Social Identity

Aspects Of Social Identity, Self Concept, Self Esteem, Self Functioning And Gender Aspects (Part 1)
Azizi Hj Yahaya


What is identity? Erickson (1968) described identity as involving a subjective feeling of self-sameness and

continuity over time. In different places and in different social situations, one still has a sense of being the same person. In addition, others recognize this continuity of character and respond accordingly to the person “they know”. Thus, identity for the holder as well as the beholder ensures a reasonably predictable sense of continuity and social order across multiple contexts. Erickson (1969) also spoke of identity as both a conscious and unconscious process. As a conscious sense of individual identity as well as unconscious striving for continuity of personal character. Erickson also used the term identity to refer to the silent doing of ego synthesis as well as that sense of inner solidarity with the ideals and values of a significant social group. Erickson(1968) further noted how one‟s sense of ego identity is shaped by three interacting elements: a. b. c. one‟s biological characteristics one‟s own unique psychological needs, interests and defenses the cultural milieu in which one resides.

Psychological characteristics such as an individual‟s gender, physical appearance, physical capacities and a sense of “bodily self”. The social and cultural milieus provide opportunities for expression as well as recognition of biological and psychological needs and interests. For Erikson, optimal identity development involves finding social roles within the larger community that provide a good „fit‟ for one‟s biological and psychological capacities and interests. According to Erickson identity reformulations will continue throughout the life span as one‟s biological, psychological and societal circumstances change.


SOCIAL IDENTITY Social identity is a theory formed by Henri Tajfel and John Turner to understand the...