Identity in the modern self


It seems strange to think that their has not always existed a concept of identity. If we think to another time when we were born into a role, and when concerns were less luxurious and more immediate we realise that a sense of self and an almost desperate need to ‘define’ ourselves has not always existed.

In his article Identity in the globalising world Bauman does not treat identity as another freedom in a liberal, modernising world. He despairingly asserts: “’Incompleteness’ of identity, and particularly individual responsibility for its completion, are in fact intimately related to all aspects of the modern condition.” (Bauman 2001). He suggests that with modernity and freedom of choice come the burden of defining one’s own purpose. This choice is complicated because of a lack of structure, rapid growth and changes within society mean that we are focused on the journey to create an identity, terrified that if we ever arrived in a place of solidity that “the hard worn framework will soon be torn apart or melted.” (Bauman 2001).

This new fear was born from modern life’s  perpetuity to tear down the frame and definition in society and, ironically, this creates an insatiable need for humanity to make one. It began with the invention of hobbies, past times and fashion. We identified our commonality via costumes and interest groups hoping that when nothing much matters we can “make them matter, for a time at least” and through this create a sense of purpose and community (Bauman 2001).

Whilst creating my online identity, I have experienced similar challenges to those explored by Bauman. I have a broad identity as I am still on the journey; having not yet reached a place of solidity it is hard for me to identify and write about myself.

To avoid confusion, and to create continuity for myself and those that read this, I have tied my blog together with that most consuming of indulgent hobbies, gourmet food.  By belonging to an interest group I can give my inner most insecure self an identity and satisfy my own and society’s need to frame me up and give me one.


  • Bauman, Z 2001, ‘Identity in the globalizing World’, Social Anthropology, vol. 9, pp: 121–129.

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