“Evaluate The Claim That Conflict Is A Catalyst For Identity Change”

1511 words - 7 pages

“Evaluate the claim that conflict is a catalyst for identity change”

This TMA is going to evaluate the claim that conflict causes identity changes. Erikson defines identity as ‘a sense of one’s continuity over time as a being or entity that is different from others’ (Erikson, 1980 [1959], cited: Hollway, 2009, p.252). Knowing that we are different from each other gives us our sense of identity. Firstly this TMA will seek to define what is meant by conflict and identity. It will look at identity in more detail including how identities are formed and change over time. This TMA will then consider how we perceive ourselves and are perceived by those around us. How the people that surround us ...view middle of the document...

There are many types of identity some examples are ethnicity, nationality, gender, marital status and class. Though some identities are fixed, such as ethnicity, many can change over the passage of time and it is these identity changes that this TMA is going to consider.
Taylor says that personal identity is ‘who I think I am’, and that identities are learnt and therefore subject to change throughout your life. In contrast to personal identity is your social identity, which connects us to other people and places including group, collective or situational identities (Taylor, 2009, p.171). Our identity can change depending on the situation that we are in, for example shopper and shopkeeper, however this TMA is going to focus on major identity transformations such as from single person to mother.
Conflicts over a person’s lifetime are inevitable as you mature and grow as a person. From being a young child right through to independent adulthood there is conflict with your caregiver, in early stages of life this can be known as ‘terrible twos’ also commonly known is the ‘moody teenager’. The claim states that conflict is the catalyst for change but in these situations it is apparent that conflict is arising as the result of individual identity changes.
A catalyst that can cause identity change can be the completely life changing event of having a baby. The case study written by Hollway shows how Silma wanted to become a mother and then went through a process of changes. Before having her baby she felt separate from her aunts as she was a person of her own volition. She was not able to identify with them but after having Abeedah she identified herself as a mother, and also as part of the group with her aunts (Hollway, 2009, p.269). This case study shows how relational identities change over time. In addition to relational identities Silma’s body changed though she described herself as petite before and after she had her baby she has changed the clothes she wears. The new style of clothing, salwaar kameez, she says are not as tight fitting and therefore more comfortable to wear (Hollway, 2009, p.271). It can also be noted that the salwaar kameez fits into Silma’s own identity change as it appears more motherly, being the clothing worn by Silma’s aunts and own mother. This further change incites conflict with Silma’s sister who can’t identify with the changes Silma is going through because she has yet to become a mother.
Our bodies form part of our identity, an obvious part of this is skin colour. People can view the colour of their skin as positive or negative, and throughout history it has been a major cause of conflict amongst the human race. As Fanon states there is a long history of racism behind the meaning of black skin and how white people relate to them via their skin colour (Hollway, 2009 p.277). Fanon also says that it is not the biology of black skin that is the problem in relations it is ‘how this aspect of biology is treated and...

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