What is the Difference Between Personal and Social Identity

The main difference between personal and social identity is that personal identity relates to how you see yourself as different from others, while social identity relates to how you identify yourself in relation to others according to what you share in common with others.

In other words, personal identity focuses on the differences you share with others and what makes you unique, whereas social identity focuses on the similarities you share with others and what makes you a part of a social group.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Personal Identity
     – Definition, Features 
2. What is Social Identity
     – Definition, Features
3. Difference Between Personal and Social Identity
    – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms

Personal Identity, Social Identity

Difference Between Personal and Social Identity - Comparison Summary

What is Personal Identity

Personal identity is basically about how you see yourself as different from others. It involves what defines you as a person, what makes you the person you are, and what makes you different from others. Personal identity may involve choices you make in life, such as your career, hobbies, and interests, as well as aspects of your life that you have no control over, such as your skin color or where you grew up. Factors like your family background, the roles you play in life (older sister, class monitor, girl scout, etc.), personality traits, and education also play an important role in forming your personal identity.

Compare Personal and Social Identity - What's the difference?

Furthermore, you outwardly demonstrate parts of your personal identity by how you behave with people and what you wear. But you also keep some parts of your personal identity to yourself. It’s also important to know that personal identity can develop over time and can evolve depending on the direction your life takes. For example, at 25 years old, you might identify yourself as a member of the lower-middle class and may belong to a particular faith, but at 40, you might have changed your faith and is a member of the upper-middle class.

What is Social Identity

Social identity is about how you identify yourself in relation to others according to what you share in common with others. In other words, it’s the identity you share with similar group members. For example, you can identify yourself according to your religion (e.g., Islam, Hindu, Catholic), where you’re from (e.g., Asian, New Yorker, Chinese), your political affiliation (e.g., Democrat, Republican, Environmentalist), etc. Some other categories in social identity include race, social class, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, citizenship, and disabilities.

Personal vs Social Identity

A person may have multiple social identities, for example, Asian homosexual woman or Hindu New Yorker. Social identities are something humans create together as a society. Belonging to a specific social identity category usually gives people a sense of belonging and community. It also makes them feel that they are one of a group.

Difference Between Personal and Social Identity

Definition

Personal identity involves how you see yourself as different from others, while social identity involves how you identify yourself in relation to others according to what you share in common with others.

Similarities vs Differences

The personal identity focuses on the differences among people, whereas social identity focuses on similarities people share.

Nature

While personal identity gives you a sense of self-based on your unique traits and history, social identity gives a sense of belonging to a group of people.

Composition

Personal identity may involve choices you make in life, such as your career, hobbies, and interests, as well as aspects of your life that you have no control over, such as your skin color or where you grew up. Social identity, on the other hand, is made up of elements like religion, race, social class, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, citizenship, and disabilities.

Conclusion

Personal identity is basically about how you see yourself as different from others. In contrast, social identity is about how you identify yourself in relation to others according to what you share in common with others. Therefore, personal identity focuses on the differences among people, whereas social identity focuses on similarities people share. Thus, this is the difference between personal and social identity.

Reference:

1. “What Is Personal Identity? – Definition, Philosophy & Development.” Study.com
2. “What is social identity?” How Stuff Works.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Social identity” By U3100080 – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia 
2. “Monochrome Photography of a Man Looking In front of Mirror” Min An (CC0) via Pexels

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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