Sociology Index

Social Identity

Social Identity refers specifically to those aspects of a person that are defined in terms of his or her group memberships. To share a social identity with others does not necessarily mean that we know or interact with everyother member of the designated category. Social identification is how we define ourselves in terms and categories that we share with other people. Social identities assume some commonalities with others. “Identity” is used to refer to a sense of integration of the self, that is, different aspects come together in a unified whole. Associated with Erik Erikson's term “identity crisis” which was part of his stage model of psychological development.

The Collective Identity of a group are often expressed through the group’s cultures and social customs and traditions. In contemporary times, we have "identity politics," where the reference is typically to different political positions that are taken by members of ethnic and nationality groups.

Types of Social Identity

Reflecting the ways in which people connect to other groups and social categories we can define five distinct types of social identification: ethnic and religious identities, political identities, vocations and avocations, personal relationships, and stigmatized groups.

Other social identities can be defined more generally, tied to a generic group. Thus to identify as a doctor, for example, implies a shared definition with countless others. Another defining characteristic of occupational identities is that they are chosen by the person.

Social identities such as ethnicity or gender are ascribed categories, given to one at birth. Social identities also differ in the status or value that is attached to them.

Eamples of Social Identitiy And Types of Social Identity:

Asian American, Artist, Athlete, Alcoholic, Environmentalist, Feminist, Homeless person, Jewish, Military veteran, Mother, Republican, Parent, Person with AIDS, Psychologist, Southerner, Teenager, West Indian, Widow.