The Self Is Social and Personal Identities


The self is nothing more than the package of social and personal identities we present to others.

Since the beginning of civilization, the term self has to be in focus to identify what it entails. It has been debated by many people from different fields of academic grounds such as psychologists, philosophers, biologists as well as sociologists. In the sociological view, some have proponents of the phrase that the self is nothing more than social identities and personal identities. Self-definition is the collective aspect of the set of characteristics by which a person is recognized or known. These entail behavioral and personal characteristics by which the individual recognizes himself. Thus, the term self is a compound thing made up of different identities.

Self is a very complex matter but which can be expressed by the two major categories of identities i.e. social and personal identities. The complexity of self is brought by the fact that human beings are social and the general social and personal identities are frequently influenced in one way or the other by some external factors. This contributes very much to the conception of oneself. It is therefore quite possible to have a variety of selves in one individual at varied periods of one’s growth depending on some factors. However, the self will remain to be generated by the two identities. (Garrett, 1998)

Personal identities refer to the essential things which contribute to self-consciousness that makes one uniquely be what he/ she is at any point in time and what further persists over time, despite superficial modification. This makes him/her the same person at different points of life. They make someone know who she/he is. Such properties are in borne and unique to an individual. Hence, they make everyone to be different from all the other elites in the world. These include an array of values and convictions that are within. They are born within my psychological identity which cannot be corrupted or changed by others.

These personal properties are not bound to be lost or gained while someone matures. These leads make a barrier to the acquisition of new personal identities which might bring newly personal identity to be carried on. We can therefore in one way rely on personal identities as a major determinant of oneself.

This is because it depends on internal facts which are carried by an individual which characterizes what is inside the particular person. (Lewis, 1976)

Self is further attached to identities referred to as social identities. Social identities refer to the identities which deal with inter-group relations. That is how people come to see themselves as members of one group or category in comparison with another. They are much concerned with having the sameness of character with others in a certain group. This will therefore bring a sense of self as a cultural construction.

The character of the different group members makes others people charge themselves in line with that group. Your social uniqueness is portrayed through your social identities. How individual acts in life events in society are the uniqueness of one’s experience and one’s distinctiveness from other people. The acts are so much linked to what you do to your friend, relatives, and other people whom you do meet with. To have a so identity, therefore, means to act to fulfill the expectations of the role of others. It also requires acting to coordinate with people who form the environment you live in. this is facilitated by negotiating for interactions with others in rightful ways to live happily and not sadly with pain. (Hirsch, 1982)

It is up to point vividly that self is just a measure of two identities that can not be added nor subtracted. This is because our identities bring out the things within us in order of their value to us. Secondly, the social identities give a wider array of the external character which we portray to others and this is coordinated in what is to the inside.

This is why one of the early sociologist’s Mead said that if we are thinking about changing some features within ourselves, we must first think of changing the underlying self, and this will bring the dissimilarity between the various characteristics of a previously existing person and the unexplained self that abode those qualities. It is considered that self has intimate consciousness of something other than a meticulous perception, hence making self of an individual be a package of two different identities, which supports one another with unimaginable promptness only to achieve fully identity of self. (Carter, 1989),

According to Goffman theorist, I can therefore say that the question of personal identity and social identities are matters that differentiate the free structure of one’s understanding and self. He said that the way of our view, and the steady change of our ideas, our thoughts run straightforwardly from one suggestion to another that may resemble self as it gives our values and determines our social interactions. (Harris, 1995)

I then considered self as a combination of the two packages of personal identities and social as all the other identities are held constant and contribute to these two. This is because our identity through time consists of other special inward hidden factors which are personal identities and social identities. The others are only mental and physical continuities of self. They include psychological and spiritual identities. They are confirmation for self but do not define self to any extend. (Maslov, 1943).


Carter, W. (1989): How to Change Your Mind.

Collins, S. (1982): Selfless Persons: Imagery and Thought: Cambridge University Press.

Elliot A. (2001): Concepts of the Self. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Giddens, A. (1991): Modernity and Self-Identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age.

Jenkins, R. (2000): Categorization: Identity, Social Process and Epistemology’ Current Sociology.

Maslov, A.H. (1943): A Theory of Human Motivation, Psychological.

Garrett, B., (1998): Personal Identity and Self-Consciousness: Routledge.

Hirsch, E. (1982): The Concept of Identity, Oxford University Press.

Lewis, P. (1976): What Matters in the Identities of Persons, Berkeley: University of California Press.

Harris H. (1995): ‘The Unimportance of Identity in Identity: Oxford: Oxford University.

Cite this paper

Select style


Premium Papers. (2021, September 18). The Self Is Social and Personal Identities. Retrieved from


Premium Papers. (2021, September 18). The Self Is Social and Personal Identities.

Work Cited

"The Self Is Social and Personal Identities." Premium Papers, 18 Sept. 2021,


Premium Papers. (2021) 'The Self Is Social and Personal Identities'. 18 September.


Premium Papers. 2021. "The Self Is Social and Personal Identities." September 18, 2021.

1. Premium Papers. "The Self Is Social and Personal Identities." September 18, 2021.


Premium Papers. "The Self Is Social and Personal Identities." September 18, 2021.