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My Sociological Life and Identity

Introduction

The course in sociology removed the notion I had that certain issues in my life were completely private. I thought that my will was the determinant of all my actions. Initially, my view on the world and my life was looked at from a tunnel lens. This has changed though and I can now have a bird’s eye view perspective. The reason for my joining college was merely to get an education so that my papers would sell me and I would get a good job. Now my understanding of the same is more complex.

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In sociology, I have been able to understand that my personal life is my biography. This defines the aspects of my life which I thought I determined. Under the biography title, some of the themes that can be included are personality traits. This means that my tendency to lean towards arts and humanities could be categorized under this title. It also explains my love for technical training and determination whenever I am set on a task. It is these aspects of my biography, I have realized, that influenced my decision to join college. I would rather have thought earlier on that decision was influenced by my place in society.

This might be so but it does not hold as much weight as the former reason. Determination is not the only thing that drove me to college though. There is also the fact that I had completed my high school education and I have always had encouragement from those around me to learn. Besides, my future in society depends on more than the desire for independence. The career I chose can also be examined by looking at the environmental influence. While it is possible to assume that my choice of a career is solely an independent trait, it would be notable that my parents also work in the same field.

Discussion

Through cultural reproduction, my parents have always supported me in my education and encouraged me to work hard. This, they say, will be of assistance if I want to share in the success of the working society. I may also think that I played the biggest role in making the decision to join college. However, this opportunity would not have been it were not for being in a community that could afford to give its children an education. And enable them to better their future.

As can possibly be learnt from Eaves (31), a student can not add up to much if they are not presented with resources that will aid them in orienting their ambition. It could be counted as a fortunate thing that I was born into a family that lives above the poverty level in our country. My birthright already grants me the ease for social mobility (Henslin, 56). Moreover, the ambition I have to overcome social hurdles is already entrenched in my head.

Thinking around the concept of sociology is the main means to having a comprehensive view of the world we live in. It explains the processes and occurrences in society. My going to college was predestined, thanks to the environment in which I was raised. Nevertheless, it does not mean that every person’s environment determines their future. There are people who do not allow their social context to determine their path in life.

I could confess to having peers who did very well in school and yet chose to skip college. They also had been given a chance by society by being provided with the necessary resources like me. This brings about the question, if we look at things deeply enough: If were common sense to make use of the sociological imagination, then it is possible for people to change their behavioral orientation? Would it be possible for peers to mix in their circles so that every individual would have a chance to fight (Eaves, 61)? I often wonder, if I had known this before, would I have found it necessary to go to college?

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On the other hand, sociology makes me think about identity. I often wondered what identity entails. Now I know that it is who a person is. It defines me. Identity differentiates me from another person. In that case, everyone has an identity and is actually very important to have one. Identity is what gives individuals stability in a constantly changing world. It suggests that no matter how many times the world changes or whatever happens I will remain ‘me’.

Identity is not fully shaped at birth. It is developed in the process of personal development, growth and life. At birth, a baby does not possess any sense of identity. It is the responsibility of its parents to help it develop that identity. As it grows, it receives verbal and non-verbal cues from its parents concerning its identity. The parents also communicate to the child about the world and the society. This helps the child to understand the world as well as discover its place in society.

The differences that occur in information conveyed to children about the world and society are determined by the importance that is placed on information conveyed by parents, their social position and standing and their economic status in society (Henslin, 423). It therefore explains why a pauper will not perceive the world in the same way that a wealthy person will. The rich person thinks he owns the world. The pauper thinks he is owned by the world. According to Eaves, the region and social class that a family belongs to and into which an individual is born to have distinct impact on the patterns of socialization.

This is also the view held by Giddens and others in their book. Consequently, every child perceives the world in a different way and has a different comprehension of his identity in contrast with the other person in that world (My sociological life).

In the process of growth, a child meets many people and has social interactions with them. The child’s identity is then influenced by friends. The need to identify with peers makes it certain that children are inclined to perceive the world from their friends’ eyes. Mead says that a child becomes an object of himself simply through taking the attitude other people have towards him. When a child adopts the ideas of peers, he becomes one of them. For instance, if a child often hears from his peers that he is a dummy, then he will identify himself as a dummy. His confidence then wanes and he withdraws into himself. He acts ‘dummy’.

Though social interactions play a big role in the formation of an identity, the self plays a bigger role. Identity is only just about other people’s perception of us. It is also about how I perceive myself. Objectivity helps me to have an identity. This is not the physical me. It means that I have to judge and analyze myself as if I am another person doing this. This process helps to recreate my identity. Thinking about what I want to do before I do it could lead me to change that act accordingly. Responding to myself is an important factor for my identity. This social conduct provides the behavior that I am identified by (Henslin).

Conclusion

We all go through a process of discovering and establishing a personal as well as a social identity as we grow up. This is an inevitable process in life. Socialization is a life-long process. This also applies for the formation of identity. Identities are changed as we grow. A son will for instance become a father at some point in life. Later, that identity could change to that of grandfather. Every person continuously destroys and rebuilds their identity based on their and their peers’ perception of them. Social life is defined by all these factors and more.

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References:

Eaves, Lucile. “My sociological life history- 1928. 2000.

Giddens, Anthony, Mitchell, Duneier, Richard, Appelbaum. Socialization and the Life Cycle: Essentials of Sociology.

Henslin, J. M. Essentials of sociology: A down-to earth approach, 6th edition. Allyn & Bacon Publishers, pp 544., 2004.

Mead, G. H. Mind self and society. “My sociological life.” Web.

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StudyCorgi. 2021. "My Sociological Life and Identity." November 1, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/my-sociological-life-and-identity/.

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