Identity in Transition


Interdisciplinary summer school student workshop, Marrakesh, 6-14 Oct 2019

Hanns Seidel Foundation, and the Practical Wisdom Society are pleased to announce the

2nd Annual Interdisciplinary Summer School

6th – 14thof October 2019

Summer School Theme: Identity in Transition

The construct of “identity” has been examined by researchers in diverse fields of social science including psychology, sociology, political science, anthropology, philosophy, and in related, applied fields of ethics, management, organizational behavior, and consumer psychology. Not surprisingly, an individual’s identity has been conceptualized from different perspectives, prominent among them being role identity (e.g., Stryker 1980, Stryker and Burke 2000), social identity (e.g., Hogg 1987, Tajfel 1982), and cultural identity (e.g., Calhoun 1994, Triandis 1989). In each of these research streams, there arises the intriguing question of what happens when one’s identity is in transition. What happens when one’s role identity is in transition (e.g., when one transitions from the role of a student to an entrepreneur / founder, or from the role of a doctoral student to a professor), when one’s social identity is in transition (e.g., from an ingroup member to an outgroup member, when one transitions from a lower socioeconomic class to a higher one), or when one’s cultural identity is in transition (e.g., when moving to a new country or culture – see Sussman 2000, Mehta and Belk 1991, or when moving from a traditional, conservative culture to a modern, liberal culture)?

Our Summer School workshop aims to attract two groups of participants – Doctoral (PhD) students and advanced Masters students – whose research relates to aspects of identity in transition. Given the broad appeal of “identity” research in multiple social science disciplines, we encourage candidates from diverse fields to apply to the workshop and benefit from a stimulating, interdisciplinary exchange of research ideas and approaches. It also seeks through this interdisciplinary dialogue to practically support participants to reflexively take stock of their emerging personal identity and explore ways of aligning this better to their professional identity choices.

Of particular interest to us is research that examines how individuals, organizations and societies experience, respond to and engage in the process when their identity is in transition. What elements of their existing ‘self’ do they employ when making the transition? How is the notion of ‘self’, ‘I’, ‘We’ redefined given the myriad of social, economic, political and environmental conditions that ignite such identity transitions. And whilst transition can be a stressful experience, it can also be transformative and positively affirm a new role/social/cultural identity. What are the individual and situational characteristics that enable or impair the transition? How are transformations experienced, supported and how can this ongoing process of renewal be reconceptualized? What is the role of axiology (one’s perceptions, principles and values – axies) in fostering renewal?

We also encourage research that examines the role that practical wisdom gained from an individual’s philosophical, religious or spiritual tradition, and is part of an individual’s identity, plays in identity transition. Researchers have argued that practical wisdom is akin to a master virtue essential to solving problems (Schwartz and Sharpe 2006), is positively correlated to leadership and social initiative (Wink and Helson 1997), and provides grounding in turbulent times (Bachmann, Habisch and Dierksmeier 2016; Habisch and Bachmann 2018; Naughton, Habisch and Lenssen 2010). Therefore, research that examines how practical wisdom and an individual’s philosophical, religious or spiritual tradition affect identity transition can add valuable insights to the theme of the Summer School workshop.

Structure of the Summer School

This year’s Summer School will feature plenary research sessions conducted by Professors Elena Antonacopoulou, Andre Habisch, Shashi Matta, and Kosheek Sewchurran, research presentations by student attendees, interactive sessions with visiting executives, and culturally immersive activities. A primary objective of the Summer School is to facilitate learning from diverse research perspectives on “identity” and to provide a vibrant and engaging environment that inspires PhD students to develop their own research ideas which they will get an opportunity to present at the workshop.

Scholarships for Students Covers Travel, Accommodation, Workshop

Doctoral (PhD) students and advanced Masters students selected for the Summer School will receive a scholarship that covers their full travel expenses, accommodation (excluding dinner), and participation in the workshop, including related programming in Morocco’s rich cultural environment. Summer School participants will stay in shared accommodations (in double rooms) of a 5-star hotel in an ancient Moroccan royal city. The scholarships are generously provided by the Morocco office of the German Hanns-Seidel-Foundation as well as the Practical-Wisdom-Society.

Application Materials and Deadline

All presentations as well as discussions during the Summer School will be in English. Applicants should send a CV, a motivation letter (maximum 500 words) and an extended abstract of the research project that they wish to present and develop during the workshop (maximum 1500 words). Applications are due by Monday, July 15, 2019 and should be sent via email to Grazia Palmiotti: Acceptance decisions will be sent via email by July 31, 2019, so that applicants have sufficient time to arrange for visas and travel from their home country.

Summer School Co-Chairs:

  • Dr. Elena Antonacopoulou, University of Liverpool, United Kingdom
  • Dr. Andre Habisch, Catholic University of Eichstaett-Ingolstadt, Germany
  • Dr. Jochen Lobah, HSS Morocco
  • Dr. Shashi Matta, Catholic University of Eichstaett-Ingolstadt, Germany
  • Dr. Kosheek Sewchurran, Cape Town University, South Africa


Claudius Bachmann, Andre Habisch and Claus Dierksmeier (2018), Practical wisdom: Management’s no longer forgotten virtue. Journal of Business Ethics, 153(1), 147-165.

Craig J. Calhoun (1994), “Social Theory and the Politics of Identity,” edited by Craig J. Calhoun, Wiley-Blackwell.

Andre Habisch and Claudius Bachmann (2016), Empowering practical wisdom from religious traditions: a Ricoeurian approach. International Journal of Corporate Social Responsibility 1(10), 1-9.

Michael Hogg (1987), “Social Identity and Group Cohesiveness.” Pp. 89-116 in Rediscovering the Social Group, edited by John C. Turner. New York: Basil Blackwell, Inc.

Raj Mehta and Russel W. Belk (1991), “Artifacts, Identity, and Transition: Favorite Possessions of Indians and Indian Immigrants to the United States,” Journal of Consumer Research, 17(4), 398-411.

Michael Naughton, Andre Habisch, and Gilbert Lenssen, (2010), "Practical Wisdom in Management from the Christian Tadition", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 29 Issue: 7/8.

Barry Schwartz and Kenneth Sharpe (2006), “Practical Wisdom: Aristotle Meets Positive Psychology,”Journal of Happiness Studies, 7, 377-395.

Sheldon Stryker (1980), “Symbolic Interactionism: A Social Structural Version,” Menlo Park, CA: Benjamin Cummings.

Sheldon Stryker and Peter J. Burke (2000), “The Past, Present, and Future of an Identity Theory,” Social Psychology Quarterly, 63(4), 284-297.

Nan M. Sussman (2000), “The Dynamic Nature of Cultural Identity Through Cultural Transitions: Why Home May Is Not So Sweet,” Personality and Social Psychology Review, 4(4), 355-373.

Henri Tajfel (1982), “Social Identity and Intergroup Relations,” Annual Review of Psychology, 33, 1-39.

Harry C. Triandis (1989), “The Self and Social Behavior in Differing Cultural Contexts,” Psychological Review, 96, 506-520.

Paul Wink and Ravenna Helson (1997), “Practical and Transcendent Wisdom: Their Nature and Some Longitudinal Findings,” Journal of Adult Development, 4:1.