Identity Structure Analysis - Community


What is ISA?

As well as other methods, such as ethnographic, community projects use the ISA (Identity Structure Analysis) conceptualisation of identity processes. This approach prioritises the differing value and belief systems that individuals hold, especially as these are influenced by different cultural contexts in multi-cultural communities. Identity instruments are customised in the language of the participants in a study and take into account issues of greatest salience to them, so that people's identifications with others may be assessed in their own terms. ISA is a conceptual framework of explicitly defined psychological concepts and process postulates that enable in-depth investigation of complex identity processes. A more detailed explanationof ISA will be found at Identity Structure Analysis - Academia


How does ISA operate in the community?

Ethnography provides the basis for creating bespoke identity instruments that take into account concerns of the participants in a community study. Themes of major import to participants and community agencies are formulated and incorporated within the customised instrument. The various individuals, community groups and social organisations related to these themes are identified as focal domains and become featured within the instrument. ISA provides the means by which individuals' perspectives on themes are assessed in relation to the various focal domains of self and other agencies in the community, thereby revealing how people's identity processes both encompass these others and contribute to conceptions of community processes.


What is assessed?

ISA is an integrated qualitative and qualitative approach that keeps the qualitative aspects of identity clearly visible as they feature in relation to quantitative parameters of identity. The qualitative aspects are the various people and institutions that constitute the nexus of individuals' patterns of identification and the individuals' discourses as used by them to appraise the community. The quantitative parameters include degrees of identification (both in aspirational and empathetic modes) with others and agencies, extents to which dimensions of identity encompassing values and beliefs are core to the person's identity or conflicted and uncertain aspects of identity. Quantitative assessments of self-evaluation and identity diffusion provide evidence of the person's state of well-being or distressed identity. The significance of other individuals, groups and social organisations to the person's identity processes is also assessed quantitatively. For practical investigations ISA is facilitated by the Ipseus software.



Matters that are currently receiving close scrutiny by Identity Exploration using the Identity Structure Analysis (ISA) approach are social policy issues concerning the mentoring of troubled youth in Manchester, England, the identification of extremist propensities in the community and associated identity processes, the identity processes of influential networks in housing enclaves in Northern Ireland in respect to their contributions to, or reactions against, community cohesion or conflict, and a number of other community issues at home and abroad. National and ethnic identity processes are currently a vigorous area of ISA investigation for which the profound significance of primordialist sentiments and situationalist perspective have been established cross-cultural and cross-nationally.

Projects using ISA include: the identity processes of the makers of the urban environment (architects and town planners) and male and female users of this environment; vicarious traumatisation of professionals engaged with catastrophic events; screening for radical fundamentalism ranging from extreme nationalist to religious fanaticism; directing the implementation of mentoring of disaffected young people; national identity processes in relation to the European Union and other ethnicities or nationals in the nation state.

Delivered By:

Ipseus Identity Exploration Software

Delivered using the latest developments in ISA through our bespoke software system, Ipseus.

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