Theorizing at the Borders: Considering Social Location in Rethinking Self and Psychological Development

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2006


This essay provides a framework for reconceptualizing and expanding perspectives on adult psychological development through the use of feminist standpoint theory. Considering the role of sociallocation and identity in how "self" and development are understood yielded new visions that respond to and address the limitations of traditional and current approaches. Perspectives explored within this framework resulted in implications for developmental theory, including reconsideration of definitions of self-concept and self-in-relationship and new possibilities for understanding the connection between self-concept and social consciousness and activism. Since cultural influence determines the potentials and boundaries for how a person perceives themselves in relationship to their surroundings, standpoint theory is a useful tool for exploring how sense of self and psychological growth are constructed within particular and transitioning social locations. Possibilities for exploring how self-concept is intimately linked to the degree of one's sense of social consciousness also are discussed.

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