Social Identity In the Article “Social Identity,” written by Richard Jenkins, he shows us how a person establishes a certain social identity and how people come across views of others. He also makes a strong point to show the reader how some everyday situations let us find out too much about a persons’ social identity. Just as an example, in the text Jenkins explains how an immigration official at an airport is someone who could have access to information about some of the core pieces to your social identity.
Jenkins also talks about how a change in situation can really bring forth a persons’ true self-identity and how it can change at any moment. Finally Jenkins talks about how we all naturally judge people and establish impressions. Richard Jenkins main points of the article all help define what social identity is, but ultimately social identity is chosen, established by that person and can very well be changed at any time. Jenkins literal definition of social identity is, the ways in which individuals and collectivities are distinguished in their social relations with other individuals and collectivities.
It is our understanding of who we are and of who other people are. He states that ones social identity is never a final settled matter; it is constantly growing or changing. All these facts show us that a person’s social identity is established and based off real data not just perceived information. Even though people can try and debate a persons social identity it is usually made up from solid information, like anything from their skin color to their type of employment.
Social identity plays a huge role in our everyday lives and really is the definition of us as seen by ourselves and or others. Social identity does not have to remain the same however; it can change and often does frequently. A person cannot truly be defined during his time of success or triumph, but can only be defined during their time of distress and confrontation. A person’s identity is developed by how they overcome adversity and fight through their problems. Your social identity is kind of made up the same way.
How we deal with meeting new people or being put into different awkward situations can change or bring problems to ones current social identity. The key Jenkins says is to reflect, adapt and to change your social identity to help suit your life better. It is very difficult to do but it is definitely possible. These things can be done alone or with help from friends or family. If someone has the problem of a “lost identity” or claims they cant find their true self, they need to reflect upon their current situation and they can change their social identity for the better.
Once again this proves that your social identity can be changed or altered for better or for worse. Jenkins last final point of the article is about the understanding of meeting new people, making quick judgments and how they both affect our own social identity. If you look at a situation where you meet new people or lets say go out on a blind date for example, this can actually teach u a lot about your own social identity. It is never good to judge a book by its cover, but we all do it on an everyday basis.
The judgments we make and blind conclusions we come up with about this new person shows us that we all feel the need to be categorized. According to Jenkins these conclusions lead to “mistaken identities. ” Mistaken identities are not the worst thing in the world, but can definitely affect the individual severally and may change their social identity. Jenkins knew that without social identity there in fact would be no society because everyone would be equal and no one person would be able to relate to an other meaningfully or consistently.
Social identities need to exist and play a huge role in everyday society. Social identities help keep the world in order and really define who we are as a person. Also these identities did not just grow from anywhere, they are pursued and established by that person. Outsiders play a role in determining our own social identity but it doesn’t hold as much meaning as our own personal views of us. Jenkins showed us that ones social identity is crucial to their well being, and also is not concrete and can be altered for the good.