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Numer: 3249
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Dział: Języki obce

Identity

When children are born they do not know anything about the world and their minds are like tabula rasa. The role of parents is to shape descendants’ personalities, because they have to be well prepared for living in a society. The human cannot exist without another human, since people are gregarious specie. In the future adults will have to be useful and well prepared to play a role in the world they live in, that is why bringing up children it is a very hard work. The society influences also on everybody who is its component in this way human’s identity is formed. There are a lot of definitions of this term. Erik Erikson explains it as: “a sense of self that develops in the course of a man’s life and both relates him to and sets him apart from his social milieu” (The Columbia Encyclopaedia 2004: 23251).
Szczepański maintains that identity is retained, consolidated and stable form of consciousness. He distinguishes some kinds of this term: individual, social, cultural, and regional identities. (http://www.język-polski.pl/pts/mszczepanski.htm#_ftnref9) Szczepański claims that cultural identity it is lasting identification of a group of people and its individual members with specific cultural system which is created by set of ideas, beliefs, opinions, including specific customs and traditions. This identification should fortify internal unity of a group. Everybody is different and it causes that society becomes unique, because individuals build whole. (http://www.język-polski.pl/pts/mszczepanski.htm#_ftnref9)
According to Keller identity was a social function which was assigned to everybody and it was also a traditional system of myths that gives orientation and shows religious rules which should help to find one’s place in the world. Before colonisation in the premodern societies this term did not mean anything special and nobody discussed it, because it was not problematic. Individuals did not have identity crisis, since they were not radically modified (Keller 1995:231). Kellner claims that tribe consisted of hunters and members who found the identity through their roles and functions (Keller 1995:231). “ In modernity, identity becomes more mobile, multiple, personal, self-reflexive, and subject to change and innovation” (Keller 1995:231). Keller maintains that theorists like Hegel or Mead characterised this term as mutual recognition, one’s identity is mixed with others and it is supplemented by self-validation of this recognition (Keller 1995:231).
There are also some factors that influence it, as N. Bissoondath and B. Muhkerjee say (http://www.eng.fju.edu.tw/worldlit/diaspora/identity.htm): nation (society), personal identity, body desire and the unconscious.
According to Storey (http://www.eng.fju.edu.tw/worldlit/diaspora/identity.htm) ‘representation’ is production and popularisation sense of words which occur in language: “language as system of representation, as a signifying practice (semiotic approach), and as discourse” (definition from Media and Identities series, London:Sage, 1997: http:/www.eng.fju.edu.tw/crit.97/note/introd.htm#Identity ).
‘Regulation’: it is everything what the government regulates including cultural policy and fight over the values, sense and forms of subjectivity and identity. It is a dynamic process.
‘Identity’ which comes from different sources such as: nationality, gender, sexuality, social class or ethnicity. It is like a bridge between person and society. Furthermore it shows a unit place in the world.
‘Production’- production of meaning at different cultural phenomena such as: textual production, symbolic production.
‘Consumption’- “we became what we consume” (Storey: http://www.eng.fju.edu.tw/crit.97/note/introd.htm#Identity). In postmodernism this term, according to Storey, meant a process that gave everybody pleasure and it was a material which helped to construct somebody’s identity.
If people have a centuries- old tradition that is connected with their ancestors, identity does not change too much, because the society is closed and tight group. Wars and invasions of other countries influence life and even the structure of nations. According to Cardwell (Culture and identity. edited by Stern-Gilled..1996: 17) war is an institution not something what is cruel and horrible. It could be a good solution to social and territorial problems. Moreover, it also changes the identity of individuals. The good example is Christianity which significantly affected the whole world. The culture of pagans was exchanged for something completely different, but everybody knows that heathen’s tradition did not become extinct. However, idea of Christianity was aimed at destroying of everything what was not connected with Bible, people were not able to change their habits. The effect of the pressure from the church was combining of the cultures: pagans and Christian. In this way identity started to develop. There are distinguished different kinds of identity: familial identity, social identity, cultural, racial identity, class identity, sexual identity, gender identity, national identity, etc.
In conclusion, according to Preston (Preston 1997: 4) identity has many aspects which came from define origins and has expression in particular social context. It is not a single term which we can connect only with images and habits. “A base in race, or ethnic group, or age-set, or gender, or historically generated cultural type or language can be presented as the occasion for a reductive naturalism in explanation, a non-social base or essence of identity” (Preston 1997: 4). Therefore identity is a complicated set of social processes.

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