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definition - cultural identity

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cultural identity (n.)


Cultural identity

  Cultural identity can be expressed through certain styles of clothing or other aesthetic markers

Cultural identity is the identity of a group or culture, or of an individual as far as one is influenced by one's belonging to a group or culture. Cultural identity is similar to and has overlaps with, but is not synonymous with, identity politics.

  Child with flag



Various modern cultural studies and social theories have investigated cultural identity. In recent decades, a new form of identification has emerged which breaks down the understanding of the individual as a coherent whole subject into a collection of various cultural identifiers. These cultural identifiers may be the result of various conditions including: location, gender, race, history, nationality, language, sexuality, religious beliefs, ethnicity and aesthetics. The divisions between cultures can be very fine in some parts of the world, especially places such as Canada or the United States, where the population is ethnically diverse and social unity is based primarily on common social values and beliefs.

As a "historical reservoir", culture is an important factor in shaping identity.[1] Some critics of cultural identity argue that the preservation of cultural identity, being based upon difference, is a divisive force in society, and that cosmopolitanism gives individuals a greater sense of shared citizenship.[2] When considering practical association in international society, states may share an inherent part of their 'make up' that gives common ground, and alternate means of identifying with each other.[3]

Also of interest is the interplay between cultural identity and new media.[4]

In the current era, cultural identity does not necessarily mean an individual's interaction within a certain group but a social network of people imitating and following the social norms presented by the media.Instead of learning behaviour and knowledge from cultural/religious groups, individuals from the present era are learning these social norms from the media to build on their cultural identity.[5]

  See also



  1. ^ Pratt, Nicola (2005). "Identity, Culture and Democratization: The Case of Egypt". New Political Science 27 (1): 69–86. DOI:10.1080/07393140500030832. 
  2. ^ The Limits of Nationalism by Chaim Gans. ISBN 978-0-521-00467-1 ISBN 0521004675
  3. ^ C Brown (2001) Understanding International Relations. Hampshire, Palgrave
  4. ^ Singh, C. L. (2010). "New media and cultural identity". China Media Research 6 (1): 86. http://www.thefreelibrary.com/New+media+and+cultural+identity.-a0219656567. 
  5. ^ http://www.insanbilimleri.com/ojs/index.php/uib/article/view/406


  Further reading

  • Robyns, Clem (1995). "Defending the national identity". In Andreas Poltermann (Ed.), Literaturkanon, Medienereignis, Kultureller Text. Berlin: Erich Schmidt Verlag ISBN 3-503-03727-6.
  • Robyns, Clem (1994). "Translation and discursive identity". In Poetics Today 15 (3), 405–428. http://kuleuven.academia.edu/ClemRobyns/Papers/692295/Translation_and_discursive_identity
  • Anderson, Benedict (1991). Imagined Communities. London: Verso.
  • Gellner, Ernest (1983). Nations and Nationalism. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
  • Bourdieu, Pierre (1980). "L'identité et la représentation". Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales 35: 63–70. DOI:10.3406/arss.1980.2100. 
  • Gordon, David C. (1978). The French Language and National Identity (1930-1975). The Hague: Mouton.
  • de Certeau, Michel; Julia, Dominique; & Revel, Jacques (1975). Une politique de la langue: La Révolution française et les patois. Paris: Gallimard.
  • Balibar, Renée & Laporte, Dominique (1974). Le français national: Politique et pratique de la langue nationale sous la Révolution. Paris: Hachette.
  • Fishman, Joshua A. (1973). Language and Nationalism: Two Integrative Essays. Rowley, MA: Newbury House.
  • (full-text IDENTITIES: how Governed, Who Pays?)
  • Sparrow, Lise M. (2008). Beyond multicultural man: Complexities of identity. In Molefi Kete Asante, Yoshitaka Miike, & Jing Yin (Eds.), The global intercultural communication reader (pp. 239-261). New York, NY: Routledge.
  • Woolf, Stuart. "Europe and the Nation-State". EUI Working Papers in History 91/11. Florence: European University Institute.
  • Stewart, Edward C., & Bennet, Milton J. (1991). American cultural patterns: A cross-cultural perspective (Rev. ed.). Yarmouth, ME: Intercultural Press.
  • Evangelista, M. (2003). "Culture, Identity, and Conflict: The Influence of Gender," in Conflict and Reconstruction in Multiethnic Societies, Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press [2]
  • Güney, Ü. (2010). "We see our people suffering: the war, the mass media and the reproduction of Muslim identity among youth". Media, War & Conflict 3 (2): 1–14. 

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