Write a short piece about your own social identity. Drawing on this, answer the following question: 'Critically evaluate the claim that 'collective social identities are both inclusive and exclusive'.

Essay by golfUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, October 2005

download word file, 17 pages 4.8

Initially this essay will focus on the aspects of my social identity that I have chosen to write about, which are 'race' and ethnicity. This will then be followed by drawing upon these two dimensions of identity to discuss the explicit claim that collective social identities are both accepted and (r)ejected, but, any satisfactory analysis of this claim restricts the number of societies and realms of social life that I can look at. Therefore, I will look specifically at the British labour market. The perspective that I will adopt to examine the claim is a modernist approach, using classical sociological theories centred on the dichotomised model of back and white as research shows:

'Race appears to have a major impact on life chances'.

(Bilton, Bonnet, Jones, Lawson, Skinner, Stainworth and Webster, 2002 p.164)

But I recognise that this approach has raised:

'Important questions about the feasibility of discussing a single black experience in the UK, and, about the links between discrimination and disadvantage'.

(Bilton, Bonnet, Jones, Lawson, Skinner, Stainworth and Webster, 2002 p.164)

And as a consequence I will also be using a post-modern and poststructuralist approach to highlight the diversity of experience of ethnicity and 'race' among ethnic minority groups so that each group is accorded equal weight in the discussion. Throughout the essay I will consider a wide range of erudition to put flesh on to the bones of my discussion.

I feel the obvious place to start would be by stating that social identity or social identities are:

'The ways in which individuals and collectivities are distinguished in their social relations with other individuals and collectivities. It is the systematic establishment and signification, between individuals, between collectives, and between individuals and collectives, of relationships of similarity and difference. Taken - as they can only be -...