In simplest terms, identity is the understanding of the self in relation to an

‘other’. Thus, the term refers to properties of uniqueness and individuality

that make a person distinct from others. At the same time, it also connotes

the qualities of sameness or commonalities associated with groups or cate-

gories. In the latter sense, it is a classificatory usage. It is based on a conception

of the social and cultural world as composed of segments, membership in

terms of which individuals must define themselves or, equally importantly,

be defined by others. But unlike concepts such as ‘status’ and ‘role’, the usage

of this term is less prescriptive and mechanical, allowing for individuals’

own conscious self-classification.