What Is Cultural Identity

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Introduction One of the most important aspect of the development of an individual is the development of the individual’s identity. Identity refers to “a definition placed on self” which has two simultaneous characteristics. The first is a sense of sameness or continuity across various situations and over a period of time and the second is a difference that makes an individual distinct from others. The formation of an identity is imperative to ensure an individual’s psychological and social well-being and must always be considered within the socio-cultural context which the individual exists in. Durkheim in the year 1895 paved the way towards acknowledging the importance n individual’s culture has on his or her definition of themselves (Usborne…show more content…
It has been theorized to be one of the major factors that influences the formation of an individual’s idea about themselves. In recent literature the term ‘Cultural Identity’ has been mentioned, which refers to the aspect of an individual’s definition of self that derives directly from his or her link with one of more cultural groups. Cultural Identity comprises of the “shared traits, values, norms, experiences and history that are associated with one’s group and are internalized by the individual to make up an essential component of his or her identity” (Ashmore, 2004 as cited in Usborne & Sablonniere,2014). The importance of cultural identity can be understood in terms of the fact that it is now seen as an essential part of the overall identity development of a person and has been shown to affect the levels of psychological well-being in…show more content…
2000), the process of formation of ethnic identity is a result of the individual’s efforts to gain knowledge and an understanding of their culture and also develop a feeling of belongingness to the said culture or cultures and also states that the development of cultural identity follows certain stages. The first stage according to this model is the stage of Identity Diffusion/ Foreclosure where the individual either lacks the interest to explore their ethic culture or has not as yet professed a preference for a specific cultural identity. This is followed by the stage of Identity Search where the individual makes conscious efforts to gain knowledge about the culture and this can be a very turbulent period for the individual as they come face to face with a lot of emotions. This is followed by the stage of Identity Achievement where the individual has been able to balance the various cultural forces in his or her life and come up with a stable cultural identity (As cited in Wijeyesinghe & Jackson,

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