• Created by: holly6901
  • Created on: 20-01-20 10:54


  • Ethnic identity is made up of religion, language, where we live, ethnic origin, skin colour, nationality and culture
  • In the UK, we identify ethnic groups by their shared characteristics
  • Second, third and fourth generation migrants and mixed race people have a range of cultural characteristics which make their identity more complex.
  • Ethnic identity intersects with other parts of identity to make everyones experience unique. 
  • Studies
  • Ghumann (1999): Tradition, religion and family values played an important role in the upbringing of second-generation Asian children in the UK
  • Hewitt (2005): White children believe it is unfair their identity isn't celebrated
  • Modood (1997): African-carribean youth celebrate their skin colour as an expression of black pride and power
  • Tony Sewell (2000): Cultural comfort zones
  • Back (1996): Neighbourhood nationalism
  • Sewell (1996): six factors shaped African Caribbean males lack of father figure, negative experience of education, negative experience of life on the streets, regular contact with the law, perception society is racist and peer group pressure
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National identity

  • National identity is usually considered in regards to a country
  • However, individuals can have distinct national identities
  • National iidentity is often expressed through sport, but also through the anthem, flag and language
  • Anderson argues that members of a nation never meet most other members so we socially construct a national identity which is facilitated by printing technology
  • National identity for British people is confusing as Scottish and Welsh people have their own national identities
  • Studies
  • Kumar (2003): Britishness has diluted to englishness
  • Anderson (1983): Nations are imagined communities and national identity is socially constructed
  • Sadar (2002): Britain is unsure if it should become more european or more american
  • A.H Halsey: Life in Britain is no longer unique
  • Different reactions to globalisation 1. acceptance and all countries become more similar (cultural homogenization), Take in some parts (cultural hybridity), resist global culture (cultural resistance)
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Gender identity

  • It is argued we are brought up with certain gender roles which are socially constructed
  • The hegemonic masculine identity is strong, powerful, the breadwinner ect.
  • The hegemonic feminine identity is weak, passive and the one that looks after the children and does household chores ect. 
  • Jacksaon's study suggests female identity is changing with the rise of the 'ladette'
  • Studies
  • Mac and Ghaill (1994): The crisis of masculinity: Men losing thheir traditional role as the breadwinner
  • Wilson (1975):Men are required to be more promiscuous whereas women need to nurture one child and remain faithful to the father
  • Parsons (1995): females have an expressive role in  the family whereas men have an instrumental role
  • Margaret Mead (1935): Examined 3 tribes and discovered differences in gender roles
  • Oakley (1981): Gender roles are socialised into children by families in 4 ways manipulation, canalisation, verbal appelation and different activities
  • Hey (1997): Studied teenage girls and how the norms of the female peer group are deeply rooted in the patriarchy.
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Social class identity

  • There are several ways to define class, the job you have, your economic or social situation, your parents social class
  • Class may seem less significant to people today
  • Social class affects the economic circumstances of a child's upbringing, housing, health, school ect.
  • Social classes develop similar norms and values which greatly affect an individual's identity
  • The upper class usually inherit wealth eg. the royal family
  • The middle class are usually people with proffessional careers eg. doctors
  • The working class is made up of manual workers eg. factory workers
  • Studies
  • Marshall et al (1998): 60% of the sample thought of themselves as belonging to a certain class, 90% could place themselves if prompted, 75% agreed social mobility is hard
  • Savage et al (2001): Few thought Britain was a classless society and most were aware of class in a wider society, Most saw themselves as outside classes, Class identities are generally weak
  • Murray (1984): Underclass (Jeremy Kyle)
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Sexual identity

  • Sexual identity generally relates to those who are LGBTQ+
  • Attitudes to homosexuality have changed hugely in the last 30 years
  • Studies
  • Quinn (2001): Studied same-sex relationships of tribal people with the 'wife' being a feminine-acting man
  • McIntosh: The role of the homosexual male involves certain expectations and characteristics
  • Weeks (1991): sexual identification is complex
  • Weeks (1991): To come out and announce gay sexuality is to make a statement about challenging the dominant heterosexual hegemony
  • Plummer (1996): Homosexuality is not created by sexual attraction, but instead it is created by the process of coming out in a society which is still not totally accepting of homosexuality or lesbianism. The construction of homosexuality usually involves seeking out and joining a gay subculture
  • Rich (1980): Heterosexuality is forced upon women and lesbian identity has been written out of existence and written off as abnormal and men find it threatening as it challenges the dominance of hegemonic masculinity
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Age identity

  • Age is probably the only aspect of identity for which we will all experience change
  • Bradley (1996) identified 5 major stages of age identity in the UK; childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, middle age and old age
  • Childhood
  • Regarded as a special, innocent and vulnerable period in which the youngest members of society are generally pampered and protected
  • In other cultures, childhood is not viewed as a time of innocence
  • In some cultures, children work long hours in dangerous conditions
  • Postman (1982): The period of childhood in the UK has been shortened due to exposure to adult influences via the media
  • Adolescence
  • The period between puberty and adulthood
  • In many cultures, children hit puberty, go through rites of passage and take on adult responsibilities
  • Young adulthood
  • Generally refers to the period between moving out and middle-aged
  • Young adulthood often involves independence and responsibility
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Age identity

  • Middle-aged
  • Bradley (1996): The middle age has higher status than teenagers and the elderly because this age group makes up the majority of those with wealth and power
  • A typical social indicator of middle age is that their children have moved out leaving more money for leisure pursuits
  • Sometimes middle age is characterised by the mid-life crisis
  • Old age
  • Roberts: the UK culture admires youthful bodies and sees ageing bodies as representing ugliness
  • Corner (1999): Elderly people subscribe to a negative self-identity
  • Perspectives and research
  • Hockney and James (1993): Childhood and old age are socially constructed in a similar way
  • Featherstone and Hepworth: The media's negative image of ageing can create new identities
  • Postmodernists argue that age identities are changing
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Disability identity

  • The medical model sees disabled people as victims of impairments that prevent them from living a full life
  • The social model believes people living with a disability often find that non-disabled people fail to look beyond the disability during interactions.
  • It is assumed by non-disabled people that the identity of disabled people is shaped by their impairments and that consequently and consequently, they are unable to live a 'normal' life 
  • Consequently, the impairment is seen as the dominant characteristic of the disabled person
  • They are mainly judged by their disability instead of as a person
  • This master status completely dominates the way the person is treated and any other attributes are seen as less important.
  • Disabled people begin to believe in these labels and some develop learned helplessness
  • Mass media representations are frequently negative
  • Studies
  • Ridley: the media's representation of disabled people adds to why non-disabled people find it an embarrassing subject
  • Shakespeare (1996): Disabled people are often socialised into seeing themselves as victims and can cause 'victim-blaming'
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