What is Identitiy?

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Card 1

  • Identiity is a contested concept, which means that there is no agreed way of defining and studying it.  


  • Identity as sameness is based around the characteristics of features which you share with others. This is a crucial part of identity because it can push individuals towards adopting particular norms, values or styles. For example, if someone wanted to identify themselves as a goth there are particlar places to shop, music to listen and values to embrace.


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Card 2

  • Identity as difference can be seen as the opposite, where characteristics of features make you different from other around you. It may be that an individual actively decides to adopt an identity different from others. For example, consider a young person who takes an interest in drama and acing as a way of differentiating themselves from the main peer group who are interested in sport.


  • Woodward (2000) argues that for someone to have an identiy, an element of choice is required, (Postmodernism). Individuals choose to identify with something or somebody, and it is diffuclt to have an identity unless and individual has exercised some choice in doing so. In this sense, identity is about 'belonging' to something.  
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Card 3

Bradley (1996) distinguishes between passive and active identity. A passive identitiy is one which you were either born with or socialised into. Gender, class, ethnicity and age could all be examples of passive identities. Active identities are those which people actively choose to pursue; being a footballer, a singer in a band or n environemental campaigner are all examples of active identities.

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