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Chapter Summary

This chapter is written on the conviction that the social world is affected in important ways by the phenomenon of the “vocation.” The power of a vocation comes from its social psychological fusion of multiple identities into a transcending self. One might distinguish between a short-term but ultimate fusion of the self into one identity and a long-term commitment around which many other identities are structured. Vocation as a self-meaning is a function and shaper of self-forming institutional narratives. Analytically, the moral standing of any vocation derives from its social contextualization. The content of a vocation-both the call perceived and the particular character, endowments, and position of the self receiving that call-change as the individual’s temporally-defined horizons change. What does remain constant throughout the course of life is the “I”; what happened to one in the past happened to the person to whom things happen today.

Keywords: social contextualization; vocation



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