Culture and Identity the Combined Structure Article

Pages: 10 (4601 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 20  ·  Level: Corporate/Professional  ·  Topic: Anthropology

¶ … Culture and Identity


The combined structure of individual identity is a paramount or superior-ranking framework revolving around Erikson's paradigm of identity development and ambiguity as well as Marcia's (1966) identity status paradigm and the identity capital model (Cote, 1996). Particularly the concept of individual identity relates to possessing an established idea of self, which is inherently steady and sound (Erikson), which is premised on insightful commitments (Marcia) and which backs and fosters autonomous adult performance and incorporation into a certain adult society (Cote) (Schwartz, 2007a).

Thus, the individual identity structure is a higher ranking, multifaceted framework that contains components from Erikson's model, identity position and capital and formulates a model that adds more value altogether than the value taken from each of its elements (Schwartz, 2007a). The elements are assessed briefly below (Cross, Gore, & Morris, 2003).

Erikson's Theory of Identity Development and Marcia's Identity Status Model

Erikson's model:

According to Erikson's (1950) model, the identity formulation was outlined to be when identity development and any ambiguity about the identity were balanced. Identity development reflects a merging or a combination of different facets of one's notion about the self and identity ambiguity relates to the absence of logic, consistence or incorporation between the various elements of a person's self description (Cross, Gore, & Morris, 2003).

Especially, in Western social settings, this realization of consistency and combination, both over a period of time and across various circumstances is important to a sound and steady modification (Cross, Gore, & Morris, 2003).

Identity status:

Partially adding to Erikson's model of identity establishment, identity position is premised on the degree to which an individual carries out sorting through a list of possible objectives, principles and notions and is devoted to either one or more of these lists. Discovery and dedication were classified by Marcia (1996) into "present" against "absent" and she passed these two aspects to develop four identity stances (see Marcia, 1993, and Waterman, 1999, for reviews).

The positions are attainment (discovering proactively after a time period of suspension), suspension or delay (investigating without dedication), foreclosure (dedication without relevant investigation) and diffusion (the lack of both discovery and dedication). Even though the position paradigm comprises of four separate means of dealing with the job of establishing an idea about identity, the attained position happens to be related to the most desirable psychosocial performance in upcoming adulthood (see Marcia, 1993, and Waterman, 1999, for reviews).

Consequently, the attained position may be understood as a directory of consolidation of identities (Schwartz, 2006; 2007a). Likewise, obligations related to identity that underpin the attained position and are linked to positive performance (Luyckx, Schwartz, Soenens, Vansteenkiste, & Goossens, 2010), and could also work as a directory of individuality and consolidation (Cross, Gore, & Morris, 2003).

Identity Capital:

The approach of identity capital (Cote, 1996; 1997) mentions both the forecasters and indices of individual identity consolidation. Present in the identity capital paradigm, identity establishment reflects as the degree to which an upcoming adult has attained a non-objective idea of adulthood and has discovered a validating setting. The resources linked to identity can further be applied to bargain for resources of the society which includes memberships of clubs, employment opportunities. Schwartz (2006; 2007a) has discovered that the directories of individualistic capital suggested by Cote (1996, 1997) are highly correlated with identity establishment variables taken from the identity status (dedication, attainment, identity development) and Erikson's models (Cross, Gore, & Morris, 2003).

Even the aforementioned models of Erikson, identity position and individualistic capital vary to a certain extent in their functional explanations and ideologies related to identity, they all emphasize a self-motivated and logical idea of identity as essential for surviving and being successful in an individual's life. Furthermore, the rising emphasis on the self, especially in Western settings has resulted in young people being responsible for their lives and the decisions that they made (Cross, Gore, & Morris, 2003).

Also, the concurrent separation of youth from maturity has consequently led to the development of a new life phase, which is termed as the emerging adulthood (Arnett, 2000). This phase entails a person's notion about the self being strengthened. The above mentioned factors represent a manufactured and a mediated model about the concerns related to an individual's identity and Schwartz (2007a) has depicted that a higher-ranking identity consolidation framework can be deduced after taking these variables for indicators (Cross, Gore, & Morris, 2003).


The rightful queries marking the initiation of an investigation into cultural identities are typically connected to the general notion of culture which is also a theme that is quite challenging to define, given its dynamic nature. Edward B. Taylor carried out one of the earliest endeavors to describe culture and classify it further into two headings of culture and society. He was a British anthropologist who regarded culture as a dynamic and intricate concept incorporating information, notions, art, sets of ethical values, policies, practices and any such abilities or activities attained by individuals, as units of a society (Danesi, Peron, 1999, 3) (Hall, 1989).

Alfred L. Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn (1952), who were also anthropologists, suggested the idea of taxonomy which is considered as the most quoted endeavor of bringing over a hundred explanations and definitions of culture in order. They carried out a grouping of the present definitions accompanying the benchmark of the viewpoint. The criteria of the definitions were labeled as explanatory, historic, normative, mental, structural, inherited and unfinished.

Adding to this grouping and categorization, Fred E. Jandt (2004) depicts how culture may be explained through a historical viewpoint, which implies customs and practices that are carried forward to the emerging generations, 1) through a behavioral standpoint, as the common means of acting in life, through a symbolic standpoint, as interconnected notions, signs or manners, 2) through a structural standpoint, culture encompasses trends and notions, signs or behaviors interconnected while through a normative viewpoint the concept of culture encapsulates the best-possible scenarios, the moral principles and the standards of living (Hall, 1989).

Despite the increasing number of separate and different definitions and standpoints on culture, all investigators appear to coincide on two of the points. The first point being that culture is a "way of life" premised on a structure of common implications and is carried forward from one family, society, nation etc. To the upcoming one by the structure itself (Danesi, Peron, 1999, 22). An agreement such as mentioned above is also reached when it comes to the three features of culture, that is, 1) it is not inherent but acquired, 2) that the different aspects of culture are interconnected, for instance you study a culture of a certain area and find out how everything else relates to it, 3) that it is shared and in reality identifies the parameters of various groups (Hall, 1989, 16).

The fact that not more than a few illustrations have been cited about the explanations of culture in the past recent years goes to show the unusual intricacy of the theme of culture. McCracken (1986, 78) consider culture as the basic layout or framework of human practices, identifying the variables of societal actions and constructive practices and emphasizing the actions and possessions that come about from each (McCracken, 1986).

On the other hand, Cronen, Chen, Pearce (1988, 78) regard culture as our usual day-to-day practices carried out by each individual in a society. Meanwhile, Collier and Thomas (1988, 101) term it as a historically conveyed framework of signs and implications and common practices. Taylor, Grubbs Hoy, Haley (1996) are of the view that the acquired actions comprising of an intricate structure including information, notions, arts, ethical values, policies and practices formulate culture.

Moving on, Aaker, Benet-Martinez, Garolera (2001, 493) consider culture as the implication taken from and included to our day-to-day experience. Aldridge (2004, 87), meanwhile regarded culture as the common framework of symbolic information and trends of actions taking from word-to-word communications, that people carry out to offer expected internal and external mental consistency and steadiness so that uncertainty and confusion can be avoided (Hall, 1989).

As far as the intercultural studies are considered, one of the pioneers of this field is taken to be Edward T. Hall.

His explanation of the concept of culture was premised on an anthropological standpoint: a framework of symbols previously conveyed. The anthropological standpoint altered with the passage of time and developed and took on a more practical facet, becoming more scope-focused as a consequence of his contribution and interactions with the Foreign, Service Institute, where he led the vocational training and teaching of the foreign staff members (Moon, 2008, 12). In the book that he penned down, titled Beyond Culture (1989) Edward T. Hall identifies and explains that the culture is a medium of personalization and belonging for a person. There if no facet or dimension to an individual's life that culture does not affect or impact (Hall, 1989).

To do away with confusion and vagueness while carrying out the studies based on intercultural interactions and communications, the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Culture and Identity the Combined Structure.  (2011, January 5).  Retrieved December 14, 2018, from

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