Personal projects and fuzzy selves: Aspects of self-identity in adolescence
Introduction: Personal projects and action theory Personal projects are extended sets of personally relevant action that can range from highly circumscribed behaviours such as ‘putting out the cat’ to extensive enterprises such as ‘coping with my cancer’ or ‘sailing the Atlantic’. They can be solitary pursuits or communal undertakings, one-shot affairs or lifelong commitments, self-generated expressions of one’s deepest aspirations or imposed demands that are profoundly resented. Such projects would seem to embody both the mundane and magnificent features of daily lives and they have been proposed as new units of analysis for research in personality and social and interactional psychology (Little, 1983; in press). They can be examined empirically by the use of Personal Projects Analysis (Little, 1983), which is a generalised methodology for eliciting, rating and examining the hierarchical and contextual properties of individuals’ personal project systems. In this chapter I wish to explore the use of the project analytic perspective to examine the daily pursuits of adolescents and to develop a line of argument about self-identity and the nature of alienation in adolescents.