The Conflict Between Individual Identity And Social Identity

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Individual identity is how an individual relates to them self, as well as how others relate to the individual (Bessant & Watts 2002, p.153). This occurs as other people reflect back to us their impression of ourselves (Plummer 2010, p.22). Indeed, the body is central to how our self is recognised by others and how we derive our identities (Back et al. 2012, p.98). Individual identities are shaped in various ways, such as with others’ belief in essentialism – the assumption that all people of a certain group have the same characteristics (Bessant & Watts 2002, p.154), or via face-to-face relationships (Back et al. 2012, p.98). Furthermore, individual identities provide a sense of who we are, who we might be, who we were, and provide a sense of belonging to various groups (Plummer 2010, p.172; Willer, Flynn & Zak 2012, p.124). However, individual identity is often in conflict between our personal identities and our social identities (Bessant & Watts 2002, p.153). While social structures play a dominate role in shaping individual identities, other factors…show more content…
(2012, p.99) asserts that individual identity is dual-dimensional, with a social identity and a personal identity. Back et al. (2012, p.99) also explains that these dimensions tend to be disconnected with the culture of individualism. Together, this explains the tension individuals experience between having an identity prescribed to them by groups they associate with, and the individual forming their own identity (Back et al. 2012, p.99). In essence, an individual may seek to alter their identity, possibly inspired by figurations, however it is ultimately up to the individual’s groups as to whether the individual’s new identity will be accepted, or rejected. If rejected by the group, the individual will no doubt experience negative feelings and be quite tempted to return to their prior identity. Additionally, the group may also shift their identity in the desired direction (Simmel 1969, p.
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