Examine The Argument That Places Can Be A Source Of Inclusion And Exclusion For Specific Communities

1367 words - 6 pages

In order to answer the question, it is necessary to define identity and specifically the way social scientist define identity. An individual has multiple identities, both personally and socially. These connect them to other people-relational identity; to groups, neighbourhoods, and communities-social identity; and to immediate situation or surroundings-situational identity. Very few theories or concepts support the idea of an ‘essential personal identity’. A concept that is more favourable is that ‘who I am’ is learnt and that it does change often over our life span. A contrary explanation is that personal identity is not completely separate from social identity. Including group/collective identies, for example gender is both a social identity and an important part of personal identity, the same can be said for identities such as working class, race/ethnicity. Furthermore, it applies to the concepts of relational and situational identities also.
Erving Goffman (1959) suggests, in every situation they encounter, people behave in ways to tell others who they are, what they do or want or expect to happen. People as part of social life continually interact with others. Society also has unspoken rules and skills that are learnt over time, to present themselves in these social interactions thus managing the impression of self. Goffmans views of social behaviour is that it is dramaturgical, like a play; A liking each of us to actors performing our parts as best we can to make our lives work the way we want(Taylor, 2009, p.172). Goffman also seems to suggest ultimately, there is essential identity and therefore has many critiques. Two key points of interest to social scientists; firstly, for a greater understanding of society the details of ordinary daily life should be studied. Secondly, by concentrating on what people do, and how they interact gives a moving picture of society (Taylor, 2009 p. 172). Similar to Goffmans theory, fellow sociologist Harold Garfinkel (1967) states that people are endlessly engaged in doing things; however, by using skills and knowledge gathered over time avoid chaos. It is the effectiveness, of these skills that helps create and maintain social order. These unspoken rules of social etiquette lead to society having preconceived ideas of what is the ‘norm’. This is almost automatic, yet if normal behaviour is breached without repair, it is immediately noticed. In addition, anything outside of these values of normality is viewed negatively or with suspicion, this in turn can lead to exclusion of those outside of these so-called ‘norms’.
Identities of groups refers to differences as well as similarities; writer, Jonathan Raban visited New York during the 1980s. New York was experiencing record numbers of homeless living on the city’s streets. Raban noted how negatively other people described them: ‘Long-term mental patients discharged from hospitals…crack addicts, thieves, alcoholics (Raban, cited in Taylor, 2009, P. 176)....

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