Major Theories Regarding the Nature of Personal and Social Identity

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Major Theories Regarding the Nature of Personal and Social Identity

Richard Jenkins said that ‘Without social identity, there is in fact,

no Society’. Sociologists see identity as related to the society in

which people live. They believe that our identity is formed against a

social background, which tries to make social interaction meaningful,

understandable and organised by categorising people in order of the

group they belong to. Because we are categorised in such a way, we

become recognisable as people such as mothers, daughters, students


The nature of identity is seen as a social phenomenon and a key factor

of our social lives because our identities are also based on where we

work, live and the community etc. The concept of identity relates an

understanding of what and who we are and also what we and other people

believe us to be.

In order for us to develop this sense of identity we need to have a

sense of self- awareness and this can be increased through

socialisation where we can learn the morals of social interaction on

the basis of various cultural identities.

Our identity can also be seen as a social construct because once we

have required a certain identity we acquire and display social


When looking as to how people obtain their identities the

phenomenological perspective believes that we attach a meaning to

reality and that we make sense of our experiences and by doing so we

search for ‘the self’ and once we have found this we are able to

construct our own meaningful identity.

The structuralist perspective places great emphasis on socialisation

as the key to social identity being ...

... middle of paper ...

... interaction we receive from these groups allows us to feel a

sense of belonging and so through this we are able to identify our

identities and a sense of purpose in life.

Word count : 1,912.


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