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In what ways do social factors shape our identities - Essay Example

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Human beings are as similar as other species on the earth. However, what distinguishes us from others is our ability to use language and our thought. Through the development of a large and complex brain, our species has a facility to think, imagine, create, and learn from experience that far exceeds that of any other species…
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In what ways do social factors shape our identities
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In what ways do social factors shape our identities Human beings are as similar as other species on the earth. However, what distinguishes us from others is our ability to use language and our thought. Through the development of a large and complex brain, our species has a facility to think, imagine, create, and learn from experience that far exceeds that of any other species. We have been using this ability to create technologies, literary and artistic works. We have also used our skill and ability to develop the science and technology that helped us to conquer even other planets. Though these are the achievements in general to the human species, each and every individual has a unique personality and identity. Each one of us is known for our own qualities we have. In shaping our identity society plays a major role. This paper discusses some of the social factors that influence or shape our identities.
There are several questions that rise in our minds. How are we put together physically How were we formed How do we relate biologically to other life forms and to our ancestors How are we as individuals like or unlike other humans What are the factors that influence us while developing our personality What would be our state of well being if we are not linked to a society Much of the scientific and social groups attempt focuses on such questions.
Though every human have the same basic structure in terms of internal organs, we are different in terms of size and shape, skin color, body proportions, body hair, facial features, muscle strength, handedness, and so on. Similarly we are different in our personalities. Moreover, cultural differences between groups of people seem to be, their complex languages, technologies, spirituality, education and arts distinguish each individual.
If we take the case of a child born in a family, the first and foremost social factor that will influence the child is its immediate family then comes the friends and relatives. As the child grows up he/she is exposed to schools, religious institutions and other social activities that play very important role in shaping the child's personality. For instance, the child is born to a parent who is involved in violence, drugs and alcoholism, the child is bound to acquire some of the negative qualities if not all. A criminal parent canteach their child adverse lessons about life when their child views or witnesses their parent's antisocial behavior. Often interpersonal relationships with family, peers, and community members played the primary role in developing the participant's sense of identity regardless of race or ethnicity. Peers can also teach an adolescent or child criminal behavior just as the family member can.
In every society, there are a group of character traits common to the majority of its members these are called the "social character;" its function is the continued existence of that society. From the individual's standpoint, its function is to prepare him to operate successfully within his society. Though the social character can be determined by many factors, its roots are built into the child by his parents; since their character conforms with the "social character," they mould the child's character accordingly. In this way, the family becomes the psychological agent of society (Fromm, 1958). Emphasis on individual factors such as race, class, gender, and the geographical location in which an individual grew up influence their personalities.
Sociocultural theorists also argue that individuals cannot be considered in isolation from their social and historical context. Therefore, it is necessary to look at the society and the developments occurring around an individual. Two principal agencies, the family and the school powerfully shape children's learning experiences (Kristinsdttir, 2001). Similarly, when these children grow up into adults their surroundings influence their identities.
In conclusion, we are as we are today because of several social factors that influence us and continue to influence us. Individuals can be differentiated according to physical, cultural, or religious differences. Social factors that influence the human identities include- family, peers, and community members. In addition, race, class, gender, and the geographical location also influence once personality.
References
Fromm, E. (1958) The Influence of Social Factors in Child Development. A lecture was given by Erich Fromm 1958 in Spanish and published under the title "Los factores sociales y su influencia en el desarrollo del nio" in La Prensa Mdica Mexicana, Volume 23, 1958, p. 227f.
Kristinsdttir, S. (2001). Social factors of learning and education. [Online] Available from [Accessed on 9 March 2007]. Read More
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