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Construction Of One's Self Identity In Today's Society.

2031 words - 8 pages

Constructing identity in today's media saturated world is not an easy task. For with a simple flip of the television channel or a turn of a magazine page there at our disposal is a vast array of possible identity models. In modern society identity is perpetually unstable it must be chosen, created and constructed with reference to unavoidable surrounding media culture. Considering the frameworks surrounding the construction of identity by theorists including Louis Althusser and Anthony Giddens, this essay will argue that identity; is a social construction governed primarily by the contemporary media, it is created in relation to others and is fluid not fixed thus it is continually being altered in order to keep up with the changing society.An individual's identity is shaped by society in which media plays a predominant role. There is a mutually interactive relationship between the subject; human agents, and the object; the conditions of their existence. Fiske distinguishes 'the subject' be claiming the individual is produced by nature but the subject by culture. Theories of the individual concentrate on differences between people and explain these differences as natural. According to Marxist theorists, individuals are 'constituted' as the possessors of positions through the effects of social relations. Alternatively theories of the subject concentrate on people's common experiences in society through watching television, reading the newspaper or surfing the internet. It is the most important way of distinguishing who we are. Thus subject identity is a social construction, not a natural one.When we engage with the media, we act and are acted upon, use and are used by the system. French Marxist philosopher Louis Althusser rejected the idea of the 'Cartesian Self' developed by Descartes, a notion of the individual as a self-conscious, autonomous being whose actions are explained in terms of the individual being in charge of one's self. Instead Althusser introduced the concept of a mechanism of interpellation, where by subjects are constituted as the effects of pre-given structures. Ideology is not explicit, but implicit in these structures, images, and sign systems evident in the media which function to establish the individual's as subjects. We have social identities conferred unto us, primarily through the mass media. For example, take the popular medium of magazines. This is important as not only are individuals able to choose which magazine they would prefer to read but they are also able to ultilise it to construct their own identity. One of the most prominent images found in magazines is that of the thin and beautiful model, a great many females would look at these images as a source of inspiration as to what their bodies should resemble and would think that they were inadequate if they do not look like the models featured. For individuals:"Figuring out how to dress their bodies requires that they learn a subtle symbolic system, and then...

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