Identity - Dissertation Example

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Identity Identity is a negotiable concept that can be defined in various ways; with the simplest defining it as a self image that one yearns to portray to the outside world (Woodward, 2002). He asserts that identity is closely associated with a person’s social meaning and represents who individuals are…
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Download file to see previous pages The characteristics of self that are harnessed in the definition of identity include gender, sexuality and the connectedness to a certain religion, culture, family or ethnic society. Identity is inclusive of our looks, beliefs, fears and personalities. According to Sennett (2000:176-177), it is also “an unfolding story…continually recast in the course of experience”. Identity is a perspective (Sennett, 2000:176). This is because a person’s self-image can be distinct from the way they are viewed by other people such as colleagues and friends; each person has a distinct opinion on personal identities. According to Helbing (2010), human beings do not have a free choice on the formation of the identity they wish to portray to others. He posits that people refer to view culture and society on how far or close to the norms of the society their behaviours should be i.e. what sort of human beings do we want to be and to what sort of personalities the society will expect us to portray. For example, the female identity of a Muslim living in Saudi Arabia would be different from that of a Christian living in the UK. Modernisation has transformed the concept of identity, initially viewed as permanent unchangeable part of the self, into alterations that leads to a complete new outlook (Heritage and Clayman, 2010: Watkins, 2012). For example, surgical processes can alter the physical body characteristics such as body height and shape, face image and gender. Additionally, use of literary materials such as books and attending self help workshops can be used by people who are not content on staying entangled in the fixed traditions for transformation into modern roles. Watkins (2012) refers to the influence of modernity on identity as an indication that the current society has greater choice over identities more than ever before. He asserts that identity can both influence or be influenced by the nature work that individuals are engaged in, education status, financial status and the type of homes that owned. Theories of Identity Post Modernism Theory According to Han, Kuchinke and Boulay (2009), postmodernism can be viewed as the application of crucial aspects of modernism while ignoring others. Therefore, according to postmodern theory, the concept of identity has been transformed from an authentic energy originating from within into a mask that has been cast over mankind. The mask emanates from external factors that constantly affect human beings through determining what is right or wrong and normal or acceptable. Post modern theory alludes that human beings wear these masks to enable them fit in the world around them. Consciousness and awareness determines the degree to which human beings choose their identity in relation to having it imposed on them and the impact of the external factors (Han, Kuchinke and Boulay, 2009). Awareness of the power of the external influence indicates that people are akin to the measures necessary for enabling them fit into the accepted norms of the reality. Post modern theory indicate that we do not have much influence over identity the way we think we do i.e. we are moulded by others and mould ourselves according to what is currently acceptable and popular. The modern concepts of identity are affected and changed by the numerous message sources and experiences on who and how to be. According to Woodward (2002), the major role emanates from the changes in social communication e.g. the mainstream ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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