Describe the process by which marked and unmarked social identities are socially produced.
In order to understand how modern diverse society functions and develops one must also understand how individual identities comprising the society are constructed and operationalised. But not all identities are seen as equal. Taylor (2010) argues that every society has their acceptable standards of normality where people seem more important or good, whilst others that do not fall under this category are marked as odd and therefore have more negative identities. For example a single parent on social benefits seems less important in most societies as opposed to a bank worker. Sociologists also distinguish between marked and unmarked identities. Marked identities are assigned to people that posses certain features or qualities and usually carries a negative value. For example Raban describes his vivid experience on the streets of New York when he took an identity positioning as one of the Street People - an identity that is distinctively marked and perceived as negative in the society. However when he was part of the crowd he did not posses any particular features or differences, he was one of "them" just walking by, his identity was unmarked. In the following essay we will discuss how marked and unmarked identities were constructed and socially produced following the events that took place in Northern Ireland in June 2009.
The aggression against Roma immigrants in Belfast was thoroughly covered by media. One of the reports by David Sharrock describes physical violence and death threats to the children. On the first glance, it looks like a relatively simple scenario of "othering" of Roma immigrants by the Irish people of Belfast, whereby immigrants are assigned a marked identity of a city burden. However, if one analyses the media reports carefully, the picture emerging is not as straight forward and more than two social groups are involved in the conflict.