I am quite interested in what I call “postmodern identity theory”. I’ve tried to define it a few times in blog posts (most recently) but I’m mostly just waving my hands around. Here’s another try:
Modernist identity theory says that people have fundamental attributes that they carry around with them throughout life. In early-modern theory these attributes were shared by a group, so Brits would act British rather than go native in the colonies. Late-modern theory says that fundamental attributes differ from person to person – they’re what make people unique.
When you see someone do something, you can either say they’re reacting to their situation or acting according to their fundamental attributes. Your theory of mind says that sometimes people do stuff because they have consistent, internal attributes; and sometimes their behavior is dictated by a context-dependent, external situation. Psychologists have noted that, when in doubt, you’ll err on the side of fundamental attributes. You think Alice does X because Alice is the kind of person who does X not because X seemed like the best thing to do from Alice’s point of view.
Postmodernism says that modernist identity theory is just one big fundamental attribution error. People don’t have fundamental attributes. Alice does X because she’s socially constructed that way.