Sociology Index


In anthropology ego refers to the individual from whom the networks of kinship and family relationship and descent are reckoned and traced. In psychology the term ego is used to refer to the self of the individual and the way they have constructed their personality and identity in society. In Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theory, the ego is the outcome of the individual's struggle to adapt their basic drives or the ‘id’ to the imperative control of society and culture or superego. Between their drives and the coercive influence of social expectation, individuals create a sphere of unique personality. Understanding ego and Self as representing different experiential modes of the subject's relatedness to his or her object enables us to better understand ego and Self in the group.

The Ego Revisited - Understanding and Transcending Narcissism - The ego as a construct in humanistic and transpersonal psychology has a turbulent history. Early efforts to distinguish transpersonal theories from the reductionism of Freudian drive psychology tended to eschew psychoanalytic views altogether, including theories on the development of the ego as an intrapsychic structure. Transpersonal theorists have began to recognize and integrate the important contributions of American ego psychology and object relations theory toward an understanding of prestructural or "prepersonal" difficulties.

Ego and Self in the Group - H. Shmuel Erlich, the Israel Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. Group Analysis, Vol. 29, No. 2, 229-243 (1996).
The psychodynamic concepts of ego and Self are interwoven with group phenomena in a number of ways. Even though ego/Self are at an opposite pole to group, they are also what makes up the group, and are in need of the group for attaining their fullest state. The group may also be viewed as having the character and quality of an ego/Self, albeit at a new level of conceptualization, as an entity in its own right.

Beyond the Ego: Toward Transpersonal Models of the Person and Psychotherapy - Roger N. Walsh, Frances Vaughan, Journal of Humanistic Psychology, Vol. 20, No.1, (1980).
All psychologies posit either explicit or implicit models of the person which shape perception, organize experience, and determine methods of inquiry. A transpersonal model, like a humanistic model, focuses on the human potential for growth, health, and well-being.

Ego Development and Black Identity - Jacqueline Looney, Duke University 
Journal of Black Psychology, Vol. 15, No.1, (1988).
The relationship of ego development and Black identity formation was explored in thirty Black male and thirty Black female college students. The subjects were administered the Washington University Sentence Completion Test and the Racial Identity Attitude Scale. A significant inverse relationship was found between ego development and Black identity. This suggests that if an individual has strong ego, he or she defines self; if the individual's ego is weak, others define self.

The Relationship of Moral Judgment and Ego Development to Political-Social Values in Black College Students - Patricia J. Dunston, Albert Roberts, Howard University. An investigation was made of interrelationships among ego development, moral judgment, self-concept, and political- social values within a Black College-age population. Two alternative models were structured of possible interrelation ships based on the literature generated by the research groups of Lawrence Kohlberg and Jane Loevinger. Data gathered on 193 college students were probed by regression analyses. The results failed to validate either of the two proposed models, but they did indicate that moral judgment has a greater causal influence that did ego development.

Social Complexity, Threat, Ego Defenses, and Labeling the Other a Deviant - A 'Racial' Incident in the Development of a Small Group, Arthur Ferrari, Connecticut College. Small Group Research, Vol. 21, No. 4, 538-553 (1990).
This article provides an examination of ego defense and their role in triggering people to lable another as deviant in a developing small group. Swanson's theory posits a relationship between the complexity of a social relationship and the complexity of ego defense when self and relationaship are threatened. Support was found for the purported relationship and showed that disparate levels of social interaction played a role in the decision to label (which in this study's instance was compounded by apparent racism).