Psychoanalytic observations show discontinuities of identity within persons and continuities between them. The idea that personal identity is dependent on the interpersonal world in a way that is to a greater or lesser extent permanent is a familiar one within sociological research, at least since Goffman (1961) and Berger and Luckman (1966). This school, based on the social construction of reality, used the notion of social role and its construction by social institutions; Harré (1983) has attempted to set out the philosophical underpinnings of this approach.