Introducing Identity is a fascinating read. Buckingham opens by pointing out how important the idea of identity is to us, by bringing up the example of the furore caused by the government’s proposed introduction of identity cards and the fact that that could have resulted in identity theft. He points out that identity is something that is unique to us, but could also imply a relationship with other people – such as a national identity or a gender identity. Buckingham then delves into exploring why there’s such a debate around identity, and one’s struggle to “be themselves”. I agree with him that we also try to fit into various subcategories that related to our identity, for example, at university we all identify as being a member of our respective course – I am referred to as “a radio student” and so on.
Buckingham looks even more in depth in to the issue of youth identity. He points out how adolescence and the effects of puberty cause further discussion in to aspects such as “drugs, delinquency, depression and sexual deviance.” Something that jumped out to me while reading this part of the article is how easy it would be for children reaching the age of puberty in the contemporary era to discuss such things over social media, allowing other people – potentially much older than themselves – to shape their identity in such a delicate area.
On the topic of social media, Buckingham introduces a discussion on the politics behind identity, and the concept of social power. He makes very good points that, for example, grouping people by race completely ignores the fact that they have multiple dimensions to their identities and probably would not want to select one characteristic of their identity to completely override all the others. I feel that this is a way identity can become a problem as people use the identity of others to be prejudiced against them, something that is obviously deplorable.
Buckingham concludes by stating that keeping pace with our generation’s use of social media is becoming harder and harder. He makes a good point that people tend to look at young people as what they might be in the future, rather than what they are now. He argues that this sidetracks us from their identity and ensuring that their identities aren’t moulded detrimentally by the emergence of social media in the 21st century.
I agree with a lot of what Buckingham writes about. The struggles for a young person to find their own identity have been increased exponentially by the fact it’s a lot easier for them to surround themselves with portrayals of other people’s lives via the almost intrusive nature of news media in 2016. As well as this, access to social media means they may be moulding themselves in a way that just exaggerates small aspects of their personality in order to fit in, completely wiping out any other parts of their identity that may shape the way they are in the future.