Identity may be defined as a person’s description in relation to expression and conception of their group affiliations or individuality, for instance, cultural and national identity. The term is specifically applied in sociology and psychology, but the greatest attention is paid to it in social psychology. The term may also be used to refer to place identity. Most psychologists use the term "identity" to depict personal identity, or the distinctive things that creates the uniqueness of a person. Sociologists frequently use the term to explain social identity, as a group membership that describes the individual. Nevertheless, the various mentioned uses of identity are not appropriate, and any of the discipline may use either concept or use a combination of more than one concept when taking into account the identity of a person (Vilhelm 49).
Identity has been traced back to Medieval Times of western philosophy. In the modern world, it is very considerable to recognize oneself as a part of at least a single group through race, religion, nationality, ethnicity or even a particular belief. A lot of people continue to struggle with the theory of identity, to try to adapt and fit into various cultural, political, social or economic environments. A person’s identity has been isolated as a single determiner of one’s position in the society. Nevertheless, coming up the correct type of individuality can be difficult for several people, mainly due to the difficulties encountered during the identity-choosing process.
According to Mead, sociology has played a significant role in trying to explain the role-behavior weight concept. The idea of identity negotiation may occur after learning various social roles through individual experience. The phrase identity negotiation may be defined as a process, in which an individual consults with the entire society on the matter relating to meaning of one’s identity. Mead points out that a person’s identity achievement can be visualized in terms of distinctive groups, also known as statuses (Mead 14). For instance, during the early stages of adulthood and adolescent, people are bound to experiment and explore diverse statuses, until they attain their desired identity achievement or status.
There exist five different statuses of identity, dependent on whether any of the two characteristics, commitment and crisis, is absent or present. Most of the time, crisis situations are known to assist people choose on whether to pick up decisions out of other alternatives or not. Commitment is related to selecting a course of action as well as holding on to that preferred course of action. The assessment of a person’s identity emerges after familiarizing with divergent identity statuses. Every status of identity is known to play a significant role in determining the current sense of a person’s identity (Moka 1).
At a particular time in life, a person is inclined to associate and identify him or herself with the respective ethnic background either the country or nationality. For instance, a number of people classify themselves as Egyptian, Italian or Irish, but a deeper ethnic recognition can be consciously or unconsciously difficult when distinguishing between one’s ethnicity and that of other people. For example, the choice to prefer ones ethnic affiliation is prejudiced by a person’s attachment to his or her culture that is the way one eats, talks, cooks or dresses. Such cultural traits are operated as pointers of how a person looks in terms of physical characteristics, skin color, height and facial appearances.
All people are in some way connected to each other. The interconnectedness between human beings is evidently clear nowadays in the appearance of contemporary communications technologies such as social networks, cell phones and the Internet. We are all unavoidably linked to each other in this modern age of the information superhighways. The idea of Interconnectedness has continued to play a crucial role as a basic human ingredient. The conventional teachings and wisdom of the ancients have for all time been on the correct track. The nature all around us is in incessant evolution and instability and so are the people. Nowadays, a number of young people, both men and women find themselves overwhelmed with the foreign, strange cultures. They get misplaced on the way. However, they find it a bit demanding to buy their way out of the current culture adopting cultural trauma (Mead 16).
During childhood, females have a tendency of acting like their mothers do. The most common act among girls is known as the “dress-up” where a young female puts on her mother’s clothes, ornaments, and high-heel shoes to recognize herself as an "adult female." An individual's distinctiveness is their personal thing. They build it and nurture it whichever way they decide to. Religion might play a role or not; it may be terrible or excellent, but the person has the ultimate choice. Your surrounding does not merely indicate your exterior environment; this symbolizes your abode. People reside in different types of psychological abodes. One’s home existence is also their surroundings. For this reason, it matters whether it is hygienic and tidy or whether it is contaminated and filthy. Children brought up in different homes develop diverse identities. They may grow up to be smart and tidy adults or careless and unhygienic in their homes.
It is usually an embarrassment to notice an individual staying in a dirty, neglected environment. Hence, children brought up in hygienic and germ-free families will definitely have a different attitude towards filth and dirt. Moreover, they will care a lot about how they present themselves and how others think of them in terms of hygiene.
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The society has put up different standards for both males and females where men are believed to be the stronger sex and women the weaker sex. However, all these issues depend on a personal mentality and how this person views him or herself and other people around. For instance, one man might believe that the role of a woman is to stay at home, take care of children and cook good meals. Alternatively, another man might prefer remaining at home himself and performing the household chores while his wife works. In the present culture, the two choices are appropriate but the second option is becoming an increasingly trendy alternative (Vilhelm 52).
A majority of persons classify themselves based on their ethnicity and race such as Caucasoid, Negroid, and the like. Although there is only a single tribe known as the human race, many people have deep roots in racial discrimination. Discrimination is a community feature made by humans and only exists in the mentalities of those who see it as a significant tool in shaping ones or other individuals’ characteristics in the social order. Surprisingly, some individuals worship racial discrimination, and they are not ready to let it go. A person’s identity is their self-awareness and is something to treasure. It is how a person views himself or herself; how and who they are in their hearts.
The theory of the application of “me” and “I” turns out to be a vital element when trying to explain the strength of the intensely communal and relational outlook of the individual distinctiveness. This individuality is commonly considered as a difficulty of responsibilities and repossesses a logic of ‘I’, which does not depend on the concept of a pre-societal fundamental nature. Mead does not argue about the reality of the person, but disputes that ‘as we develop into more conscious persons of how our private and public pasts outline our lives, we can liberate our imaginative potential both to style our character and associations and to fight against the communally controlled affairs of authorities who restrain and repress us. Thus, a particular ‘inner self’ is assumed to live in western society, even though it is formed by people and is recurrently tailored by the “me” (Moka 5).
From a public opinion, our responsibility in the social order is vital in the formation of the knowledge of who we are. Distinctiveness can be observed as ‘communally presented, publicly continued and socially changed’ hence apparently discharging the entire likelihood of an ‘inner self’. Nevertheless, the permanent need to get away from the community responsibilities and discern the ‘true me’ does certify Mead’s argument that the personal lives are only a result of the general public. Hence, it could be disputed that I am a sum of both my community responsibilities and the ‘genuine me’, but given that the ‘authentic me’ is so open to the society it would noticeably be dangerous to disconnect the two.
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With distinctiveness (ethnic, cultural, state, spiritual or intellectual) come some types of benefits and biases as well. One’s complexion, for instance, describes what one acquires or not in other cultures. Your skin feature is your distinctiveness, and it is the one that will facilitate acquisition of your desires like a sought-after employment opportunity, quality learning, financial benefits, or social class; or make you miss all that! One’s social rank is established by their complexion regardless of how much they try to fake it; one’s individuality and peculiarity can effortlessly be noticed. Every person is a noticeable minority and can be spotted evidently wherever he/she goes. Nevertheless, you are indiscernible and your voice might not be heard in case you address people who are different from whom you are. Such people might not listen to you since you are different. Most likely, you are bound to be alienated and discriminated by the rest of the society (Mead 20).
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In conclusion, different people should be able to classify themselves with a particular cultural, ethnic or traditional trait. Otherwise, if we fail to do so, then another person will tribalize us and eventually define our identity. So that one morning, we will wake up and start to feel hatred towards other people simply because of their racial, religious, or cultural affiliations. We should keep in mind that our behavior is bound to be influenced by anything we strongly believe in.