“Evaluate the Claim That Conflict Is a Catalyst for Identity Change”

“Evaluate the claim that conflict is a catalyst for identity change”

This TMA is going to evaluate the claim that conflict causes identity changes. Erikson defines identity as ‘a sense of one’s continuity over time as a being or entity that is different from others’ (Erikson, 1980 [1959], cited: Hollway, 2009, p.252). Knowing that we are different from each other gives us our sense of identity. Firstly this TMA will seek to define what is meant by conflict and identity. It will look at identity in more detail including how identities are formed and change over time. This TMA will then consider how we perceive ourselves and are perceived by those around us. How the people that surround us can influence how we identify ourselves. This is followed by how identity interacts within society as a whole. How an identity can be marked by society and how this can define us as individuals. Finally this TMA will conclude showing that conflict can be a catalyst for identity change but is not always the case.
Erikson highlights that identity transformations occur over the course of our lives. He says that there are eight stages throughout life upon which our identity is changed in different ways through what he calls ‘identity crises’ (Hollway, 2009, p.252). The use of the word crises would suggest that conflict is present at each stage in our lives as identity changes are happening. Conflict is defined in the Oxford dictionary as ‘a state of mind in which a person experiences a clash of opposing feelings or needs’ (Oxford Dictionary). Included is the inner conflict we feel when we are pulled between the different people in our lives, for example a teenager trying to create their own sense of self whilst under the influence of both their parents and their peer group. What is not clear is if the conflict is a catalyst for identity change, or arises as a result of already existing changes. There are many types of identity some examples are ethnicity, nationality, gender,...