The term “identity” is used to describe two separate concepts.
The first meaning of “identity” is metacognitive awareness of one’s own preference schedule. Educators often encourage “identity” (that is, better metacognitive knowledge). The purpose of this is emphasized by, and the ability to do this is questioned by, the people’s lack of introspection. Additionally, Catholic theology questions the desirability of “discovering” one’s own identity. Human nature may be sinful, but sin (which accounts for much of the natural preference schedule) does not “name” man. That is, wrong preference schedules cannot be used in describing one’s true preference schedules.
Another use of “identity” is as an in-group/out-group marker. Typically, this occurs when there are rival political coalitions that can affect an individual’s standing. For instance, the famous “erasing racism” study was able to override implicit racist identity by mixing the racial composition of competing groups of males. Similarly, the early “identity” of Catholic Bosnians as “Christian” (in the early part of the Bosnian War, when they were attempted to form ethnically homogenous regions of that state) quickly gave way to an “identity” as non-Serb, as both Bosnian Muslims and Bosian Croats (catholics) united to drive the Orthodox Christian Serbs from their territory.