Cultural identity is the identity or feeling of belonging to a group.
It is part of a person's self-conception and self-perception and is
related to nationality, ethnicity, religion, social class, generation,
locality or any kind of social group that has its own distinct
culture. In this way, cultural identity is both characteristic of the
individual but also of the culturally identical group of members
sharing the same cultural identity.
Cultural Identity helps us understand the relationships around us to
determine who we are as individuals in our community. Our cultural
identity is also shaped by the people within our culture and our
surroundings to better understand our world. We create a mold of our
cultural identity through the ideas of our parents by adopting a
majority of their beliefs at a young age, but as we grow older the
different people we come in contact with from different cultures
(where it be religious, nationality, class, gender, ethnicity etc.)
help us to shape our cultural identity mold as easily as play-do as we
adopt different identities in hopes to understand and learn from these
different cultures or out right object them.
2 Cultural arena
5 Immigrant Identity Development
6 School transitions
7 The role of the internet
8 See also
12 Further reading
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, aesthetics, and
even food. As one author writes, recognizing both coherence and
categorizations about identity, even when codified and hardened into
clear typologies by processes of colonization, state formation or
general modernizing processes, are always full of tensions and
contradictions. Sometimes these contradictions are destructive, but
they can also be creative and positive.
The divisions between cultures can be very fine in some parts of the
world, especially in rapidly changing cities where the population is
ethnically diverse and social unity is based primarily on locational
As a "historical reservoir," culture is an important factor in shaping
identity. Since one of the main characteristics of a culture is its
"historical reservoir," many if not all groups entertain revisions,
either consciously or unconsciously, in their historical record in
order to either bolster the strength of their cultural identity or to
forge one which gives them precedent for actual reform or change.
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. When considering practical association in
international society, states may share an inherent part of their
'make up' that gives common ground and an alternative means of
identifying with each other. Nations provide the framework for
culture identities called external cultural reality, which influences
the unique internal cultural realities of the individuals within the
Also of interest is the interplay between cultural identity and new
Rather than necessarily representing an individual's interaction
within a certain group, cultural identity may be defined by the social
network of people imitating and following the social norms as
presented by the media. Accordingly, instead of learning behaviour and
knowledge from cultural/religious groups, individuals may be learning
these social norms from the media to build on their cultural
A range of cultural complexities structure the way individuals operate
with the cultural realities in their lives.
Nation is a large factor
of the cultural complexity, as it constructs the foundation for
individual's identity but it may contrast with ones cultural reality.
Cultural identities are influenced by several different factors such
as ones religion, ancestry, skin colour, language, class, education,
profession, skill, family and political attitudes. These factors
contribute to the development of one's identity.
It is also noted that an individual's "cultural arena", or place where
one lives, impacts the culture that that person chooses to abide by.
The surroundings, the environment, the people in these places play a
factor in how one feels about the culture they wish to adopt. Many
immigrants find the need to change their culture in order to fit into
the culture of most citizens in the country. This can conflict with an
immigrant's current belief in their culture and might pose a problem,
as the immigrant feels compelled to choose between the two presenting
Some might be able to adjust to the various cultures in the world by
committing to two or more cultures. It is not required to stick to one
culture. Many people socialize and interact with people in one culture
in addition to another group of people in another culture. Thus
cultural identity is able to take many forms and can change depending
on the cultural area. This plasticity is what allows people to feel
like part of society wherever they go.
Language develops from the wants of the people who tend to disperse
themselves in a common given location over a particular period of
time. This tends to allow people to share a way of life that generally
links individuals in a certain culture that is identified by the
people of that group. The affluence of communication that comes along
with sharing a language promotes connections and roots to ancestors
and cultural histories.
Language can function as a
fluid and ever changing identifier, and can be developed in response
or rebellion of another cultural code, such as creole languages in the
Language also includes the way people speak with peers, family
members, authority figures, and strangers.
Language learning process can also be affected by cultural identity
via the understanding of specific words, and the preference for
specific words when learning and using a second language.
Since many aspects of a person's cultural identity can be changed,
such as citizenship or influence from outside cultures can change
cultural traditions, language is a main component of cultural
Kevin McDonough pointed out, in his article, several factors
concerning support or rejection of the government for different
cultural identity education systems. Other authors have also shown
concern for the state support regarding equity for children, school
transitions and multicultural education. During March 1998, the two
authors, Linda D. Labbo and Sherry L. Field collected several useful
books and resources to promote multicultural education in South
Immigrant Identity Development
Identity development among immigrant groups has been studied across a
multi-dimensional view of acculturation. Dina Birman and Edison
Trickett (2001) conducted a qualitative study through informal
interviews with first-generation Soviet Jewish Refugee adolescents
looking at the process of acculturation through three different
dimensions: language competence, behavioral acculturation, and
cultural identity. The results indicated that, “…acculturation
appears to occur in a linear pattern over time for most dimensions of
acculturation, with acculturation to the American culture increasing
and acculturation to the Russian culture decreasing. However, Russian
language competence for the parents did not diminish with length of
residence in the country” (Birman & Trickett, 2001).
In a similar study, Phinney, Horencyzk, Liebkind, and Vedder (2001)
focused on a model, which concentrates on the interaction between
immigrant characteristics and the responses of the majority society in
order to understand the psychological effects of immigration. The
researchers concluded that most studies find that being bicultural,
having a combination of having a strong ethnic and national identity,
yields the best adaptation in the new country of residence. An article
by LaFromboise, L. K. Colemna, and Gerton, reviews the literature on
the impact of being bicultural. It is shown that it is possible to
have the ability to obtain competence within two cultures without
losing one’s sense of identity or having to identity with one
culture over the other. (LaFromboise Et Al. 1993) The importance of
ethnic and national identity in the educational adaptation of
immigrants indicates that a bicultural orientation is advantageous for
school performance (Portes & Rumbaut, 1990). Educators can assume
their positions of power in beneficially impactful ways for immigrant
students, by providing them with access to their native cultural
support groups, classes, after–school activities, and clubs in order
to help them feel more connected to both native and national cultures.
It is clear that the new country of residence can impact immigrants’
identity development across multiple dimensions.
allow for a healthy adaptation to life and school.
How great is "Achievement Loss Associated with the Transition to
Middle School and High School"? John W. Alspaugh's research is in the
September/October 1998 Journal of Educational Research (vol. 92, no.
1), 2026. Comparing three groups of 16 school districts, the loss was
greater where the transition was from sixth grade than from a K-8
system. It was also greater when students from multiple elementary
schools merged into a single middle school. Students from both K-8 and
middle schools lost achievement in transition to high school, though
this was greater for middle school students, and high school dropout
rates were higher for districts with grades 6-8 middle schools than
for those with K-8 elementary schools.
The Jean S. Phinney Three-Stage Model of Ethnic Identity Development
is a widely accepted view of the formation of cultural identity. In
this model cultural Identity is often developed through a three-stage
process: unexamined cultural identity, cultural identity search, and
cultural identity achievement.
Unexamined cultural identity: "a stage where one's cultural
characteristics are taken for granted, and consequently there is
little interest in exploring cultural issues." This for example is the
stage one is in throughout their childhood when one doesn't
distinguish between cultural characteristics of their household and
others. Usually a person in this stage accepts the ideas they find on
culture from their parents, the media, community, and others.
An example of thought in this stage: "I don't have a culture I'm just
an American." "My parents tell me about where they lived, but what do
I care? I've never lived there."
Cultural identity search: "is the process of exploration and
questioning about one's culture in order to learn more about it and to
understand the implications of membership in that culture." During
this stage a person will begin to question why they hold their beliefs
and compare it to the beliefs of other cultures. For some this stage
may arise from a turning point in their life or from a growing
awareness of other cultures. This stage is characterized by growing
awareness in social and political forums and a desire to learn more
about culture. This can be expressed by asking family members
questions about heritage, visiting museums, reading of relevant
cultural sources, enrolling in school courses, or attendance at
cultural events. This stage might have an emotional component as well.
An example of thought in this stage: "I want to know what we do and
how our culture is different from others." "There are a lot of
non-Japanese people around me, and it gets pretty confusing to try and
decide who I am."
Cultural identity achievement: "is characterized by a clear, confident
acceptance of oneself and an internalization of one's cultural
identity." In this stage people often allow the acceptance of their
cultural identity play a role in their future choices such as how to
raise children, how to deal with stereotypes and any discrimination,
and approach negative perceptions. This usually leads to an increase
in self-confidence and positive psychological adjustment
The role of the internet
There is a set of phenomena that occur in conjunction between virtual
culture – understood as the modes and norms of behaviour associated
with the internet and the online world – and youth culture. While we
can speak of a duality between the virtual (online) and real sphere
(face-to-face relations), for youth, this frontier is implicit and
permeable. On occasions – to the annoyance of parents and teachers
– these spheres are even superposed, meaning that young people may
be in the real world without ceasing to be connected.
In the present techno-cultural context, the relationship between the
real world and the virtual world cannot be understood as a link
between two independent and separate worlds, possibly coinciding at a
point, but as a Moebius strip where there exists no inside and outside
and where it is impossible to identify limits between both. For new
generations, to an ever-greater extent, digital life merges with their
home life as yet another element of nature. In this naturalizing of
digital life, the learning processes from that environment are
frequently mentioned not just since they are explicitly asked but
because the subject of the internet comes up spontaneously among those
polled. The ideas of active learning, of googling 'when you don’t
know', of recourse to tutorials for 'learning' a programme or a game,
or the expression 'I learnt English better and in a more entertaining
way by playing' are examples often cited as to why the internet is the
place most frequented by the young people polled.
The internet is becoming an extension of the expressive dimension of
the youth condition. There, youth talk about their lives and concerns,
design the content that they make available to others and assess
others reactions to it in the form of optimized and electronically
mediated social approval. Many of today's youth go through processes
of affirmation procedures and is often the case for how youth today
grow dependency for peer approval. When connected, youth speak of
their daily routines and lives. With each post, image or video they
upload, they have the possibility of asking themselves who they are
and to try out profiles differing from those they assume in the
‘real’ world. The connections they feel in more recent times have
become much less interactive through personal means compared to past
generations. The influx of new technology and access has created new
fields of research on effects on teens and young adults. They thus
negotiate their identity and create senses of belonging, putting the
acceptance and censure of others to the test, an essential mark of the
process of identity construction.
Youth ask themselves about what they think of themselves, how they see
themselves personally and, especially, how others see them. On the
basis of these questions, youth make decisions which, through a long
process of trial and error, shape their identity. This experimentation
is also a form through which they can think about their insertion,
membership and sociability in the ‘real’ world.
From other perspectives, the question arises on what impact the
internet has had on youth through accessing this sort of ‘identity
laboratory’ and what role it plays in the shaping of youth
identity. On the one hand, the internet enables young people
to explore and perform various roles and personifications while on the
other, the virtual forums – some of them highly attractive, vivid
and absorbing (e.g. video games or virtual games of personification)
– could present a risk to the construction of a stable and viable
Need for affiliation
Social identity theory
This article incorporates text from a free content work. Licensed
under CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0 Licence statement: Youth and changing
realities: rethinking secondary education in Latin America, 44-45,
López, Néstor; Opertti, Renato; Vargas Tamez, Carlos, UNESCO.
To learn how to add open-license text to articles, please
see:Adding open license text to.
For information on reusing text from, please see the terms
^ Moha Ennaji, Multilingualism, Cultural Identity, and Education in
Morocco, Springer Science & Business Media, 2005, pp.19-23
^ Manufacturing Taste: TheWalrus.ca
^ James, Paul (2015). "Despite the Terrors of Typologies: The
Importance of Understanding Categories of Difference and Identity".
Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies. 17 (2):
^ Pratt, Nicola (2005). "Identity,
Culture and Democratization: The
Case of Egypt". New Political Science. 27 (1): 69–86.
^ Shindler, Michael (2014). "A Discussion On The Purpose of Cultural
Identity". The Apollonian Revolt. Archived from the original on 19
April 2015. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
^ The Limits of
Nationalism by Chaim Gans. ISBN 978-0-521-00467-1
^ C Brown (2001) Understanding International Relations. Hampshire,
^ Terrence N TiceTHE EDUCATION DIGEST, V. 64 (9), 05/1999, p. 43
^ Singh, C. L. (2010). "
New media and cultural identity". China Media
Research. 6 (1): 86.
^ "Media and cultural identity - Mora - International Journal of Human
^ Holliday, Adrian (May 2010). "Complexity in cultural identity".
Language and Intercultural Communication. 10 (2): 177.
^ Holliday, A (2010). "Complexity in cultural identity".
Intercultural Communication. 10 (2): 165–177.
^ Hall, Stuart; Ghazoul, Ferial (2012-01-01). "
Cultural identity and
diaspora". Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics (32).
^ Chang, Bok-Myung (2010). "Cultural Identity in Korean English".
Journal of Pan-Pacific Association of Applied Linguistics. 14 (1):
^ McDonough, Kevin (1998). "Can the Liberal State Support Cultural
Identity Schools?". American Journal of Education. 106 (4): 463–499.
^ Tice, Terrence N. "Cultural Identity", The Education Digest, May
^ Terrence N, Tice (1999). Cultural Identity. Prakken Publications,
Inc. pp. 43–44.
^ a b c d e López, Néstor; Opertti, Renato; Vargas Tamez, Carlos
(2017). Youth and changing realities: Rethinking secondary education
in Latin America (PDF). UNESCO. pp. 44–45. ISBN 978-92-31
^ SITEAL, IIPE-UNESCO y OEI (2014). Políticas TIC en los Sistemas
Educativos de América Latina. Informe sobre tendencias sociales y
educativas en América Latina. Buenos Aires, IIEP-UNESCO Regional
Office in Buenos Aires.
^ Morduchowicz, R.; Marcon, A.; Sylvestre, A.; Ballestrini, F. (2010).
Los adolescentes y las redes sociales.
^ Turkle, S. (1995). Life on the screen: Identity in the age of the
Internet. New York, Simon & Schuster.
^ Wallace, P. (1999). The psychology of the Internet. Cambridge,
Cambridge University Press.
^ Zegers, B.; Larraín, M.E. (2011). "El impacto de la
Internet en la
definición de la identidad juvenil: una revisión". Psykhe. 11
Gad Barzilai, Communities and Law: Politics and Cultures of Legal
Identities University of Michigan Press, 2003.
Tan, S.-h. (2005). Challenging citizenship: group membership and
cultural identity in a global age. Aldershot, Hants, England: Ashgate.
Bunschoten, R., Binet, H., & Hoshino, T. (2001). Urban flotsam:
stirring the city : Chora. Rotterdam: 010 Publishers.
Mandelbaum, M. (2000). The new European diasporas: national minorities
and conflict in Eastern Europe. New York: Council on Foreign Relations
Houtman, G. (1999). Mental culture in Burmese crisis politics: Aung
San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy. Tokyo: Institute
for the Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa, Tokyo
University of Foreign Studies. (library.cornell.edu).
Sagasti, F. R., & Alcalde, G. (1999). Development cooperation in a
fractured global order: an arduous transition. Ottawa: International
Development Research Centre. ISBN 0-88936-889-9
Crahan, M. E., & Vourvoulias-Bush, A. (1997). The city and the
world: New York's global future. New York: Council on Foreign
relations. ISBN 0-87609-208-3
Hall, S., & Du Gay, P. (1996). Questions of cultural identity.
London: Sage. ISBN 0-8039-7883-9
Cable, V. (1994). The world's new fissures: identities in crisis.
London: Demos. ISBN 1-898309-35-3
Berkson, I. B. (1920).Theories of Americanization a critical study,
with special reference to the Jewish group. New York City: Teachers
College, Columbia University.
Mora, Necha. (2008). 
Library resources about
Resources in your library
Anderson, Benedict (1983). Imagined Communities. London: Verso.
Balibar, Renée & Laporte, Dominique (1974). Le français
national: Politique et pratique de la langue nationale sous la
Révolution. Paris: Hachette.
Bourdieu, Pierre (1980). "L'identité et la représentation". Actes de
la recherche en sciences sociales. 35: 63–70.
(full-text IDENTITIES: how Governed, Who Pays?)
de Certeau, Michel; Julia, Dominique; & Revel, Jacques (1975). Une
politique de la langue: La Révolution française et les patois.
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 
Fishman, Joshua A. (1973).
Language and Nationalism: Two Integrative
Essays. Rowley, MA: Newbury House.*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):
Gellner, Ernest (1983). Nations and Nationalism. Oxford: Basil
Gordon, David C. (1978). The French
Language and National Identity
(1930–1975). The Hague: Mouton.
James, Paul (2015). "Despite the Terrors of Typologies: The Importance
of Understanding Categories of Difference and Identity".
Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies. 17 (2):
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". Poetics
Today. 15 (3): 405–428. doi:10.2307/1773316.
Shindler, Michel (2014). "A Discussion On The Purpose of Cultural
Identity". The Apollonian Revolt. Archived from the original on
2015-04-19. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
Sparrow, Lise M. (2014). Beyond multicultural man: Complexities of
identity. In Molefi Kete Asante, Yoshitaka Miike, & Jing Yin
(Eds.), The global intercultural communication reader (2nd ed.,
pp. 393–414). New York, NY: Routledge.
Stewart, Edward C., & Bennet, Milton J. (1991). American cultural
patterns: A cross-cultural perspective (Rev. ed.). Yarmouth, ME:
Woolf, Stuart. "Europe and the Nation-State". EUI Working Papers in
History 91/11. Florence: European University Institute.
Philosophy of culture
Popular culture studies
Semiotics of culture
Sociology of culture
Theology of culture
Culture by location
High- and low-context cultures
Cross cultural sensitivity
Culture of fear
Circuit of culture
Cultural jet lag
Culture and positive psychology
Culture and social cognition
Death and culture
Emotions and culture
Living things in culture
Transformation of culture
Ingroups and outgroups
Ethnicity in census
Ethnic interest group
Ethnic theme park