• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Is identity given to us or do we create our own?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Is identity given to us or do we create our own? The fact that our society, social institutions, arrangements and practices existed before we were born meant that we make associations with the living and the dead, in a socially constructed world created by past and present generations: 'The individual ...is not born a member of society, but becomes a member of society'. (Haralambos, 1980 p.3) In order to develop a sense of identity it is necessary to have self-awareness. As infants we have a lot to learn: 'It (new born baby) must learn a way of life; in sociological terminology, it must learn the culture of life'. (Haralambos, 1980 p.3) Every culture contains a large number of norms that guide our action and define what is acceptable and what is not. Unlike norms values are something's that are good or desirable. Values define what is important. Many sociologists believe that shared norms and values are essential for an ordered and stable human society. Culture has two essential qualities. First it has to be learned and second it has to be shared. ...read more.

Middle

Interactionists believe that individuals are conscious, self-aware and that their individual social action is not simply a reaction to external forces. The first school of Interactionist thought is from Max Weber (1864 - 1920) who wanted to explain how our social actions have meaning to us. He believed that our individual behaviours and actions would take into consideration the reaction of others. Also that this action would be interpreted/understood in different ways. Weber distinguishes two types of understanding. First aktuelles Verstehen (or direct observational understanding) and erkalarendes verstehen (or explanatory understanding). These understandings would mean that as individuals we are conscious and self-aware as to why we do certain things. George H. Mead (1863 - 1931) who also argues in 'Mind, Self and Society' that we are each conscious, thinking, individuals and the way choose to behave is conditioned by the social context of that behaviour. Our behaviour argues Mead is conditioned by two aspects of self-awareness, I and Me. I is based around your opinion of yourself as a whole. Me is based around what other people expect. The I and Me are called The Self. ...read more.

Conclusion

Under Marxist theory social class is the most important source of self-image and self-identity. To answer the question of whether identity is created or given to us I have used two different sociological approaches, structural and social action. In my conclusion I would like to mention one last theory by Anthony Giddens who incorporates both structure and agency in his theory. Giddens believes that there is a complex interplay between structures in society and our social action as agents: 'A double involvement or interdependence in which human beings create society and at the same time are created by it....sometimes referred to as a dialectical relationship'. (Bilton, Bonnet, Jones, Lawson, Skinner, Stanworth, Webster 2002 p.18) I agree with this view that the process in which my identity is created is a result of social structures and human creativity interacting rather than them being separate. As C. Wright Mills observed: 'Every individual lives, from one generation to the next, in some society...he lives out a biography, and...he lives it out within some historical sequence. By the fact of his living he contributes, however minutely, to the shaping of his society and to the course of its history, even as he is made by society and by it's historical push and shove'. (Mills, 1970 p. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Sociology essays

  1. ‘Gender Identity is not simply a matter of biology’

    who underwent an operation at seven months so that she took on the appearance of a girl. At seventeen months old her name was changed from a boy to a girl and later she was dressed in girls clothes. Afterwards her mother commented on how feminine she had become.

  2. A-Level Sociology Theory + Methods Revision.

    With certain phenomena, other methods are inappropriate. E.g. community studies, it would be impossible to get the same quality of insights. * Useful for development of other sociologists. An e.g. of this is Paul Willis's study of a single school which produced a no# of hypothesis about the relationship between education + capitalist societies.

  1. classifications and social identity What have you learnt thus far about your identity and/or ...

    * Comparison: We compare our groups with other groups, seeing a favorable bias toward the group to which we belong. Many people feel pride in their identity groups, which furthers a sense of community and belonging. Often they will attempt to add to their identity by behaving in certain ways

  2. In order for us to understand why sociological theories could be classified into 'consensus' ...

    They explained change as emerging from the crisis between human beings and their society. They argued that Marx's theory was a theory characterised by class conflicts or the conflict between the bourgeoisie (rich, owners) and the proletariat (poor, workers). What these people or Radical Humanists are stressing is the human

  1. Max Weber: Basic Terms (The Fundamental Concepts of Sociology)

    Since some of these folks believed grace subject to repentance, by the creation of methods to induce repentance even the attainment of divine grace became in effect an object of rational human activity. Methodism Though rebirth, an emotional certainty of salvation as the immediate result of faith was an important factor, the emotional act of conversion was methodically induced.

  2. Max Weber (1864 - 1920)

    After this process the lifeworld 'is no longer needed for the co-ordination of action'. This results in humans ('lifeworld actors') losing a sense of responsibility with a chain of negative social consequences. Lifeworld communications lose their purpose becoming irrelevant for the co-ordination of central life processes.

  1. Evaluate Mill's liberty principle. What does Mill mean by liberty? What other principles are ...

    Liberty gains a new meaning. Freedom is democratic political participation, and the ability to exert power on rulers; in other words, access to power rather than protection from power. In this stage, the people believe that tyranny is impossible, because they themselves are in power - they surely cannot tyrannise themselves?

  2. Gender Socialisation

    that women were the homemakers and belonged in the running of the household and bringing up of children and the supporting of their husbands. Women were viewed as morally better to their male counterparts and had to be protected from the rough world of politics.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work