Tma 006 - Evaluate the Claim That Conflict Is the Motor for Identity Change

TMA 006

Evaluate the claim that conflict is "the motor for identity change."

In this essay I will evaluate the claim that Conflict is the motor for identity change. In order to do this effectively I will explore the concept of Conflict. What do social scientists mean by this term and how does it effect us in relation to who we are and how we live our lives. I will also look at   Identity and some of the main theories of identity and identification with other people.


When social scientists talk of conflict what they really mean are transitions in life, or changes in practices, routines or behaviour expectations.   When we think of conflict we think of change.

Conflicts happen throughout our lives. A very simple example is growing up. As we enter each phase we need to adapt, those around us also need to adapt with us as how we relate to them changes. While some periods of transition are more rapid than others we can clearly see the impact they have.

Erickson(1980 [1959]) studies how a persons identity changes over the whole of their life course and in particular how a persons identity is influenced by their past experiences, as well as new challenges or situations they find themselves in.

"Erickson defined identity as a sense of ones own continuity over time as a being or entity that is different from others." (Hollway,2009, p.252)

Erickson claimed that identity change was inevitable at certain stages of life, though the way in that change manifested was unique to the individual. Such inevitable changes can be seen as ordinary conflict. However its important to remember that there are other less inevitable changes which take place, which force a change in who we are, how we behave and relate to others and our perceptions of how we should be.   These changes may not be a gradual process they can be in the moment, unexpected or forced as a result of the conflicts of others.


Identity is a lot more than just who we are, it...