Define the Concept of Identity

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Define the concept of identity, using examples to illustrate your answer. Identity is a contested concept. This means that there is no agreed way to define it. There are many different socialogists that try to define the concept of identity. Woodward (2000) argues that for someone to have an identity, and element of choice is required. People choose to identify with something or someone, and therefor it is difficult to have an identity unless the person has exercised some choice in the matter. Bradley (1996) distinguishes between passive and active identity. A passive identity is one where you were born into it. Examples of passive identity would be gender, age and ethnicity. An active identity is one which people choose actively to pursue eg. being a footballer, a singer or an environmental activist. There are two concepts used to describe Identity - sameness and difference. The concept of sameness is based around the charactaristics or features that you share with others such as hairstyles, dress sense, music etc. This is a very important part of identity as it can push people towards adopting different norms and values. For example: if someone wanted to identify themselves as chav, there are certain clothes to wear, and certain music for them to listen too, before they can be accepted as being a chav. Identity as sameness is also relative to when you meet someone for the first time. In the first conversations you have with a new person, you tend to look for thing you have in common e.g things such as shared back ground or interests. Things like these can be very important when ascribing an identity to another person. The concept of difference can be seen as the opposite of the concept of sameness. Identity as difference is when charactaristics and features distinguish you and make you different from everyone around you. Like if someone decides to adopt an identity to be different to all others. For example, a young person who takes a particular interest in...
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