The Concept of Social Identity, Social Class, Gender and Ethnicity
Social Identity is the understanding of who we are, and reciprocally, other people's understanding of themselves. Richard Jenkins believed that this social identity is achieved through socialization within social groups. He argued that by placing themselves in the role of others, people, particularly children, gain a greater understanding of the role that they should play. For example, a six-year-old girl playing "mommy" with her dolls will, as she gets into the role, begin to understand what a mother expects from a daughter and will, in response, be able to perform her own role as a daughter better. This is known as the play stage.
Identity taking or role-playing is, according to Tony Bilton, the primary way in which individuals creates and develops not only their social identity but also their personal identity as well. Jenkins noted too that identity is internal, that is, what we think of ourselves, and external, that is, how others see us. He claims that interaction, while a key factor in the development of one's social identity is not solely responsible for our social development. Social Class, Gender, and Ethnicity also play significant roles.
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