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Sociological Theories of Identity. - The idea of personality comes from the Ancient Greek Theater. -The term personality derives from a Latin word persona.

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Presentation on theme: "Sociological Theories of Identity. - The idea of personality comes from the Ancient Greek Theater. -The term personality derives from a Latin word persona."— Presentation transcript:

1 Sociological Theories of Identity

2 - The idea of personality comes from the Ancient Greek Theater. -The term personality derives from a Latin word persona and is itself an adaptation of an Etruscan word which designated a mask. - In the Ancient Greek Theater the mask represented a character with psychological features. - This character should be immediately recognized by the audience as soon as he appeared on the stage. These characters were a real symbolism for the Citizens.

3 Examples of Ancient Greek masks from Louvre Museum Old Woman Mask End of IVe siècle B. C. Peasant Mask approx. between 300 and 280 B.C. Material : Terracotta Bearded Mask (pornoboskos or procurer) IIIrd - IInd century B. C. Dionysos Mask Young Man Mask IInd – Ist century B. C. Young Man Mask (« effeminate soldier »or « blond young man ») About 150 B.C.

4 House of Atreus The 2 families represented in the Ancient Greek Theater House of Labdacos

5 Plays acted during : -Dionysia = March -Lenaia = December Celebrating Dionysos ChorusComments about the events -History of the Greek City - rules and duties to be respected by the citizens The Chorus represents citizens The actors represent the divinities and some other secondary characters of the story The plays show what happened to the famous characters when they didnt follow the prescription of divinities aim sanctimonius = give an example to the citizens Ancient Greek Theater is cultural and religious

6 Personality is something : closely interrelated to a group for instance the community it is directly related to a set of characteristics it depends on a rule which iself depends on : a position in the city the relationships engaged toward protagonists age, sex…

7 Sociology Many theories using the concept of identity or giving definition of identity Link between identity and personality : The identification : To a group = whish to belong to a group To a character = parents, friends, teachers, famous persons… To an ideal = features corresponding to what we suppose to be necessary, or commendable… good/bad, beautiful/ugly, loveable/abhrorrent… All that is also : closely interrelated to a group related to a set of characteristics depending on a rule

8 Main differencies between sociological theories of identity : one point of view first considering social pressures a second point of view considering individuals social actions Both of those 2 approaches can be seen on three main points of view : macro-sociological considering institutions, norms and laws prescribed… meso-sociological considering middle groups, relations between them between those groups and institutions, rules, organizations, conventions… micro-sociological considering individuals and their relations with groups, institutions, with the rules, the organizations, the conventions, the laws, the norms, etc. and how they can change or influence them

9 2 principal approaches - a process of evolution Society Institutions Superstructures (Political institutions, Laws, Religion, Philosophy, Ethics and Morals, Substructures (Social relationships, Social classes, …) Individuals Middle groups Small groups Social links under different levels of consideration According to the points of view and the approach : More or less power is supposed to be possessed by Institutions, or Groups, or Individuals More or less choices for individuals to move in society

10 Historical process of construction of sociological theories (Paradigms) Historical process of societal evolution (Economy, Politics,Thought…) Production relationships Constraints (Subtructures)(Superstructures) Capitalism, Industrialization Social classes (Marx) Erosion of Social Conscious Mass Production and consumption Mass Education Individuality Theories of middle and small groups Micro sociology And theories of « actor »

11 Three interpretations of the process : -Karl Marx Revolution processfrom capitalism to communism As liberation from high class domination -Max WeberRationalization processfrom Community to Society Gemeinschaft // Gesellschaft change of social relationships constraints to contract - Norbert Elias Civilization processfrom collective forms to individualised forms symbolic forms of identification (Ourselves//Myself)

12 What does-it mean concretely ? Individual forms and conceptions « I, Me, Myself… » Domination of private or individual illustrations Domination of« Individual » processes of socialization Individual Identifications and Identification to Individual forms (persons, « individual » constructions…) to Collective forms and conceptions « We, Us, Ourselves… » Domination of collective illustrations Domination of Collective processes of socialization Collective Identifications and Identification to collective forms (groups, classes…) From

13 Roughly, two opposite considerations : A strong social belonging The Individuals identity is only determinated and prescribed by the collective wish complete subordination to social code no transgression admitted any deviant has no choice but suicide or voluntary exile Social relationships based upon negotiation or special interest The Individuals identity is determinated by values consciously selected social and individual codes depend on rationality some transgressions are admitted deviants can create some changes in social habits Those 2 forms are supposed to correspond to an historical evolution from « primitive societies » to « modern and advanced sociology »

14 This rough opposition has been abandoned because it didnt reflect the reality Forms of identification are mixed : - part of collective prescriptions and identifications - and part of individual considerations and identifications But Identity is constructed by several steps which represent different process, or different phases of socialization Sociology generally distinguishes 2 forms of socialization : - Primary socializationmainly by family and relatives during childhood - Secondary socializationsdifferent places and moments : shoolship, friendship, work, other relationships such as neighbourhood, associations, sport and leisure, politics commitment…

15 So, many symbolic summons and injunctions are transmitted by those places, means, institutions What does-it mean for the individuals identity ? Which symbolic forms, for instance, can be considered as an injonction in modern European societies ? -Fashion, for instance is not a duty, a law or even a rule.. But it is not possible to avoid it completely… - Language : could you use any level and any style of language ? -Ways of being, of walking, of speaking, of standing, of behaving, of dressing speak about you and your social belonging Those elements = habitus concept from Pierre Bourdieu

16 Identity = social construction Personality usually considered as an intimate issue Combining different psychological features For instance : Way of speaking, walking… Values mainly influenced by tastes Tastes influencing choices Temper Elements which are considered as natural

17 Those elements enter in the definition of habitus and they are considered by sociologists and anthropologists as : –Social families, groups, institutions –Cultural main cultures and subcultures –Historical moving in time and historically constructed

18 A typical example of something considered as natural Directly linked with –Personal and individual choices –Unavoidable = no control possible Love/union= wife/husband choice In fact, marriage is a social matter The idea of a natural choice is constructed upon the myth of romantic union In the Ancient monarchies existed a real spatialisation on unions

19 Sociologists usually that unions are still homogamies In the same circles People choose according to : values for instance They often meet at –Work –School/university –Parties organised by friends –Weddings So, they still meet persons who –Look like them –Have the same values, habits –Frequent the same places

20 Furthermore what constitute habitus is a social element of judgement to choose relations, friends and wife/husband The way women/men speak, the way they walk, their dressing habits, their leisures, their knowings… = social codes translated consciously or unconsciously

21 In vocational guidance how does it work? Same process Choose profession/training according to social criteria depending on : –Families positions in society –Examples of different professions –Historical changements

22 What else? Sex/Gender for instance = discrimination criteria Society organised upon sexual division of Work Men = production / outside / hunting, building… Women = reproduction / inside / « care » Going against = transgression / deviance From their identity

23 Social and historical constructions always disappear behind a principle / a process of essentialisation 2 main dangers for coaching : Essentialisation / naturalisation of tastes wishes / choices… Too much attention to social origins –Notion of « social handicap » (sex, social class, ethny)

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