Identity

tekijä: Kari Parrott Viimeisin muutos lauantai 03. elokuuta 2013, 21.14

Ethnic and cultural identity

In today's world, increasing globalization raises more awareness of cultural diversity. Cultural identities and ethnicities are becoming more relational and contextual, as well as constantly evolving. They are complex, ambiguous and multifaceted.

Individuals undergo self- and cultural identity transformation in order to achieve understanding, harmony and balance within themselves and their environment, and in their connection with others. Cultures also change in this process, because social, political, economic and historical influences affect cultural and intercultural interactions. Cultural groups reflect, re-create, unify and maintain their ethnic and cultural identities.

Cultural identities are negotiated, co-created and reinforced in communication with others. They reflect our unique, personal life histories and experiences. They may also be seen as manifestations of social reality.

Racial identity

Race has been defined as a group of persons related by common descent or heredity. It is a classification of modern humans based on an arbitrary selection of physical characteristics as skin colour, facial form, or eye shape. Race is a social construction of human difference that is used to classify human beings into separate value-based categories.

Some researchers use the singular term racial / ethnic rather than separating race and ethnicity. Race and ethnicity represent social categories that develop during early socialization and maintain a central place in self, culture and communication process.

Ethnic identity

Ethnicity has been defined in various ways. Ethnic refers to a group of people sharing a common and distinctive culture, religion, language, etc. Furthermore, it has been explained as the attribute of membership in a group set off by racial, territorial, economic, religious, cultural, aesthetic, or linguistic uniqueness. Ethnicity has also been seen as a cultural marker that indicates shared traditions, heritage, and ancestral origins; ethnicity is defined psychologically and historically. On the other hand ethnic identity may be explained as an emotional bond that people share that originates from their past and that gives them an emotional force to claim their common historical origins.

Since the end of the 1990s, the terms ethnicity and race have been less commonly used. Instead culture has become the preferred term.

Cultural identity

It is commonly understood that culture and cultural identity are umbrella terms that subsume racial and ethnic identity. Culture has been defined as learned and shared values, beliefs, thinking patterns and behaviour common to a particular group of people. Culture forges a group's identity and assists in its survival. Institutions, language, social structures and various practices shared by a group of individuals are also part of culture. In addition, the individuals are connected by an ancestral heritage, often linked to a particular geographical location. Individuals have a sense of belonging to a particular culture or ethnic group.

Cultural communication is a system of symbols, meanings and norms that are shared by group members and passed down to the following generations.