Identity and Belonging

454 Words2 Pages
Belonging or social identity is a central aspect of how we define who we are. We consider ourselves to be individuals but it is our membership of particular groups that is most important in constructing a sense of identity. No man is an island thing. With much greater opportunity these days to opt in and opt out of various groups. We have timeless needs for social bonding, loyalty, security and acceptance from the social issues and research centre (SIRC). These have been with us since the Stone Age and throughout our history we have created social networks to keep in with these needs. While in the past sense of belonging was more rigidly defined in terms of traditional markers of social identity such as class or religion. We are now able to select from a wide range of groups, communities, brands and lifestyles those with which we wish to align ourselves and which shapes our social identities. 65% of respondents saw friendships as being an essential part of their sense of belonging according to the SIRC. The idea of belonging is important to our understanding of how people give meaning to their lives. Our sense of identity is founded on social interactions that show our belonging to particular communities through shared beliefs, values, or practices. Are we finding new ways of defining who we are? Who we are is defined by the social networks and communities to which we belong. When asked to define ourselves, we reply by talking about our relationships to people and places as members of nations, ethnic groups or neighbourhoods. Through membership within these groups we make statements about the kinds of people, beliefs and values that we want to be associated with and, ultimately, the kinds of people we are. Developing a sense of belonging is an important ongoing process that involves membership in or exclusion from, a wide variety of different groups during the
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