Chapter 4: Cultural and the
The particular human we’re part of is central to our
• ELIZABETH STONE
The value of identity of course is that so often with it
• RICHARD GRANT
Do you know who you
Would you be able to
write down in
something that defines
you (and all your
Identity is an abstract
and multifaceted concept
that plays a significant
role in all
patterns promise to add
greater complexity to
cultural identities in the
The Need to Understand Identity
Identity development is
considered a critical
aspect of everyone’s
The principle objective of
one’s adolescence years is
the formation of an
“Those who fail to achieve a secure identity are faced
with identity confusion, a lack of clarity about who they
are and what their role in life is.”
Despite the influence of information technologies
and the forces of globalization, “old national
identities are proving surprisingly durable.”
“Many millions of people believe that their best
haven of certainty and security is a group based on
ethnic similarity, common faith, economic interest,
or political like-mindedness.”
As people struggle to
adapt to the dynamics of
modern social life,
identity is becoming an
important factor in how
they live their lives and
with whom they
How does identity influence and guide expectations
about your own and others’ social roles?
How does identity provide guidelines for your
communication interaction with others?
Japanese students do
not expect to be called
on to answer questions.
rarely ask questions
American students ask a
lot of questions during
like to talk and talk and
talk with lots of lecture.
prefer to ask questions Identity as professor or student
and be involved with
students. provides the blueprint for
So many definitions from so many "experts" – how
can we choose one?
Identity is an abstract, complex, and dynamic
"Identity basically refers to our reflective views of
ourselves and other perceptions of our self-images
[…] our self-concept, who we think we are as a
Cultural identity is "the
that we attach to our
sense of belonging or
affiliation with the
Identity is not static; it
changes as a function of
your life experiences
(through school, family
Everyone has more than
Turner places identities into 3 categories: Human,
Social, & Personal.
Human – Perceptions of self that link you to humanity and set
you apart from other life forms.
Social – Various groups you belong to. Result of membership
in some social groups but not others.
Personal – Those things that set you apart from other in-group
members and make you special or unique (innate talent,
special achievement, or something intangible).
Hall has 3 similar categories: Personal, Relational, &
Personal – Those which make you unique and distinct from
Relational – Product of your relationships with other people
(husband/wife, teacher student, executive/manager, etc).
Communal – Typically associated with large-scale
communities (nationality, ethnicity, gender, religious or
Hall’s Communal identity = Turner’s Social identity
Social identities can be based on memberships in
demographic categories, roles we play, memberships
in organizations, associations or vocations, or
memberships in stigmatized groups.
Human Social Personal
A product of the Set you apart from
Perceptions of self contrast between other in-group
Turner link you to the rest membership in members and mark
of humanity some social groups you as special or
but not others somewhat unique.
Relational Communal Personal
A product of your associated with
relationship with large-scale Those which make
other people, such communities, such you unique and
as husband/wife, as nationality, distinct from
teacher/student, ethnicity, gender, others.
etc. or religious or
A Typology of Identities
Every individual has multiple identities
Race, ethnic, gender, national, regional, organizational,
personal, cyber/fantasy—that act in concert.
The importance of any single identity is a result of the
As the context varies, you may choose to emphasize one or more of
Race is a social construct
used to categorize people
into different groups and
classify groups of people
with skin color, hair
appearance, or eye
―Race‖ is tied to
Ethnicity “is derived
from a sense of shared
similar behaviors, area
of origin, and language.”
The Basque – located on
The Bedouin – Nomadic
Arab groups from the
Sahara to North Africa to
The Kurds – Ethnic
group in North Iraq,
Turkey, Iran, and Syria
Ethnicity transcends borders; it grounded in
common cultural beliefs and pratices.
For many Americans, their ethnicity is tied to their
ancestor’s place of origin. Many American still
identify themselves as African-American, Mexican-
Not the same as
Gender refers to how a
masculine and feminine
Culture influences what
beauty and how it is
In the U.S., it is common
for young women to
consider having a good
tan to be part of their
In Taiwan and other
parts of Asia, dark skin is
associated with lower
and exposure to the sun
is avoided. White skin is
seen as beautiful.
For most people,
nationality refers to
where you were born.
It can also be acquired
through immigration and
National identity usually
becomes stronger when
you are away from your
Different regions in the
same country can vary
language, accent, dialect,
customs, food, dress, or
different historical and
Organizational identity is
much stronger in
traditionally wear a small
lapel pin to signify their
In the U.S., we commonly
wear polo shirts with our
Characteristics that set
us apart from others in
People in individualistic
cultures actively work to
difference from others.
Cyber and Fantasy Identity
The internet allows
people to assume a
fantasy, online identity.
You can present yourself
however you desire.
Anime expos are popular
in Asia. People often
dress up as their favorite
character and assume a
Acquiring and Developing Identities
"Individuals acquire and develop their identities
through interaction with others in their cultural
The family exerts a primary influence on early
School and friends also help you form your identity.
Your family teaches you culturally appropriate
beliefs, values, and social roles.
Families teach you proper roles for boys and girls
(gender identity), age-appropriate behaviors, and
individual- and group-based identities.
When entering school, you were required to learn
and demonstrate the behaviors that are
recommended for students
Media also play a big role in identity development.
Media stereotypes create a sense of how we should
look, dress, and act in order to present age and
gender appropriate identities.
3-stage Model of Identity Development
Unexamined Ethnic Identity
The individual is not interested in exploring or demonstrating
their personal ethnicity.
May come from a desire to suppress your own ethnicity in
order to conform with the dominant culture
Many Americans seem to take for granted that their identity
is the social norm and give little thought to their own
Ethnic Identity Search
The individual becomes interested in learning and
understanding their own ethnic identity.
May start after a period of discrimination. Being
discriminated against or mistaken for a different ethnicity
can cause one to begin exploring and developing their true
May start attending cultural events, ethnic classes, etc.
The individual has a clear and confident understanding of
their own cultural identity.
You have the ability to effectively deal with discrimination
and negative stereotypes.
You have greater self-confidence
and feelings of personal worth.
4-Stage Identity Development Model - Minorities
Individuals are not concerned with issues of identity.
Members attempt to fit in with the dominant culture and may
possess negative self-images.
Resistance and Separation
A greater interest and adherence to one's own culture is
Individuals have a sense of pride and identity with their own
cultural group and demonstrate and acceptance of other
4-Stage Identity Development Model - Majorities
Identity is not a concern
You accept that there are existing social structures
You begin to move toward the existing social structures, begins
to question his/her own culture, and associates with minority
Redefinition & Reintegration
Increased understanding of one’s dominant culture identity
and an appreciation of minority cultures.
Your identities can also be classified as ascribed or
avowed (acquired voluntarily or involuntarily).
Race, ethnicity, and sex are ascribed at birth
(involuntary – you don’t have a choice)
Organizational regional, cultural, and personal
identities are avowed – you choose them.
Establishing and Enacting Cultural Identity
We are constantly creating and recreating our
identities by interacting with others.
“It is through communication that we are able to express and
(hence make known) our similarities and dissimilarities to
These interactions may be “conversations,
commemorations of history, music, dance, ritual,
ceremonial, and social drama of all sorts.”
We can see culture’s influence on individual identity
by looking at different student interaction styles in
U.S. and Japanese schools.
U.S.: Competition in the classroom is welcome; students freely
voice their opinion and challenge others in order to assert their
Japan: Students solve problems as groups. Japanese students
tend to develop their identity from their groups and the school
they attend. They avoid being different and heed the proverb
―A tall tree catches much wind.‖
Rites of Cultural Passage
Rites of cultural passage are used to help adolescents
gain an increased awareness of who they are as they
In some cultures, it involves a painful physical experience,
such as circumcision.
In developed nations, it is often a festive celebration
In America and Europe, the rites of passage usually confirm a
greater degree of independence on the individual.
Once established, identities are enacted in many
ways beginning in childhood and progressing
through adolescence into the adult years.
Almost every culture has a way for individuals to
display their religious or spiritual identity.
Jews wear distinctive clothes or yarmulkes
Christians might wear a cross or crucifix
Muslim women wear a hijab
commemorative events is
a way to enact your
U.S. – Fourth of July
France – Bastille Day
Mexico – Independence
The annual St. Patrick’s
Day Parade in New York
City is a way for those of
Irish heritage to
celebrate their ethnic
allow people to express
and rekindle their
Oktoberfest in Germany
Every summer, villages
across Japan hold
Matsuri festivals, which
are based on ancient
These celebrations serve
as a symbol of unity
within the community
and offer an opportunity
for participants to
express their regional
Cultural Identity and Intercultural Comm.
Your identity is established through communicative
interaction with others.
Identity is also “maintained and modified through
You are constantly moving in and out of different
identities as you interact with other people. With
each identity, you use different communicative
Your culture has shaped your understand and
expectations about what the correct communication
practices for various situations are (classroom,
These expectations are culture bound. They may be
correct in your culture, but horribly inappropriate in
another culture (remember U.S. vs. Japanese
expectations can create
A Japanese student in a
U.S. classroom would not
want to raise their hand
or be called on to answer.
In order to communicate
your cultural identity and
should be flexible in
order to maintain your
identity but also please
the other parties.
Identity and Multiculturalism
As society becomes increasingly multicultural, new
concepts of cultural identity are evolving.
More people being born today identity with more
than one ethnicity, race, or religion.
Most U.S. youths
diversity a normal part of
Issues of identity can be
expected to remain and
become more complex as
What are some of your different identities and how
did you acquire them? (Optional: Make a chart)
Describe some of the customs, rituals, and/or
ceremonies associated with your identities.
Describe a situation in which you felt out of place as
a result of being different/not having the appropriate
What are some of the factors common to your
identities that might create problems during
How would you define identity? How would you
explain your identities to another person?