Dse212 Tma01

TMA01 Part 1

Summarise two theories of identity and compare their usefulness for explaining the   real--world issues discussed in chapter 1, ‘Identities and diversities’.

This essay will look at two theories of identity: psychosocial; tending to focus on the individual and Tajfel’s social identity theory; focusing on the effect of groups. Although different, both theories seem to link quite well for explaining real-world issues; in particular disability, which is mentioned throughout chapter one (Phoenix, 2002) and youth culture, which seems more than ever to be discussed in the media, usually from a negative view point.

Psychosocial identity theory is based on how an individual’s identity is shaped by their own development and experiences combined with their social surroundings. Phoenix refers to E. Erikson (Phoenix, 2002), who wrote about eight stages of development whereby an individual’s identity is built over their lifetime. He suggests that most of the time we are unaware of this and is only when something in our life goes wrong or changes that we become more aware of whom we are and therefore what our identity is. This seems to be why Erikson focuses mainly on adolescence, as this is when people tend to explore different possible paths that lead to certain friendships and life choices, he describes this stage as ‘psychosocial moratorium’ that will eventually lead us to shape who we are as adults. Erikson refers to this achievement as ego identity (Phoenix, 2002), where an individual feels comfortable with whom they are. As with anything or anyone in a stage of development, it is not always a smooth transition from one stage to another and the individual can sometimes be delayed or stuck on one stage; in reference to identity Erikson describes this as an identity crisis. Phoenix also refers to Marcia (Phoenix, 2002) who looked at Erikson’s development stages, particularly adolescence and suggested that people often go through different phases...