Sociological Accounts on Individuals Acquiring Their Identities

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Sociological Accounts on Individuals Acquiring Their Identities

The concept of identity has been defined as 'A sense of self that develops as the child differentiates from parents and family and takes a place in society' (Jary and Jary, 1991.) Through the process of socialization, individuals acquire their identities, but this issue cause different understandings according to sociological accounts. Here, I will show these accounts, and make an analysis understood by me.

The definition refers to the sense that some one has or who they are, of what is most important about them. Important sources of identities are likely to include nationality, ethnicity, sexuality (homosexual, heterosexual,
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Symbolic Interactionism

Symbolic Interactionism sees the actor as more active in acquiring an identity. It claim to society has a range of diverse social roles and identities (e.g. the roles of students and teachers). Every role has certain behaviours, and certain rules. However, these roles can change. Symbolic Interactionism sees identities as more flexible.

The issue is interactionists underestimate the range of human behaviours which are restricted. The fact is not so ideal as what they image. Things can be changed, but not all the things can, or not all the people can change certain things. What's more, they ignore the identity of structural reasons (e.g. the unequal right between male and female) in shaping the society.


Marxism points most societies are based on exploitation of some groups by others. Those who own the mean of production (ruling class) exploit those who work for them, who lack the means to produce things themselves (subject class). (Haralambos and Holborn, <Sociology Themes and Perspectives AS-and A-Level Student Handbook>, chapter 1, p2)

Marxists do not agree with functionalism and interactionism for underestimating the importance of power to impose roles. They emphasizes the class differences in people acquiring their identities, but ignore other important source of identity such as, gender, sexuality, age, etc.

Moreover, Marxism
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