Evaluate the claim that conflict is the ‘motor for identity change’
In this essay I will be evaluating the claim that conflict is the ‘motor for identity change’. Erik Erikson, a German-born American developmental psychologist, defined identity as ‘a sense of one’s continuity over time as a being or entity that is different from other’s’ (Erikson, 1980 , cited: Holloway, 2009, page 252) Identity is important in everyday life as it enables people to become different from each other, for example, be their own person with their own views. This essay aims to define what is meant by conflict and how this relates to identity and how it can change. I will be looking at identity in more detail and outlining how identities are formed over time in a person’s life and how these can change depending on their surroundings. I will also be looking at how these identities are then perceived by other people around us, for example, people within or other communities and countries with different views to our own. In many cases, the views of the people that we surround ourselves with can often influence how we identify ourselves and we can quite often find ourselves changing to suit different societies. Finally, in this essay I will be showing how although conflict is often the ‘motor for identity change’, in some situations it is not always the case.
Erik Erikson was a psychologist writing in the 1950s and was interested in how identity change was accomplished over the whole of a person’s life course. He studied how past experiences influenced a person’s identity and how new tasks could often change or alter their identity. Erikson believed that there are eight stages throughout life where our identity is changed in different ways. These stages included: infancy, adolescence and old age. These stages are what Erikson referred to as ‘identity crises’. The word crises may suggest that Erikson felt that conflict is present at each stage of a person’s life while...