Evaluate the claim that personal identity is self-defined

To understand how what an Individual experiences or does through the course of their lifetime can change both their view and societies view of themselves, it is first important to attempt to define what is “personal identity’? One viewpoint is a person’s own idea of self who they think they are – “the real me”. This vision can be arrived at through a combination evidence” such as childhood experiences, socioeconomic background and even possible biological characteristics.

But it is not accepted generally In social science because It would suggest that personal IdentityIs somehow “fixed” or to use the word from the text “essential” and therefore does not change. However, the main argument against an essential personal identity is we as individuals learn practices and habits that inform our personal identity as we live. Our behaviors/viewpoints and how we navigate and interact with the world changes. (Taylor, 2009, p. 170) up to the sass’s psychological research focused on development of the personality from birth throughout childhood suggesting that the majority of personal identity was largely formed by the time the individual reached adulthood with little change hereafter. Holloway, 2009, p. 252) A development psychologist called Erik Erikson put forward another theory that identity change is possible at all stages of life from “cradle to grave” largely based upon two factors – experiences and tasks. Singularly and combined these factors make an individual unique in their own right from others even of the same gender, age, cultural background or nationality.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now

His argument was that a human being passed through eight stages of life with the transition from one stage to the next often driven not by age alone but by conflict.Erickson is credited with having coined he phrase “Identity crisis” in regard to these transitions. However, he argued that conflicts encountered by an Individual over their lifetime did not have to be either huge or Insurmountable In order to effect change. Rather by creating the need for difference in terms of outlook, practices or habits such conflicts provide the catalyst for change in the identity of an individual. (Erikson, cited in Holloway, 2009, p.

52) Another viewpoint presented by social science is that the personal identity of an individual Is neither formed or evolves separately to collective or group Identities – ender, age, religion being examples. (Taylor, 2009, p. 171) In this version of the “chicken or the egg” question: “.

… Many society scientists suggest that society comes first and external categories of identity become internal as part of an extended process of identification. ” (Taylor, 2009, p. 171) The social psychologist, Michael Billing writing In the sass’s saw Identification as “a process rather than an act”.He claimed that this process was triggered by the (the individual) then modified their practices or habits in order to be identified with this group. (Billing, cited in Holloway, 2009, p.

74) However, not all individuals confirm to such prescriptive practices in their approach to life. Individuals may actively choose to “dissident’s’ with a social grouping they are associated with, only associate with part of that group or as Erikson suggests change their practices or habits at different stages of their lives to associate or disassociate based upon the life events encountered by that individual. Holloway, 2009, p. 274) So far in this assignment I have attempted to present some of the theories of personal identity in a broad fashion such as Erickson view of identity change occurring over a lifetime often conflict driven.

But it is possible to view the influences of change and particularly those that it can be argued drive practices and habits from a more basic personal perspective. (Holloway, 2009, p. 253) As we age, our bodies change not Just visually but also in terms of psychological and physical functionally.

The speed of such change is determined by many factors, lifestyle, health and biological factors being Just a few. What is interesting about this particular life change is it can be conflict driven (as defined by Erickson) such as the ease of an individual who has to adjust from being an independent person capable of looking after themselves, to being a dependent person requiring their daily needs to be supported by others. Or it can be choice driven in that an individual has cosmetic surgery, colors/straightens their hair or dresses in a particular fashion. Holloway, 2009, p. 253) Some body changes can be more rapid such as in the case of illness or pregnancy and prompt changes of either necessity or choice. Such as the example of Selma and her feelings about her body following pregnancy and motherhood. Prior to giving rite she described herself as a “Jeans manic” but now as a mother, her view of her body and the clothes she feels both comfortable and appropriate has changed. She now refers to salary kamikaze “as normal clothes” and “the ones I really like”.

However, she says she finds this change “strange” so part of this new practice on her behalf could be driven by basic body comfort but also what is seen as acceptable attire for a mother in her cultural social grouping.. (Holloway, 2009, p. 270) A second driver of change can be the practices or habits themselves that form part of an individual’s daily routine. Such occasions of change underpin Erosion’s theory that. “..

.. He principle of conflict as something that propels identity transition can be applied to identity over time for everyone, even though there will be differences in the extent of conflict at different times of life and some people will experience greater changes than others. ” (Erikson, cited in Holloway, 2009, p. 252) Again we can reference the experience Selma describes of motherhood to illustrate an example of this. She maintains though being with her baby “2417” she has established the needs of her daughter to optimize the sequencing of nursing and pappy changing to ensure she (the daughter) feeds well. Holloway, 2009, p. 268) As a But she does not describe this as an “identity crisis” or indeed a crisis of any sort.

She shares that she “always wanted to be a mother…… And a young mother.

” (Holloway, 2009, p. 267) So this life transition is one that while at this point is completely preoccupying for her in proportioning her daughter, she embraces this change and what it entails. A third aspect of personal identity is influenced by the relationships an individual has with others. Such relationships can either validate how the individuals see homeless or provoke change.

This is particularly so in the case of new relationships and/or environments where social interaction takes place. (Holloway, 2009, p. 254) But these are not only the cases where change is required. An individual can be a daughter, sister, niece, mother, friend, employee and customer each identity and the accompanying practices being required at different times in order to navigate the social landscape that is their life. The term subjectivity is sometimes used to refer to one or more identities being part of an individual’s complex personal identity.