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Noted Identity Theory Researcher's Lecture to Kick Off Libraries' 'Art and Self Perception Series' Sept. 13

September 6, 2012

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MACOMB, IL – Next week, a lecture delivered by Sheldon Stryker, distinguished professor emeritus (sociology) from Indiana University, Bloomington, will kick off Western Illinois University Libraries' "Art and Self Perception" event series (see "Libraries Coordinating 'Art and Self Perception' at WIU-Macomb, Figge Museum in QC").

Stryker's lecture, "The Travels of Self and Identity Theory: From Packing the Suitcases to Brief Visits to Ports Close (Other Orientations to Social Psychology and Other Fields of Interest Within Sociology, Other Social Sciences) and Distant (Art, Evolutionary Neurology, Structural Linguistics, Contemporary Cognitive Psychology)," is slated to start at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13 in Morgan Hall, room 109.

According to Stryker, the beginning of his lecture briefly reviews the importance and substance of a structural symbolic interactionist theoretical frame and a derivative of that frame, identity theory.

"This review argues the utility of the former and the validity of the latter, criteria of sound theoretical work in any discipline," he said. "However, given that all frames and theories are, necessarily, partial, their value also derives from their capacity to relate to issues in other frames, theories and disciplines. The bulk of my talk deals with this 'bridging' capacity of the interactionist frame and identity theory, giving meaning to the traveling metaphor of the title of my talk."

According to Indiana University's website (see, Stryker has served in multiple leadership roles at Indiana University since he began his tenure in 1951, most importantly, serving as director of the National Institute of Medical Health (NIMH) sponsored predoctoral and postdoctoral training program in social psychology (1977-2000). His current research focuses on extending identity theory; on applying that theory to social movement phenomena; and on advancing the project of meeting the responsibility of a sociological social psychology to examine social psychological processes in their social structural contexts.

Bridget Welch, assistant professor of sociology in Western's sociology and anthropology department, noted the department is delighted to work with University Libraries to bring Stryker to WIU.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for our students to hear from the theorist who developed structural symbolic interaction and has extended social psychology into so many other fields," Welch said.

A complete list of events and lectures in the Libraries' "Art and Self Perception" series is available at

Stryker Bio

Stryker is a distinguished professor of sociology emeritus at Indiana University Bloomington. His career expands some 62 years; the most recent 45 has been devoted to the development of a structural symbolic interactional frame and of identity theory that seeks to understand both the facilitation of and social constraints on role related choices that inhere in being a member of an organized society. In the course of his career, he has published several books, book chapters and journal articles. Additionally, for more than 20 years he directed an NIMH-sponsored predoctoral and postdoctoral interdisciplinary training program in social psychology focusing on self and identity, served as editor of the American Sociological Review, the Social Psychology Quarterly and the Arnold Rolse Monograph Series. He received the Cooley-Mead Award for lifetime research achievements from the Social Psychology Section of the American Sociological Association; the George Herbert Mead Award for lifetime contributions of the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction; the Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding scholarly achievements of the International Society for Self and Identity; and in 2009, the W.E.B. Du Bois Career Scholarly Achievement Award from the American Sociological Association.

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