her research interests include identity and ethnic politics, political economy, bureaucratic reform, qualitative methods, public health, and the states of the Former Soviet Union.

Alastair Iain Johnston is the Laine Professor of China in World Affairs in the Government Department at Harvard University. He is the author of Cultural Realism: Strategic Culture and Grand Strategy in Chinese History (1995) and Social States: China in International Institutions, 1980–2000 (2008), and co-editor of Engaging China: The Management of an Emerging Power (1999), New Directions in the Study of China's Foreign Policy (2006), and Crafting Cooperation: Regional Institutions in Comparative Perspective (2007).

Rose McDermott is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is the author of Risk Taking in International Relations (1998), Political Psychology in International Relations (2004), and Presidential Leadership, Illness, and Decision Making (2008).

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Table of Contents

Part I. Definition, Conceptualization, and Measurement Alternatives: 1. Identity as a variable Rawi Abdelal, Yoshiko M. Herrera, Alastair Iain Johnston, and Rose McDermott; 2. Conceptualizing and measuring ethnic identity Henry E. Brady and Cynthia S. Kaplan; 3. Tradeoffs in measuring identities: a comparison of five approaches Donald A. Sylvan and Amanda K. Metskas; Part II. Survey Methods: 4. Between social theory and social science practice: towards a new approach to the survey measurement of 'race' Taeku Lee; 5. Balancing national and ethnic identities: the psychology of e pluribus unum Jack Citrin and David O. Sears; 6. Black and blue: black identity and black solidarity in an era of conservative triumph Michael Dawson; Part III. Content Analysis and Cognitive Mapping: 7. Quantitative content analysis and the measurement of collective identity Kimberly Neuendorf and Paul D. Skalski; 8. The content and intersection of identity in Iraq Robalyn Stone and Michael Young; 9. A constructivist dataset on ethnicity and institutions Kanchan Chandra; Part IV. Discourse Analysis and Ethnography: 10. Identity relations and the Sino-Soviet split Ted Hopf; 11. Techniques for measuring identity in ethnographic research Laura Adams; Part V. Experiments: 12. Psychological approaches to identity: experimentation and application Rose McDermott.
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