Every where you look lately there is some question about establishing identity. From the Privacy Act of 1993 to Homeland Security, as sources of information multiply, others are discovering what those of us in the communication discipline have known all along, it is critical that an individual is cognizant of how they are perceived by others. Chickering and Reisser in their 1993 work, Education and Identity, point out that establishing identity involves finding roles and styles at work, at play, and at home that are genuine expressions of self and that sharpen self-definition including how you are seen and evaluated by others.
This edition of ACJ delves into the many approaches individuals take when establishing a public identity. In Robyn Walker’s article, An Alternative Construction of Identity, the reader is asked to think about how identity contributes to views of ourselves, the world and our relation to “it.” Ellen Taricani in her article, Communities of Blogging, assesses how blogging can allow an individual to extend their identity into a virtual world. Kerry Owen in his article, Myth Making as a Human Communication Paradigm, examines the leadership role Martin Luther King, Jr. played in the Civil Rights Movement. Finally, the edition contains two articles that explore current hot topics. Welch and Jensen’s article, When Should a Political Candidates’ Religion Become a Campaign Issue? tackles the role religion plays in defining a candidate’s public identity, while Victor Evans’, Curved TV: The Impact of Televisual Images on Gay Youth, explores the role sexual identities play in establishing the self. The edition concludes with three book reviews that take a closer look at how individuals shape identity at home and abroad. I hope this edition provides a beginning to an examination that will provide a better view on how identity relates to the whole self and defines the foundation for growth.