Revisiting Erik Erikson’s Legacy on Culture, Race, and Ethnicity

Moin Syed, Jillian Fish

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Erik Erikson is seldom associated with work on culture, race, and ethnicity. What is ironic about this lack of association is not only that Erikson did consider these factors but that they figured prominently into his theorizing. The purpose of this article is to provide an analysis of Erikson’s views that is more accurate than is what is typically represented by (1) reviewing a brief history of empirical research on identity development since Erikson, (2) providing a broad summary of Erikson’s writing on how identity is shaped by culture, race, and ethnicity, (3) arguing that Erikson’s work suggests that historical trauma serves as an ideological setting for the identity development of marginalized groups, and (4) describing how historical trauma is associated with threats to temporal identity integration or self-continuity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)274-283
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • African Americans
  • Erikson
  • Native Americans
  • culture
  • ethnicity
  • historical trauma
  • identity
  • identity integration
  • race
  • self-continuity


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