- Published: August 26, 2022
- Updated: August 26, 2022
- University / College: New York University (NYU)
- Language: English
- Downloads: 44
Nationality usually involves the rights and responsibilities to being a citizen such as health care and education, having a passport and paying taxes which is a part of an individual identity which primarily defines ‘ who you are’, as Woodward suggested. Nationality is often based on place of birth or marriage but can also be achieved through naturalization, where people choose their nationality after meeting legal requirements which contributes to our understanding of how identity is shaped by nationality.
A national identity is formed by the agencies of socialisation (primary and secondary), through which it is passed from one generation to the next. Hall suggests that every nation has a collection of stories and symbols which help people to construct their national identity. In Britain; the Queen, national foods (e. g. fish and chips) and drinks (e. g. tea), national sports, dress, music, language, flag and an anthem help individuals to construct their national identity.
This helps us to understand how social identity is shaped by nationality because this gives people a sense of belonging to a nation-state and allows them to share things in common with others of the same nationality. National identity and nationalism (sense of pride and commitment to a nation) are usually linked to nationality and membership of a nation-state, but this is not necessarily the case in Britain. This is because Britain is made up of a wide variety of ethnic groups including the English, Scottish, Poles, Asians and African Carribeans, therefore it’s difficult to identify a specific British identity.
Some sociologists argue that there is a ‘ British identity crisis’ as core values like tolerance, respect, freedom of speech and justice are declining features of British identity in particular, as they are found in all Western democratic countries. Hall suggested that globalization is changing national cultures, leading to new cultures of hybridity and new hybrid identities. This is spread through the mass media (such as the internet) and people are now exposed to other cultures including attitudes, values, religious beliefs, fashions and diets.
For example, it is difficult to identify a ‘ British diet’ with Italian, Chinese, Polish and Indian food available in Britain. This contributes to our understanding of how identity is shaped by nationality because postmodernists see such changes opening up more opportunities for people to choose from a far wider range of cultures and identities than they had in the past. Sociologists such as Shakespeare contribute to our understanding of how identity is shaped by disability.
He suggested that disability is a social construction – a problem created by the attitudes of society and not by the state of our bodies because those who are disabled do not meet the society’s stereotype of what is seen as ‘ normal’. Such stereotypes can be presented to us through the primary socialisation if your mum and dad ever made negative comments about disabled people among each other, but also, the stereotypes are presented to us through secondary socialisation.
For example, media images of disability are often linked with being dependent on others, presenting them as wicked people who ‘ aren’t like other people’. Therefore, due to the stereotypes, disabled people may experience difficulty in asserting their own choice of identity because their disability becomes their ‘ master status’ e. g if there is a man on a wheelchair, the first thing you see is the wheelchair and the disability but you do not see a friendly business man and a father who likes to travel.
This leads to carrying a label ‘ disabled’ which then becomes what Goffman identified as a stigmatized identity which prevents people with impairments from achieving full social acceptance. This helps us to understand of how social identity is shaped by disability because it becomes an identity marking people out as different from others. The stigma attached to disability can also become an identity of exclusion (excluding disabled people from full participation in society) which involves discrimination in employment, mocking, unnecessary physical barriers in buildings and streets.
Furthermore, disabled people may fail at what Goffman called ‘ impression management’ because stereotypes of disability spoil their presentation of self, and the identity they wish to project to others through managing the impressions others have of them. This contributes to our understanding of how identity is shaped through disability because this shows that such hegemonic identity mostly defines them as individuals, whether they want it or not; constructing their identity.