Different Types of Identities

Topic: Self Concept And Self Identity And Social Identity

The aspects of identity can all contribute to the development of different types of identities, such as race/ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, and class.

While views of one’s personal characteristics are critical to identity, developing individuals must also situate themselves in society by constructing a social-identity. Social identity is the perception of oneself as a member of certain social groups. Characters that are associated with the group come to be seen as a part of the self-this influencing the individual’s sense of identity. Like self-concept, social identity involves cognitive and emotional components. The cognitive component is the categorization of oneself into a certain group. The emotional component of social identity comes from an individual’s emotional attachment to the groups with which they identify. Social identity is a flexible concept. While It remains a fairly stable part of the self, it also allows for variation across different social contexts and levels of society. The same individual may enact one facet of their social identity while interacting with a sports team, but will probably demonstrate a different aspect of their identity at a dinner with their extended family.

The aspects of identity can all contribute to the development of different types of identities, such as race/ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, and class. In addition to being demographics, these characteristics are used by researchers to understand society as a whole.


Key Points

• While views of one’s personal characteristics are critical to identity, developing individuals must also situate themselves in society by constructing a social-identity.

• Social identity is the perception of oneself as a member of certain social groups.

• Social identity involves cognitive and emotional component. The cognitive component is the categorization of oneself into a certain group. The emotional component of social identity comes from an individual’s emotional attachment to the groups with which they identify.

• Social identity is a flexible concept. While It remains a fairly stable part of the self, it also allows for variation across different social contexts and levels of society.

• The aspects of identity can all contribute to the development of different types of identities, such as race/ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, and class.


Key Terms

race/ethnicity: the biological, anthropological, or genetic original of an individual, and includes the following U.S. Census categories: White, Black or African American, Amerian Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander

gender: refers to social or cultural distinctions associated with a given sex

age: an identity classification based on how old someone is

sexual orientation: one’s tendencies of sexual attraction, considered as a whole

class: a social stratification where people are grouped by similar wealth, income, education, and the like, but the classes are open, meaning that people can strive to a higher class (or fall to a lower one)

demographic: a particular sector of a population

social identity: the perception of oneself as a member of certain social groups



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