Evaluate the Claim That Personal Identity Is Self-Defined

Topics: Race and Ethnicity, Human skin color, Personal life Pages: 4 (1397 words) Published: September 26, 2012
Evaluate the claim that personal identity is self-defined

In order to evaluate the statement, this piece of work will identify what defines a person identity, what conflicts in life can alter our identity, theories on identification and then a look into a person’s ethnicity and how this defines and alters a person’s identity. The public are consistently being requested to complete forms that try and put our identities into a box for statistical purposes, for example, nationality, race, gender and marital status (Clarke, 2009). Are they trying to identify us as individuals or label us with identities we don’t necessarily agree with and take away our ability to self-define our identity?

Psychologist Erik Erikson defines identity as ‘a sense of continuity over time as a being or entity that is different from others’ (Clarke, 2009, Pg252). We all have our own identities that are different than the person stood next to us, but he believed that it doesn’t stay the same identity throughout a person’s lifetime. We all go through different stages during our lifetime; babies, childhood, adolescence, adulthood and then to old age – Each forging a new identity for us not only based on past experiences but on conflicts and experiences that challenge us in everyday life and the future. In everyday life, conflicts dictate the identity we hold and portray, such as the relationships, ageing, habits and practices which can all profoundly affect our identity. As we get older our body ages and our identity alters, this is something that we have no control over. Although, some people actually choose to change their appearance and therefore identity, by cosmetic surgery, changing their physique through exercise or simply changing your hair colour (Clarke, 2009). The clothes you choose to wear can define your identity, or at least the identity you want to portray to others. The past times people choose, for instance, the music they listen to and their leisure activities can...
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