Chapter 3: Identity and intercultural communication (Social and Cultural…
Chapter 3: Identity and intercultural communication
It is through communication with our family, friends, and others that we come to understand ourselves and our
. It is also through communication that we express our identity to others.
Conflicts may arise when there is a sharp difference between who we think we are and who others think we are.
We don't have one identity, we have many identities which are influenced by society and are dynamic.The way identities are formed depend on ones cultural background.
Social and Cultural Identities
We communicate our gender identity, and popular culture tells us what it means to be a man or a woman.
As culture changes, so do notions of what is masculine or feminine.
Popular notions of the ideal body are largely determined by commercial interests, advertising, and other cultural forces.
Different cultures organize sexualities in different ways.
This involves sexual attraction, this complicates the organising of sexual identities
As we age we realize the cultural notions of how someone our age should act, look, and behave. We establish an age identity.
Different generations have different philosophies, values, and ways of speaking.
Certain ages are significant is various cultures, most having celebrations of adulthood. In some black cultures to become an adult you must pass a initiation.
There is nothing inherent in age telling us that we should feel old. Our notions of age and youth are based on cultural conventions.
As well as age identity being about how you feel about your age, it is also about how others treat you based on your age. In some cultures old age is revered while in others it is demeaned
Racial and ethnic identity
Origins of the debates on race originated in 15th century and centered on the religious question of whether or not there was 'one family of man'
Arguments of which people were human and which were animal provided the rationale for slavery.
In 19th century people tried to establish a classification system of race based on genetics and brain size. These were unsuccessful. It was found that there is more genetic variance within race groups than between them.
Now we take a more social scientific approach to understanding race, emphasizing that racial categories like black and white are constructed in social historical contexts.
Racial identities are, to some extent, based on physical characteristics but they are also constructed in fluid social contexts.
Physical Ability Identity
This can include our height, weight, sex or age.
People with disabilities see themselves as a cultural group and share many perceptions and communication patterns. Part of this identity involves changing how others see them and how they see themselves.
For people that become disabled there are stages in coming to terms with this new identity.
Adjusting to the disability and effects that it has on relationships, some friendships wont last.
: Focus on humiliation and physical changes
Identities are created in spurts
Certain events provide insight into who we are, these are framed by long periods during which we may not think much about ourselves or our identities.
We may occasionally need to take time to think through identity issues.And during difficult times we may internalize negative identities as we try to answer the question of who we are.
Identities are Multiple
We have multiple identities which are context specific due to our being parts of various groups.
Identities are created through communication
Identities emerge when messages are exchanged between persons; they are negotiated, co-created, reinforced, and challenged through communication.
Different identities are emphasized depending on with whom we are communicating and what the conversation is about.
Communication is most successful when the person whe are talking with confirms the identity we think is most important for the situation. For example when the professor also acknowledges the identity of 'lecturer and student' when you are talking to them about research.
Identities are dynamic
The social forces that give rise to certain identities are ever changing. For example, the identity of women has changed significantly in recent times.
Specific political forces can influence the identities that are expressed. For example after 911 arab women stopped using their community identity or arab and used their national identity of American more.
Identities are developed in different ways in different ways in different cultured
In individualistic cultures, young people have a desire to be independent and self reliant. They emphasize the development of identity.
In collectivist cultures, childhood revolves around the family and choices such as marriage and education are guided by the family. They emphasize interdependence.