Politics of Identity
The majority of individuals have things that they can identify with in life. For that reason, things that people identify with can provide a rough idea of what constitutes their identity. Many times, people are responsible for developing and choosing an identity that makes sense to them. The identity that people decide to follow is one of many critical decisions that they will make in life. Notably, some of the things that people identify with closely relate to values that they believe in, and to some extent such decisions determine the career of the individual in different ways. That implies that human beings are capable of defining themselves by picking specific identities that form parts of their lives. This paper presents a discussion on the subject of identity that influences people to develop specific personalities regarding gender, politics, as well as their humanity.
From a general perspective, national identity is a concept of self-determination that people within a nation engage in. This factor can keep individuals together based on the shared economy, legal system, as well as communication. Some other factors that define the national identity of a country include the use of political symbols, such as the flag, national emblem, common currency, or even national language. The idea of national identity is quite a complicated matter due to a lot of factors, such as the unique values and beliefs of various sections of people within a specific country (Parekh, 2008). For instance, Keller (2014) asserts that the concept of national identity can be separated into two different levels, namely the individual and the collective. The collective level at the national stage includes all the individuals and things that people identify with, and they cannot be defined at the individual level. That implies that the conduct of individuals in terms of specific activities cannot be easily defined at the collective level. However, it forms the basis of the individual level and can be used on the grounds of collective terms. Notably, the broadest group of identification at the collective level is an ethnic community or political region that individuals come from with a specific country.
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In the temporary society, there are many aspects that people can identify within a country, but still, it appears that many nations build their images based on shared ethnicity. Researchers argue that shared ethnicity among different groups within a country is one of the leading factors that influence their national identity. That implies that national identity is a subject of ethnicity (Dieckhoff & Gutierrez, 2017). One of the most obvious factors of various ethnic communities that contribute towards the formation of the identity of a nation is the fact that every ethnic community is under the influence of similar perceptions that define how they conduct themselves within the country.
Furthermore, national identity is a combination of various factors, such as the interacting forces within the history of the country, as well as different collective choices that people make. That implies that national identity is very dynamic, while at the same time indicating a strong foundation of various historical events, even though sometimes national identity changes with time (Parekh, 2008). Every country will make claims regarding its national identity based on shared cultural practices. To some degree, such factors have a close connection with the idea of ethnicity. In modern states, however, it has become difficult to identify some nations with their ethnic composition, because of the highly politicized and multi-ethnic composition of such nations.
In modern times, national identity varies from one place to another. In some countries, such as France as Spain, that are predominantly occupied by specific ethnic groups, racial composition incorporates outstanding ethnic identity based on their culture (Miller, 2000). Furthermore, within such ethnic composition, it is easier to identify various ways through which national identity is defined. In some countries, such as Burma, the dominant ethnic community can define various aspects of the national identity (Dieckhoff & Gutierrez, 2017). Despite such factors, it is apparent that the identity of multiple nations is under reconstruction based on the changing nature of culture, as well as aspirations of small communities, even though in most cases the non-dominant culture is carefully considered as the minority culture.
The basis of recognizing such factors in the primary identity of a country is based on the ability of a county to become a unit. National identity can be a result of emotional investment; due to this factor, group-specific individuals within a country find it easier to recognize themselves as one. In contemporary society, the national media play a critical role when it comes to building a national identity (Varga, 2013). The media assume a specific function, such as telling stories that bring people together by using national myths. The use of national myths by the media is a typical scenario whenever a country is experiencing a specific crisis, such as the rapid social change that appears as a potential threat to national unity (Parekh, 2008). The media uses such strategies to emphasize the shared values that people have within a country, and that helps in advancing national interest in several ways. The media is capable of promoting national identity because they have access to individuals with in-depth knowledge on matters of national identity.
National identity is one of the areas that politicians have given a lot of focus. Politicians usually exploit the idea of national identity for their self-gain. In specific instances, one of the issues that form the concept of national identity is the idea of ideologies. In many places, politicians have been able to rally people behind one idea using specific ideologies that influence some people (Williams & Bokhorst-Heng, 2016). Such ideologies, if they can advance from one stage to another, add to a critical point when it comes to the formation of national identity. It is important to note that national identity is largely influenced by politicians (Aronczyk, 2013). Additionally, politicians can prompt people to adopt specific economic policies that will in turn form a part of the national identity. For a country to have a lasting national identity, it must be able to gain support from various politicians because of its ability to influence a large number of people.
The media likewise plays a role in ensuring that people reinforce the idea of national identities through covering issues that are seen as critical contributors to the concept. Therefore, the media remains an important avenue through which general political identities are passed from one point to another through the transmission of critical ideas (Varga, 2013). The press is capable of providing endless ways through which people can develop their own national identities, such as their values and language among others.
The identity of human beings involves a combination of several factors. Some of the critical issues that shape individual identities include religion, family, nationality, as well as and occupation among others. Historically, the status of human beings was intimately connected to some specific factors, such as extended families. Such a system provides the basic orientation for the kind of lifestyles that people would identify within the course of their lives (Whelan, 2016). Notably, the emergence of domestication, as well as the creation of statehood, contributed towards the formation of large communities that widely defined the identity of many individuals. Despite such developments, many people still identify with various family units, and that kind of trend has persisted over the years. The identity of the human being is always closely associated with the family line, even if one considers different aspects, such as ethnic division or even social status within a community.
Historically, there is a lot of evidence that shows that humans are always mentally attached to their families, and that fact provides a basic identity to many individuals. One of the factors that explain human identity is the concept of group identity which is sometimes called the small band theory (Aronczyk, 2013). According to the theory of group identity, people start by acknowledging their membership in a small and specific group, such as a family. After that, individuals extend their membership to larger groups, such as clans, and the basis of joining a larger group is to allow them to secure their position regarding various factors, such as access to available resources.
Over the years, the idea of group identity has continued to influence a lot of things in the life of individuals. By interacting in a group setting, human beings have been able to discover the meaning of various issues that affects them as well as create a specific identity on such particular matters (Varga, 2013). The idea of group identity enables human beings to align themselves with specific ethnic groups or religions among others.
Gender identity is a combination of very many factors involving gender categories. The gender of children appears to be a simple thing to determine, but as children grow they start to define their gender based on what they observe from other people in society, and that helps in influencing the kind of activities that they do in the future (Wilson, 1995). Children from an early age start making inquiries into specific roles that they need to play in life.
Gender identity is evident in an individual's life from the early stages. Research studies indicate that children will make choices regarding various things in terms of masculinity or femininity (Whelan, 2016). At an old age, children are in a position to define their behaviors based on what society considers to be suitable for males and females.
Society has also categorized various things by gender. For instance, the way toys are made for children reflects the social categorization of gender. Some of the toys are made in a manner that society considers appropriate for boy children, while other toys are considered suitable for girls (Aronczyk, 2013). Based on such categories, children can grow up knowing that they belong to a specific gender. Additionally, there are a lot of experiences in life that influence children to adopt a particular gender in life consistently. Research indicates that the majority of children start to align themselves appropriately at the age of two and three years of age, and that fact implies that self-identification is, in fact, a gradual process.
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Gender identity is a gradual process and because of that children can gain awareness of which one they belong to gradually. Some of the issues that children readily recognize and that allow them to gain such knowledge include their names. They will enable youth to start understanding that they belong to a specific category, even though children do not have a clear understanding of this factor at an early age (Varga, 2013). Moreover, gender identity is evident in situations where individuals tend to behave in specific ways that can enable them to categorize themselves as either a boy or a girl. For that reason, individuals are capable of engaging in activities that advance their specific gender identity. For instance, boys can participate in particular activities that further define their sense of masculinity (Aronczyk, 2013) Other research findings indicate that the gender category that individuals adhere to must have specific distinct features. For that reason, individuals are capable of having a specific gender orientation based on the activities that are perceived to be either feminine or masculine.
In conclusion, based on the definitions of gender, human, and national identity that have been provided above, one clear thing is that politics plays an important role in providing people with means of self-identification. It is difficult for human beings to exist without identity. People identify with various groups or things depending on how they are oriented to such factors. Identity politics plays an important role in giving people, especially those of different social groups, their identity. This factor plays an important role in defining the ways through which the politics of people are shaped, especially in terms of aspects that identify them through correlated social organizations. These might include social organizations that connect people in terms of their ages, religion, sex, gender, occupation, etc. One thing that is a fact is that not every group of people involves themselves in the politics of identity. Another thing that is revealed in the discussions of politics of identity is that such approaches are commonly utilized by groups that are considered to be minorities within a country. Civil rights organizations get to recognize the politics of identity in their quest for fighting for the rights of all people.