chapter  4
Individuals, identity and society
Pages 11

Ideas about identity have changed over the years. Freud’s influence was such that people tried, and some still try, to define identity in psychoanalytic terms, that is as something which arises from within the individual themselves. For them identity was an introspective concept, something which arises without reference to any external factor. However over the next forty or fifty years it became realized that identity was dependent on the relationship with the external world, the environment in which we live. I shall be arguing in this chapter that our ideas of self depend on how we see our ambient environment, how we place ourselves in that environment and how we respond to that environment. This is a continuation and extension of the movement of recog­ nising self as a response to external factors.