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Identity Development of College Students: Advancing Frameworks for Multiple Dimensions of Identity

ISBN: 978-0-470-94719-7
352 pages
February 2013, Jossey-Bass
Identity Development of College Students: Advancing Frameworks for Multiple Dimensions of Identity (0470947195) cover image


This book describes contemporary perspectives on the identity development of college students in the U.S. with an emphasis on multiple social identities. The book traces the evolution of the study of identity in relation to contemporary research and theoretical frameworks. These contemporary perspectives are situated within a holistic description of identity that portrays identity as the intersection of context, personal characteristics, and social identities. It explores the nature of context, including inequitable power structures, and how context influences and is influenced by multiple social identities. The authors use research on multiple identities as a springboard, including using critical theoretical frameworks to analyze these relationships, such as intersectionality, critical race theory, and queer theory. 

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Table of Contents

List of Tables and Figures vii

The Authors ix

Dedication xi

Acknowledgments xiii

Foreword xv
Marcia B. Baxter Magolda

Preface xix


1 Situating Ourselves in the Study of Identity 5

2 Situating the Study of Identity in the Evolution of Student Development Theories 19


3 Multiple Social Identities and Intersecting Identities 53

4 Model of Multiple Dimensions of Identity 77

5 Reconceptualized Model of Multiple Dimensions of Identity 97


6 Intersectionality 135

7 Critical Race Theory 166
with Stephen John Quaye

8 Queer Theory 191
with David Kasch


9 Application of the Models in Educational Contexts 219

10 Future Directions: Considering Theoretical Perspectives in Conjunction with One Another 252

Final Interludes 288

References 294

Name Index 311

Subject Index 315

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Author Information

Susan R. Jones is an associate professor and section head in the Higher Education and Student Affairs Program at The Ohio State University. She was among the first researchers to look at multiple dimensions of identity in the student development research field and is the originator of the Model of Multiple Dimensions of Identity.

Elisa S. Abes is an associate professor of student affairs in higher education at Miami University in Ohio. She teaches student development theory courses with an emphasis on identity development and is the originator of the Reconceptualized Model of Multiple Dimensions of Identity.

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“Their book conveys important new ideas, introduces cutting-edge research, and demonstrates the value of critical analysis.  I have no doubt that it will be one of the most important books on college student development to be published in this decade.” — Journal of College Student Development Volume 55 (4)

“Susan R. Jones and Elisa S. Abes have provided us with a comprehensive and beautifully written overview of the evolution of identity development theory. This book reads like a novel while at the same time conveying important ideas, critical analysis, and cutting-edge research that will enhance student affairs practice.”

—Nancy J. Evans, professor, Student Affairs Program, School of Education, Iowa State University

“The authors masterfully present a holistic, integrative, and multi-dimensional approach to the identity development of today’s college student. This text should be required reading for those engaged in research and practice in the areas of student affairs, counseling, higher education, and cultural studies.”

—Sharon Kirkland-Gordon, director, Counseling Center, University of Maryland, College Park

“Susan R. Jones and Elisa S. Abes’s work is ground-breaking—charting new scholarly territory and making one of the most significant contributions to identity literature in many years. Building on contemporary and traditional theoretical foundations, Jones and Abes offer new models of identity development essential for understanding a diversity of college students.”

—Marylu K. McEwen, associate professor emerita, University of Maryland, College Park

“Utilizing an advance copy of Jones and Abes for a graduate school class on student development theory challenged my concept of my own identity and those of the students with whom I work. The models presented using critical perspectives are thought-provoking depictions that truly present a call to action for all student affairs professionals to utilize a critical lens when considering student development.”

—Eric Gudmundson, graduate student, student affairs in higher education

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