This introductory analysis presents the content of the special issue entitled “Fifty years since ‘Identity: Youth and Crisis’: A renewed look at Erikson’s writings on identity.” The authors of the nine thought pieces that compose this special issue were invited to direct the attention of readers of Identity to aspects of Eriksonian thought that they believe have been left undeveloped or underdeveloped. A number of powerful and relevant topics were raised in this collection. Authors call upon identity scholars to engage more fully with the relational, contextual, interactional, and cultural components of Erikson’s theory, including analysis of identity development within the context of important relationships; the advent of the Internet as a context for identity development; and greater acknowledgement of the impact of forces of marginalization and oppression on identity development. In addition, articles in this special issue explore difficult or problematic aspects of identity development that have been relatively neglected in previous research, including negative identity, identity crisis, and pseudospeciation. A deeper analysis of epigenetic processes of development is offered, as is an analysis of Erikson’s implication of the unconscious in identity development. Together this collection of essays provides a framework for moving research based in Eriksonian theory forward.
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