Family creating and reinforcing identity

Topics: Family, Sociology, By the Way Pages: 1 (524 words) Published: January 26, 2015
Outline and briefly evaluate the importance of family in creating and reinforcing identity (24) People have many ways of defining a family and what being part of a family means to them. The traditional family consists of a father, mother and children. However, the 21st century showcases a variety of family units, some very different from the standard of the 1950s. It can be argued that family is the most important source in creating and reinforcing identity. Firstly, one way in which family could shape identity is through parents; this could be achieved by young children imitating their parents and therefore picking up key social norms and values. For example, children may copy the way adults talk or their table manners. This is demonstrated by sociologist Oakley as she describes this process as ‘canalisation’ and ‘manipulation.’ This highlights how as children get older they use their parents as role models and therefore, their identity is created around this. However, sociologist Palmer believes that in many ways family has become less important and is therefore unlikely to create and reinforce identity. She argues that parents increasingly use television and electronic games to keep children entertained and neglect the time they spend with their children. Furthermore, another way in which family could create and reinforce identity is through sanctions. For example, sociologist Anwar argues that British Asian parents expect more loyalty, respect and conformity; suggesting that the children’s identity are likely to be based around this area and will learn to behave in an appropriate manner. However, Drury disagrees with this point and conveys that family can have a negative effect in creating an individual’s identity. This is demonstrated through the fact that he found out 1/5th of British Asian girls were secretly dating without their parents’ permission. This is also linked with Johal’s belief that some young Asians inherit a ‘white mask’ in order to...
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