Summarise Two Theories of Identity and Compare Their Usefulness for Explaining the Real-World Issues Discussed in Chapter 1, ‘Identities and Diversities’

Topics: Social identity, Erik Erikson, Identity Pages: 3 (930 words) Published: April 15, 2013
Summarise two theories of identity and compare their usefulness for explaining the real-world issues discussed in chapter 1, ‘Identities and diversities’

Identity can be understood as our interpretation of ourselves made up from many different factors, made up of social, personal and physical factors.

Erik Erikson was the first psychologist to view identity as “psychosocial” (mapping psychology, pg52) recognizing the influence of personal and social factors in the development of identity. Erikson saw the importance our surroundings had on our identity and suggested that the time in which you live is central to your identity. His psychosocial theory suggests links between the social context and our own “core identity” (mapping psychology, pg52). He saw identity as generally stable and continuous, building up over our lifetime, with a conscious sense of individuality while having the solidarity of also being unconsciously connected to a groups ideals. This did not make for a rigid and unchangeable identity, rather continuing from the past and looking to the future as he saw this as a developmental process that occurred over a lifetime, which he divided into eight different stages. Each stage came with its own unique conflict of which finding a resolution was vital to move onto the next stage. He saw these conflicts to be part of everyday life and typical to the normal person, hence the “normative crisis” (mapping psychology, pg53).

Within the eight stages, the adolescent fifth stage was the most important to Erikson. This was the stage in which the achievement of identity was the major developmental task to continue a healthy psychological progression. This stage saw the preparation for adulthood with many people facing life decisions such as sexual relationships, employment and independence from parents. Many people look to change roles and experiment with different social groups before making a choice and finding a resolution. However some people find...
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