Free Essays

Symbolic Interactionism theory is concerned with the ‘sociology of the everyday ‘and focused on individual experience and issues of identity.


The role theory began when symbolic interactionism became part of Erving Goffman’s interest. His interest was observing individuals, groups in certain situations and settings rather than a social theorist and analysis through his work. (Birrell, Donnelly, 2004) He developed an interest in reactions that focused on facial expressions, body language. This can be shown in sporting ways through Erving Goffman being known as more of an observer rather than a social theorist. The theory began to emerge when Goffman realised symbolic interaction between groups in certain settings. Goffman’s approach was not developed on theory but on analysis of the interaction order such as, social situations or “environments in which two or more individuals are physically in one another’s presence” (Goffman Reader, p. 235). Symbolic Interactionism reveals the truth behind people’s actual role by observing their emotions, expressions it showed through their theatrical performances (Weiss, 2001) Out of all the sociologists Goffman was the only sociologist who found interaction from individuals through groups and one to one. Goffman was criticized for being unusual in his work as Goffman worked on essays rather than research as sociologists were expected to be known as a researcher. Critics found his work difficult to comprehend and this made situations complicated. Gouldner, (1970) discovered that Goffman was not interested in power, social class or social structure. Goffman took the criticism well that he was unable to talk about macro-concerns. These are the situations where we spend much or most of our life – in face-to-face activities involving others, whether these be everyday social situations, situations within organized structures (jobs, school), or unusual social situations (accidents, weddings, funerals). Goffman excels at observation, description, and insight, analyzing how people interpret and act in ordinary situations, and he provides guidelines concerning how to examine social situations. One of my colleagues recently read some articles by Goffman, noting how he sometimes became overly formal in his writings, and suggested that it is unfortunate the Goffman did not become a novelist rather than a sociologist.

Key terms that relate to Symbolic Interactionism; are, ‘self’ which are known as ourselves, identity, personality or in terms of identity finding what and where the person is in social terms (Vryan, Adler & Adler, 2003). Finding identity is through situations (Vryan, et al, 2003). The term ‘I’ meaning the actual individual itself, can be understood as the person being the person, could possibly mean the same thing as ‘self’. In relation to identity there are many issues with this term as identity can often be deceived when amongst other people. Nevertheless the person deceiving themselves may or may not be conscious of this role act always trying to impress others to be accepted. The way the theory can help sport sociologists understands social relations in various ways are observing roles that people play through experiences success through society’s attention, through its approval or disapproval (Weiss, 2001). Being approved for the person you are is a feeling of acceptance and feeling like you are essentially a part of a group, however if not feeling accepted this can influence the person to then act a different role or attempt to change personality traits which is clearly impossible. Self – recognition can only happen through internal belief that acknowledgement has been met by others. Humans are creating each other all the time through the experiences being produced. Therefore in terms of sport, the athlete being acknowledged by surroundings and the media is through the success or been unsuccessful that the athlete has made in certain performances. The reason for change in these situations are doubts about ‘self’ not having enough self-esteem to come face to face with situations and individuals that are more of a threat. Self- esteem is found through identity reinforcement or social recognition. Self- awareness is developed in confidence in this self-esteem and encouragement from an individual with the way the change takes place is recognised by others in the relationship to the self (Weiss, 2001). The positive that can be taken from this theory is that Goffman was aware of his surroundings. Goffman was criticised in his lack of knowledge when it came to macro-concerns. Functionalism and Marxism use strengths in this theory by functionalism being positive, appreciative about reality in society. Whereas Marxism is positive in revealing the truth to people therefore Erving would have experienced these approaches/theories during his observations. The strength that can be taken from Goffman is his awareness of people around him, and he emphasised this in his work so that people would be aware of existing roles being played. Goffman was able to observe certain situations such as, impression management, role distance and face work (Birrell et al., 2004). This relates to functionalism by showing a positive insight into peoples demeanour with values which is reflected through identity reinforcement (Weiss, 2001). Functionalism through socialisation had a way of learning norms and values.

The way the theory has applied sport is through the connection of society which forms identity reinforcement or acceptance. Identity creates groups, specific sporting roles, and individuals in sporting performance (Weiss, 2001). Nevertheless in today’s society, there are many sporting issues that can be a barrier to forming an identity or being accepted. Issues that can arise in sports are sexism, racism, social class which mainly affect sporting performance being excluded or isolated from a group. For example, not being situated in the right class, a lower class member of society interesting in playing tennis but unable to, as there is low income from peers.

Class associations have a long duration effect on economic inequality on people’s lives that has led to various amounts of wealth and power, which is to say to differing classes. (Bourdieu, 1978) Being acknowledged through an assigned role that is dependent at birth determines age, sex, background and even social class (Weiss, 2001). For example, being accepted for the way you look and behave is acknowledged in this area that allows the person to be a part of the team. To be specific, female footballers are accepted playing in their team due to their ability and not to do with their gender (Weiss, 2001) Developing self-esteem is followed throughout the sporting life of a performer which influences the behaviour of an individual. Recognition can be found through a specific role or function. In sport, there is a certain link between the class and sport that the participant plays. Another sporting example is recognition as a member of a group. Acceptance in a group states that the member is part of the team due to being a popular member or being good at the role their given whilst playing the sport. Through acceptance it is by intimacy and symbolic ritual, the understanding between members of a groups that builds trust and close friendships (Weiss, 2001). This is met on the pitch and after the game at social events, especially with the bonding happening, it may demonstrate the connection on the pitch as well as off the pitch. Each and every one of the member of the team represents an individual of themselves. Even so the individuals are working towards their roles to make an impact of unity and belonging. However, the collapse in keeping a smooth interaction or even worse rejecting to act with others, gives Erving Goffman an opportunity to analyse the situation. An example that problems are accounted for are experienced in sports by not giving people a chance to express their speciality need, that gives the person their identity. The people being rejected are willing to impress the ones who avoid their presence. Women being rejected for wanting to play football, this would look deviant to some people. Apparently women are supposed to play in sports such as, gymnastics, diving. This is more appropriate for women to be taking part in this activity rather than playing a game of football or rugby. This is the way male critics and some women who may not have any experience with football. Looking at this in a sporting way arguing on both sides of the situation, women being involved in football could help men understand the meaning of fairness and equality.

Also ways in which to control behaviours on the pitch in a more controlled manner as women can bring good to the game. Birrell et al., 2004) supports the point by stating that women are best suitable in unnerved situations, well if that is the case then this can be demonstrated on the pitch especially in situations such as, penalty kicks, the build up to the penalty kick can be very intimidating and terrifying but if there is the support from other members of the groups and naturally being calm, it can put the situation at ease.


Weiss, O. (2001) Identify reinforcement in sport: revisiting the symbolic interactionalist Legacy, International review for the sociology of sport; 36; 393

Birrell, S. and Donnelly, P. (2004) Reclaiming Goffman: Erving Goffman’s influence on the sociology of sport. In: Giulianotti, R. (2004) Sport and modern social theorists, pp. 49-64, New York: Palgrave

Bourdieu, P. (1978) ‘Sport and Social Class’, Social Science information 17: 819-40.

Gouldner, A. (1970) The coming crisis of western sociology, New York: Basic books. In: Birrell, S. and Donnelly, P. (2004) Reclaiming Goffman: Erving Goffman’s influence on the sociology of sport. In: Giulianotti, R. (2004) Sport and modern social theorists, pp. 49-64, New York: Palgrave

Vryan, KD, Adler PA & Adler P, (2003) Identity in: Reynolds LT & Merman- Kinney NJ. Handbook of symbolic interactionism. Lanham: AltaMira Press

Free Essays

In what way is post-modernity effecting people’s sense of community, identity and belonging?


The nature and impact of modernity upon our traditional sense of community, Identity and belonging is often at the forefront of contemporary sociological debate. Existing content for the discussions and debates on globalisation and questions of identity will often refer one might suggest sceptically, to a “crisis of modernity” (Hooker, R. 1996 1) in the sense that it presents us with an issue. Signifying that our time-honoured collective goals have been severed or replaced, leaving us with new orthodoxies which presented us with a world with no real direction, spiralling dangerously out of control. In what Anthony Giddens once described as a “run away world” he stated that “we are being propelled into a global order that no one fully understands but which is making its effects felt upon all of us”. (Cochrance, A. and Pain, K., 2004, 6).

In this essay I would like to address the question of what impact modernity has upon our sense of Identity, community and belonging, by firstly outlining the development of these themes from pre modern to contemporary society. I would also hope to highlight the importance of recognising the complexity of identity and the difficulty faced in defining this and other such terms within modern sociological thought. In addition that if we were to perceive Modernity in its simplest definition as being for good or ill, a sense that modern life is somehow no longer connected with that of the past (through the filter of social movements, cultural shifts etc) that it is of equal importance to discuss how our sense of community, identity and belonging has altered in contemporary society?

Within the structure of pre modern societies it is interesting to observe the relationship of elements such as class and social standing when defining a person’s role within the community. In that an individual’s position was not established through the attributes they displayed through any particular talent or aptitude, but more so established via the class and social structure they inherited. In turn the person was not so much defined by their individuality but more so by the role and class they inherited. Religion and hierarchical rule ensured that there existed an almost unquestionable understanding of identity through role. “An individuals relation to the objective conditions of his labour is mediated by his being a member of a community”(Sayer, D. 1991, 17)

In his book on social mobility Anthony Heath highlights the ideas and analogy of Plato in discussing the ideal society. Giving reference to the determining of social standing as being that all where ordained by god to their position within the community and speaking in reference to metals he describes the standing order as that of the workers (iron and bronze) and of the leaders and the assistants (silver and gold). He states that “Gods first and most important commandment to the rulers, therefore is that they must scrutinize the mixture of metals to their children’s characters. If one of their own children has iron or bronze in its make up, they must harden themselves and assign him to his appropriate level among farming or working people. Conversely a child from the latter origins with gold or silver in his nature must be promoted accordingly to become a ruler or an assistant. For the Oracle has prophesised that the state will be destroyed if it ever comes to have rulers of iron and bronze” (Heath, A 1981, 12). If one could utilise such rationality and philosophical formation of thought to highlight the religious overtones present within pre modern thinking, it is perhaps not an inconceivable notion to suggest that the anchoring of our roles within the community existed with an almost unquestionable sense that we were born with a sense of purpose ordained by God. That these roles where seemingly incontestable by the use of terms such as divine selection (particularly when adorning the monarchy as the head of state etc), and thus one may argue that our sense of community was not so much established for individuals but enforced by an underlying logic of prophecy or significance based on religious understanding and meaning. It should perhaps be unsurprising then to find that the advent of organised religion played a significant role within pre modern society, establishing a banner under which the idea of community was able to unify in a sense of shared belief. Or put differently and perhaps less sceptically one may suggest that the establishment of community pillared mainly by the parish ensured a sense of belonging and certainty of one’s own place in the social world with which they lived, giving a sense of serving one’s community via the roles which they inhabit.

And so it is apparent for the most part that individualism was seemingly deemed unnecessary within the traditional values of pre modern society, rather you were simply filling a role for the sake of the greater good of the community. Some social theorists, for example Emile Durkheim, would perhaps have perceived this as a representation of what he called ‘mechanical solidarity [whereby]…the individual…does not belong to himself; he is literally a thing at the disposal of society’ (Sayer, D. 1991, 18). Whilst ‘mechanical solidarity’ gave a sense of belonging linking the individual to the community within which they lived, this also presents us with a flawed perspective that as individuals we were not to be differentiated. Because, if we have a shared sense of knowing ones identity through definition of role there exists little room for diversity.

However it is both apparent and important to recognise that given that the pre-literate archaic social order had survived for the best part of human history, there exists little scope for argument that society was thus defined. None the less, it also becomes difficult to maintain the notion of autonomous identity with subsequent events. It is arguable that the need for change within society was highlighted and advanced by revolutions across the Western world (I.e. the English civil war, the storming of the Bastille etc), and it is perhaps with such events that it becomes possible to entertain the notion that unrest between the classes was present throughout pre modern society and that such uprisings serve to illustrate not only an awareness of self but also that of class formation and unification bred by the underlying, perhaps oppressive nature which surrounded the fabric of the pre modern community.Conceivably the traditional church centred ideals which provide the foundations in the belief structure of pre modern society, if not oppressive to, at the very least could be seen to ignore the notion of individuality or replace the necessity individualism with seemingly incontrovertible but none the less faith led and thus fickle principles*. And it is perhaps with such oppression that there existed a fundamental flaw in that as human beings to ignore our sense of self reflectivity and the complexity of defining one’s own identity is to go against the very nature of that which makes us human as expressed by Sigmund Freud. Freud once argued that “who we are is not given in advance, we are not born with an identity, but it emerges in a number of different forms through a series of identifications which combine and emerge in an infinite number of forms so there is never one fixed coherent Identity but several in play.” (Woodward, K. 2004, 16).

Increased fluctuations with the arrival and advancement of new technologies created surges in the advent of new industries, which in turn forced new developments in the roles of individuals within western society with astonishing rapidity. The industrial revolution and development of urbanisation brought with it a forced change in societal structure and inevitably the understanding and allocation of roles, thus not necessarily voiding status definition but certainly restructuring it within communities and society as a whole. In what some saw as a severing of links from traditional ways of life, the shift from agricultural to industrial production paved the way for capitalism which as the likes of Marx and Webber would contend is irrefutably bound to modernity. In contrast to pre capitalist societies this demonstrates “their distinction from the modern world… and provide the foil against which the novelty of modernity is established”(Sayer, D. 1991, 16).

*Indeed at times the values which found our collective belief structures throughout history have proven to be questionable and thus open to engagement after demonstrating themselves interchangeable in order to suit the purpose of fulfilling political agenda, not to mention during the process of initiating a declaration of war. Both religion and political forms such as that of democracy provide a sense of community and unification established through shared (or perceivably shared) sense of collective morals based on Religious and political affiliation. Such examples are present throughout history from the crusades to the cold war. Some interesting perspectives on the subject include Chapter 5 The authoritarian model, of Understanding Politics: Ideas, Institutions, and Issues By Thomas M. Magstadt (New York: St. Martins, 1984) and the controversial book by Sam Harris entitled Letter to a Christian Nation (New York: Knopf, 2006).

The increase in the range of functions required and made available to the masses caused the greater need to a certain extent, for society to focus upon the skills or talents that each individual possessed regardless of class or social standing. This of course would inevitably impact upon the traditional sense of identity (or lack of) in that roles where no longer ordained, and that we were no longer born into our functions but had in a sense been granted opportunity to develop our sense of worth through attributes to a particular function which may be of higher value than our inherited class via the utilisation of skills and recognition of individual merit. In what Durkheim describes in his theory of organic solidarity “In these situations, social order does not rest on uniformity but rather on individuals pursuing different but complementary functions”(Marsh, I. et al. 2000, 55). Although seemingly decisive in presenting us with clear changes in the composition of community structure, our idea of self and inevitably our sense of belonging, it is vitally important to recognise that the boundaries of class although seemingly becoming more transgressable with acknowledgement to the novelty of modernity, it is extremely difficult to contest such boundaries and hierarchies still remain. That although certainly opportunity for class mobility exists, there are still restrictions presented (I.e. inherited high standing positions, golden handshake or glass ceiling jobs, and even the recent outcry at top university entry requirements excluding those from poorer backgrounds etc), which would restrict or at least to a certain level deter such movement allowing allegations to the presence of a culture of upper class conservatism. With this in mind one could argue that a notion such as that of organic solidarity could potentially be construed as being applicable only to the working classes. None the less, the emergence of the industrial revolution and the connotations for good or ill that became associated with it did present us with the ability to allow for the encouragement of individualism and the pursuit of individual talent to fulfil the requirement of skilled labour.

It is perhaps also supportive evidence as to the impact of modernity upon individuals with not only the increase in the use of the word identity rather than role, but also the complexity which lies within our classification of self and indeed the growing interest of sociologists and other experts to do so. Many agree that who we are no longer seems definable by referring to a small set of reference points mainly attached to our roles within the community as it perhaps once did. However it is worth considering that this may not necessarily mean that the tools we use to define ourselves today are completely separate from that of pre modern society, more that perhaps the set has simply grown.

In contemporary society, the factors and social constraints (or structures) which shape who we are and how others will comprehend us have not necessarily disappeared but have significantly altered and become increasingly more complex. Who we are is simply no longer definable by the roles we fulfil and it could be suggested that, in modern times more so than in the past, both individuals and indeed as nation states we will often act self reflectively, contemplating how we perceive ourselves and how we are perceived by others. As individuals one may sometimes feel the need to search for a single descriptive notion as to the person we are. Although some social factors that compromise our ideas of self may get lost in translation when considering our identity we may often seek our answers through our own personal ideals or, (as some social theorists such as Ervine Goffman would suggest in his work on the presentation of self) via the various roles we act out through the different aspects of our lives. For example the role of father and mother, the manager, the friend, all demand different characteristics depending upon the situation. Some may also feel the need to place great emphasis on the material, from the clothes they wear to the house they live in and the cars they drive, as holding great significance in describing their own identity. Although this is not necessarily new, but perhaps more a continuation when we consider the roles of pre modern society (farm worker, father, husband, still demanded similarly different approaches and behaviour). Modernity has certainly shown an impact on the lives of individuals, for example the increase in emphasis placed upon aspects such as materiality, safety and appropriative behavioural guidance (perhaps attributed to increasing diversity of expert knowledge). Whilst one could argue as to the significance of traditional points of reference when distinguishing one’s own identity where by one may often refer to gender, job roles, and our social standing or class etc. It is nonetheless evident that when considering our own identity there begins a vast and complex process of deliberation for which there is perhaps no one true answer. But has the idea that we are less or no longer bound by the more traditional views of the past allowed us to simply choose our identity with positive effect, or has modernity as some would view it lead to a great deal more complexity leaving both ourselves and the society around us without any clear direction.

“Our cognitive maps no longer fit the social landscape around us. We encounter people who’s identities and natures are not clear to us. We may no longer even be sure about ourselves. The future no longer appears as predictable as it seems to have been for earlier generations.” (Jenkins, R. 2004, 11).

Indeed, it is possible to ascertain that the impact of modernity on our individual and collective Identity particularly in a modern multicultural society such as that of the U.K, has arguably given rise to increasingly complex and less orthodox means of self definition, as the traditional views of class, sexuality, nationality and even gender seemingly hold less relevance to individuals in current times, but can the same be said for our actions as a nation stateIf we take for example the idea of citizenship which has seen a great deal of increased focus for many western states particularly in conjunction with the process or ‘the issue’ of immigration, is it that values such as national pride and collective responsibility are now seen as something which can be learned through the process of mediationAnd if so is this an indication that one effect of modernity could be a need for affirmation to values and shared collective ideals which where perhaps one may argue a given in pre modern communities?

Throughout the west in the UK, Canada, or Australia for example, whilst one may reside and work in for a set period of time via the various visas and passes available based on similar points systems which each nation uses to administer entry and rights to live and work within its borders this does not necessarily allow the individuals the same rights and privileges to that of its citizens.

Indeed for those who wish to attain such privileges they face a degree of uncertainty as they must jump through a series of hoops in order to demonstrate their suitability and indeed ability to become citizens. In 2005 the UK Government of the time introduced a citizenship test which Immigration Minister Tony McNulty once described as ‘not a test of someone’s ability to be British or a test of their “Britishness”. It is a test of their preparedness to become citizens, in keeping with their language requirement as well’. (McNulty cited, in Watson, 2008, 1).

And whilst a great deal of focus is and has been placed upon the role of the English language within British culture, one must also look at the role of language in defining and expressing a certain sense of identity and belonging. In particular it may serve to highlight devolution and the role of Welsh language which has in recent years seen an increase in use and could potentially serve to demonstrate an expression of national identity through language.

None the less, there exists scope that an ability and willingness to learn the language is not purely for the benefit of the state and its people alone, but also for that of the individual wishing to become a citizen and so debatably, does not necessarily serve to indicate an expression of required national allegiance from the state nor willingness to become ‘British’ from the individual if put in context as a standalone prerequisite of the citizenship process. Indeed with immigration to another country of different language to that of the individual’s mother tongue, an inability to speak that language would place anyone at a distinct disadvantage when conducting most aspects of daily life. However the level of skills required with regards to integration are debateable. Indeed within the UK some see the Citizenship process and in particular the citizenship test as a part of that process as something which would present a challenge even to those that have lived there throughout the entirety of their lives and perhaps could be seen as imposing a hypocritical and unfair standard.

When we consider what constitutes citizenship it can often represent links to very inclusive and/or restrictive elements of our social identity.

It is evident that states have often seen or felt the need to put in place regimes and systems to establish migratory control and which indicates distinct lines between its citizens and those of other states.

The apartheid system of South Africa for example was an attempt by the British government to restrict and monitor racial movements and allowed significantly more privileges and freedom to those with a certain colour skin or ethnic background (Redman, 2008). At the same time the state was able to benefit from the cheap labour of those seeking work in the hope of being granted citizenship and gaining a “ticket” to the same privileges some were born with (Redman, 2008).

Whilst such methods of monitoring populations have been adjusted significantly in modern society states have continued to stress the requirement for certain standards of individuals wishing to become subjects. As Eleonore Kofman describes of EU countries “states are demanding affirmation of belonging and loyalty leading to greater emphasis on obligations in the practice of citizenship”(Kofman, 2005, pg 444).

Both Australia and the UK have installed a very similar skills or tier system and whilst the increase in demand for both skilled and unskilled labour has allowed many to come over to both countries in order to reside and work, this has also (like many other nations) allowed the governments to deal with the complex issue of requiring migrant workers whilst maintaining a selective process.

On one hand for certain individuals who have what are considered highly beneficial skills (Doctors of medicine for example) the process to citizenship is perhaps much easier than it is for those who are within other skills groups (ie: care workers, cleaners) who may face a very uncertain and restricted citizenship (Parrenas 2001, in Kofman 2005 pg 458 ).

This could ask of the citizenship process the importance and relevance to the emphasis it places on such values , as if it is indeed necessary for all to accept and to be integrated into the same culture in order to absorb the values of the nation. Should the process not remain the same for all, regardless of occupational advantages?

When attending Citizenship ceremonies some may share feelings of pride and happiness, perhaps to some even reliefBut what is striking is that although some feel a real change within themselves, describing feeling more “British” or “feeling absorbed into Australian culture” for others there seems to be a sense of liberation as if they have finally gained freedom having been “granted their papers” (Watson, 2008). In some respects the citizenship process can achieve its apparent goal of making some feel welcomed and part of their new home, to others perhaps it is a reward for the many sacrifices made in order to gain a ‘ticket’. If the process of integration is required, and the person is willing to make those changes then, whether planting the Australian tree, or passing a test to show your knowledge of your new countries culture, should the feelings not be the same for everyone who becomes a Citizen?

Despite slight differences between the bureaucratic and ceremonious procedures between the UK and Australia, one could take the stance that whilst the citizenship process may superficially mediate the person in the sense that they will have to demonstrate a willingness and capability of conforming to state values, it still remains the choice of the individual as to whether they fully assimilate those values as part of their own identity.

Have we perhaps as a direct outcome of modernity become more conscious to the notion each and every aspect of our identities even down to our sense of nationality can change, that there are in fact no longer any written laws or natural rules for who we are?

Perhaps the encouragement of individuality has to a certain extent left us in a world with not necessarily a lack of direction, but perhaps a less defined sense of belonging. For we have also allowed for seemingly rapid alterations to societal norms or rules which are deemed collectively as no longer fit for use. In my personal opinion to completely dismiss modernity as a problem which has destroyed communities and our sense of collective goals would be a futile statement to make. For example one argument for the positive impact of modernity is that it has undoubtedly allowed us to increase the diversity of the communities in which we live. We no longer have to be ruled by views and opinions or even laws handed down from one generation to another, should they no longer be agreeable.

In the west, particularly during the 1960’s the advent of new social movements one could argue, indicated the continued collective need or want to challenge traditional (what some might call oppressive) constraints and allow for a more tolerant and equal society with a richer cultural tapestry. Campaigns for equality in the civil rights for many social groups deemed to be different (such as the black or gay and lesbian communities) served to illustrate that societal norms of the past where no longer acceptable and that people were willing to overcome adversity and demand changes in the way that individuals where perceived by society. It is important to recognise that with the advent and further advancement of technology and global industry, we have seen an influx in the amount of information we are exposed to each day both as individuals and (thanks to ever increasing developments in the field of communications technology) as a collective. With the digital age we have come to witness various revolutions via many different platforms as people utilise the technology and enhance the skills available to them, and have grown aware of issues which were once not part of what an individual would deem their community.

Theories such as globalisation are seemingly indicating further break downs in what would once have been considered certainties such as nationality, citizenship and cultural relevance or belonging. In this instance one could stress that an obvious concern with the impact of modernity upon identity, community and our sense of belonging, is that we continue to replace old certainties with new orthodoxies leaving a very abstract society. The impact of modernity upon individuals and communities within society has undoubtedly placed greater emphasis on the encouragement of free thought. With a greater realisation of identity and thus a greater emphasis placed on the need for individuality upon one’s self, it is unsurprising that the social tapestry which makes up the communities of modern day has become increasingly uncertain. However it is perhaps interesting to note that in addressing the classification of identity, society as a whole appears to override the notion of individuality almost taking a pre modern view of classification based on external inherited factors (however this in turn now takes into account modern movements of choice). For example much anti discrimination legislation (ie, the UK Human Rights Act 1998) focuses on factors such as race, age, religion, gender and sexual orientation, thus in turn narrowing the concept of what is diverse in the social sphere. Whilst the modern concept of identity and community expands and grows it could be argued that what is seen to be expressive forms of individuality the requirement for monitoring and classifying ourselves as a collective finds more traditional roots and groundings. Whether this is an expression for the need to replace the certainties and establish or emphasise shared collective values as a form of unification, which as some would deem had been forever lost as ties with pre modern civilisation where severed remains and will continue to be a topic of debate.

Reference List

Cochrane, A. and Pain, K. (2004) ‘A Globalizing Society’. In Held, D. (ed.) A Globalizing WorldCulture Economics, Politics, London:Routledge/The Open University

Hooker, R. (1996) (Accessed 4th January 2010)

Jenkins, R. (2004) Social Identity, 2nd Edition, London:Routledge

Marsh, I. et al. (2000) Sociology: Making Sense of Society, Essex:Pearson Education

Sayer, D. (1991) Capitalism and Modernity: An Excursus on Marx and Weber, London:Routledge

Woodward, K. (2004) ‘Questions of Identity’. In Woodward, K. (ed.) Questioning Identity: Gender, Class, Ethnicity, London:Routledge/The Open University

Heath, A. (1981) social mobility, Fontana Paperbacks

McNulty, T. in Watson (2008) Citizenship, in McFall, L., Redman, P., Watson, S., and Carter, S., (eds) DVD: Passports: registering the individual, Milton Keynes, The Open University.

Kofman, E., (2005), ‘Citizenship, Migration and the Reassertion of National Identity’, Citizen Studies, 9:5, 453-467

Free Essays

Challenges to foster a national identity during the Meiji restoration period.


Sth that captures the reader’s attention.

Background :

In the middle of the 1800’s Japan had been a closed country for hundreds of years. There was a governmental policy which essentially stated that Japanese people would be killed if leaving the country and anyone entering would also be killed. There was a small island in the south of Japan where the Japanese imported goods from the Dutch, Chinese, and Korean nations, but there was little or no trade with any other country. Thus, the country of Japan was closed to outside influences, partly to maintain political domination control and to prevent the foreigners from stealing their gunpowder. In the mid 1860’s an American diplomatic fleet of steam powered battleships arrived and insisted upon the opening of Japanese trade with the US. The feudal Shogun government, however apprehensive of the threat to their control over the people of Japan, had no choice but to allow trade with the US. This opened the door for international trade and relations with the world beyond Japan for the first time in hundreds of years. I 1868, the shogun(the military leader) was forced to step down and the sixteen year old Emperor Meiji was “restored ,” so that Japan might catch up military with the West.

There was the end of a relatively stable number of years of Shogun government called the Edo period. During this period a primary Shogunate (military dictatorship) was essentially running the government and the various different Samurai clans of the country were managed by this primary Shogunate, which was based in Edo (the city now known as Tokyo). Thankfully this particular military dictatorship was a relatively noble group monetarily, but their own noble and self-sacrificing way was actually part of what allowed the imperial family to take over the government of Japan at this rather pivotal moment.

Essentially Meiji was the heir son of the imperial family and so those who stood to benefit from him being placed in as leader of the country helped to make it happen. The leadership of the Shogunate in Edo was handed over rather effortlessly as the Shogunate was apparently duped by Meiji and his supporters. Meiji’s primary supporters, of course, were leaders of some of the primary opposition to the Shogunate. This assertion of the leadership of an imperialistic family was known as the “Meiji Restoration”, yet it was not really a restoration as there had apparently never been a truly united Japan ruled in such a way before. Suddenly Meiji took over and any Samurai opposition to the changes was essentially stopped with force until the Samurai class was finally outlawed.

The Meiji constitution was written as part of this “restoration” and basically fabricated a national identity for Japan. It also conveniently fabricated a nationalistic mythology which attempted to falsely present Meiji and his family as Shinto divinity. The result was a fanatical religious theocracy with a false history and deluded national patriotism. This ultimately led to the sad events of WWII and the immense disgrace of the Japanese people. It was essentially a nation-wide cult fabricated by politicians.


Westernisation influence in Japan during the Meiji Restoration Period:

Political influence:

In 1889, a constitution was promulgated which established a parliamentary government but left it accountable to the emperor rather than to the people. Administrative power was centralized in a national bureaucracy, which also ruled in the name of the emperor. There as a change in the feudal system. The classes were declared equal, so that samurai and their lords lost their feudal privileges, while the role of merchants began to be respected.

Japan received its first European style constitution in 1889. A parliament, the Diet was established while the emperor kept sovereignty: he stood at the top of the army, navy, executive and legislative power. The ruling clique, however, kept on holding the actual power, and the able and intelligent emperor Meiji agreed with most of their actions. Political parties did not yet gain real power due to the lack of unity among their members.

Economic influence:

In order to transform the agrarian economy of Tokugawa Japan into a developed industrial one, many Japanese scholars were sent abroad to study Western science and languages and businesses, while foreign experts taught in Japan. The progression and improvements in education would boost the economy because of the increase in knowledge and skills. Industrialization created more importance on businesses and the prospering of them, than the farming and agrarian economy. After means of large governmental investments, the transportation and communication network in Japan were improved. The government also directly supported the prospering of businesses and industries, especially the large and powerful family businesses called zaibatsu.

The large expenditures led to a financial crisis in the middle of the 1880s which was followed by a reform of the currency system and the establishment of the Bank of Japan. Thus, Japan’s economic grew tremendously during the Meiji restoration period.

Education influence:

A universal education was implemented. The education system was reformed after the French and later after the German system. Among those reforms was the introduction of compulsory education. Compulsory public education was introduced both to teach the skills needed for the new nation and to inculcate values of citizenship in all Japanese. This means that the money is going towards education, which goes to the people, and creates more capital, because of more knowledge.

Military influence:

There was a high priority for Japan in an era of European and American imperialism. Universal conscription was introduced, and a new national army modelled after the Prussian force was established, and a navy after the British force was established.

Arts influence:

In 1876, the government opened the Technical Fine Arts School (Kobu Bijutsu Gakko) and invited the architect Giovanni Cappelletti (d. ca. 1885), the sculptor Vincenzo Ragusa (1841–1928), and the painter Antonio Fontanesi (1818–1882), who was deeply influenced by the Barbizon school, to teach its students in Western techniques and media. Fontanesi’s students Yamamoto Hosui (1850–1906), Kuroda Seiki (1866–1924), and Asai Chu (1856–1907) all later travelled to Europe to study academic painting, and are looked upon today as the Meiji period’s greatest producers of Western style paintings (yoga). On the other hand, the government took the acquisition of Western art techniques as a means of fostering industrial development, as opposed to promoting an appreciation of Western aesthetics or art theory. This was to let the young Japanese gain appreciation for the potentially important role of the museum in society, and the establishment of Japan’s first public museum at Yushima Seido Confucian shrine. Conder taught at the University of Technology (Kobu Daigakko). His students Tatsuno Kingo (1854–1911), Katayama Tokuma (1853–1917), and Sone Tatsuzo (1853–1937) were responsible for many of the major architectural monuments during the Meiji period.

Education system in Japan during the Meiji Restoration period:

School system reform:

The reform of the school system has contributed the most to the enlightenment of the Japanese people. By the 1906, the school attendance was as high as 95%, which Japan boosted the one of the highest literacy rates in the world. The resorted Imperial government immediately realised the importance of universal education to the nation’s pursuit of modernisation and progress of Japan. Gakusei, a education system was implemented in the 1872 and the promulgation of the Imperial Rescript on education in the 1890, these laid the foundation for modern education system in Japan. The school system was then modelled after the westernisation.

Universities established:

Universities as well as technical and professional schools were established to promote higher education to meet the demands of a labour force. Except for the terakoya, small regional schools providing basic education, most traditional schools from the Edo period were almost exclusively reserved to boys belonging to the samurai class. Despite this, the level of literacy in the late Edo period was remarkably high, which no doubt paved the way for the Meiji educational reforms.

Primary school:

The nationalisation of the education system made primary school compulsory for both boys and girls. At first, the attendance was very low. However, after tuition was abolished for elementary schools in 1900, then there was an increase in attendance. Many things in the school was influenced by the westerners. Firstly, the school was furnished western-style were built throughout the Japan. Secondly, the school curriculum was also based on western models. This includes history, science, geography and arithmetic. Schools also continued to give moral instruction based on Confucian tradition, which encouraged patriotic loyalty and filial piety. Games like sugoroku, the New Year’s game, were used to introduce young children to the scripts in a fun way. The sugoroku board shown here illustrates the different steps a student must follow before earning a degree.

Education in the Empire of Japan was a high priority for the government, as the leadership of the early Meiji government realized the critical need for universal public education in its drive to modernize and westernize Japan. Overseas missions such as the Iwakura mission were sent abroad to study the education systems of leading Western countries.

After 1868 new leadership set Japan on a rapid course of modernization. The Meiji leaders established a public education system to help Japan catch up with the West and form a modern nation. Missions like the Iwakura mission were sent abroad to study the education systems of leading Western countries. They returned with the ideas of decentralization, local school boards, and teacher autonomy. Such ideas and ambitious initial plans, however, proved very difficult to carry out. After some trial and error, a new national education system emerged. As an indication of its success, elementary school enrollments climbed from about 40 or 50 percent of the school-age population in the 1870s to more than 90 percent by 1900, despite strong public protest, especially against school fees.

By the 1890s, after earlier intensive preoccupation with Western, particularly United States, educational ideas, a much more conservative and traditional orientation evolved. Confucian precepts were stressed, especially those concerning the hierarchical nature of human relations, service to the new state, the pursuit of learning, and morality. These ideals, embodied in the 1890 Imperial Rescript on Education, along with highly centralized government control over education, largely guided Japanese education until the end of World War II.

There are two different perspective to the modernization of Japan. Some Japanese think that it is a chance to achieve collective, national glory. However, others do not really encourage modernization. Change to them meant danger, decadence and loss of moral virtues. They fear of three areas: gender disorder, cultural concern and political disorders.

Firstly, for the gender anarchy, the Japanese banned women from adopting short hairstyle in the 1872. It emerged again when the government sharply restricted women’s political activity in 18890. However, during the Meiji period, the primary duty of the women was to serve the twin roles of good wife and wise mother was not purely reactionary or restrictive. During the Meiji formulation, wise women needed schooling. This was to ensure that the mother raises the children well in a new era, thus the mother needs to be literate. They had to know something about the world beyond the home. “Good mother, wise mother” was aggressively promoted by the Japanese government that the women have to be educated. The imperial institution took part in the project to prescribe new roles of women for men. The imperial signaled that men should have western haircuts by adopting that style of him. While the hair of the women should be kept long and braided up. The women’s appearance was also influenced by the westerners. the westernized facial appearance encourages the women to stop shaving their eye brown and blackening their teeth. However, it was later changed with support from the throne in the face of western examples and criticisms.

Secondly, the Japanese fear of political disorder. They fear that a restless populace might challenge their political control which led to the decision for a conservative constitution. It inspires for a call for scarification for the state in Imperial Rescript. It also inspired a spark for military drills in school.

Thirdly, it is the open of the port to the outside world. Japanese fear that people from across the sea would poison the soul of the Japan. They fear that they would influence the Japanese or to convert them into Christianity and demolish their true identity and cultural, they fear the lost of their cultural.

Due to the rapid modernization and adapting many things from the westerners, they start to fear that there is no unique identity of Japan. Thus a magazine “ The Japanese” was published. The writer thinks that the nation followed a path towards the so-called civilized. They feared that it might “forfeit our nation national character and destroy all the elements in


Websites: 21/4/11 , on the western influence on Japan. (21/4/11), the background of Meiji Period.;jsessionid=AA30BECF533CBA0ECFF8450FC71FF6C1?method=preview&lang=EN&id=12991 23/4/11, education system during the Meiji period.

Free Essays

Above the throng: identity achieving in the consumer culture

Introduction: post-traditional society

For the liberal wing of modernity, pushed forward mankind and those who are high on consumption enter into post-traditional society, which contains more complicate social order. Meanwhile, the traditional culture is substituted by a new mass-produced culture, which is called ‘Consumer culture’. With the emergence of consumer culture, people who are in the stable social order seek for individual autonomy, followed with deregulation of desire and economic prosperity without restriction of social values. People start to achieve superior social situation by purchasing symbolic products and imitated products of upper class.In fact, the consumers refer in particular to middle class, who

Middle class

Both of the authors have mentioned middle class in a high frequency. The idea of American “middle class”, constructed out of images, attitudes, acquisitions, and style, was emerging (Ewen, 1988).Historian Karen Halttunen defined middle class as people who occupied a static social position between the extremes of peasantry and aristocracy. (Ewen, 1988).Due to the overturn of the traditional culture followed by human’s rapidly rising desire, the middle class has developed several significant characters. First of all, they spend excessive labor force and time whereas earn neither more nor less money, sometimes are worried about insufficient funds when the expenditure exceeds income. In fact , they suffer from live from hand to mouth. Secondly, in response to the situation, the middle class people are dissatisfied with their current lives and eager for aristocratic and luxury lives, what’s more, they want to be closed to upper class. Furthermore, they are sensitive and anxiety to be regarded as the poor, because it represents they have failure of lives. Therefore, they buy symbolic goods and products that imitate economic elites’ style, in order to argue others’ incorrect impression to them.

Due to the emergence of post-traditional society, people are more likely to judge one’s status and identity by what they have rather than what they do .Therefore, symbolic products and superfluities are used for creating and strengthen personal status. In order to be thought rich and show their personhood, middle class has done a series of investment. They buy stylish clothes in order to show their distinctive personalities, and buy symbolic products to show their social status, although some of the products are replaced by imitated goods.

Slater and Ewen all think the middle class is external flashy whereas their inner world is flatulent, even though they try to masquerade the space. they lived suspended between current tough social status and the dream, which they took for their economic future (Halttunen, 1982) On the one hand, they dress stylish suits with smiling faces, speak good language with a proper “genteel” manner; on the other hand, it is continuous that they impose restriction on real feeling, and wear a mask of the nobel identity, however they still feel anxious whether they are approved by the society.


In Slater’s view ,the consumer culture brings about huge detriment in the post-traditional society.‘ organic community’, whose substituted notion is the traditional culture ,has already died out and replaced by consumer culture. And people achieve personal status by the means of consuming, which the original fixed social order is taken placed by a material world.

It is used to be a fixed and unchangeable society, and it is naturally that people are identified by fixed status when they were born, and they also own fixed ‘blood and soil’, birth and land.(Slater,1997)It is legitimately to regulate a world , and people all follow the rule.

However, consumer culture overturns the primary way. As Slater said: ‘Consumer culture is defined as an ersatz, artificial, mass-manufactured and pretty poor substitute for the world we have lost in the post-traditional society(Slater,1997)Consumerism focus on seeking for profits and economic growth rather than caring about people ‘s life. In the consumer-oriented world, everything are attached a tag, that is, you can but anything you want as long as you have money.

Slater think buying luxury goods is not just a fundamental activity in people’s daily life, but also is malignant to destroy legitimate social order. People who buying luxury products by passion other than by reason. Some arguments point out that the power of money has already changed the whole cosmic order, which means people are able to buy status, positions and reputation if they have enough money.

Take Britain history as an example. In 1688-1756, British government started a “financial evolution”, which changed a series of trade and economic regulations, and the regulations all tend to approve the power of money .The consequences is that the central charge is corruption, and money took charge of the authority. People can use money to fulfill their needs. For example, if a person who was used to be a farmer, and he wanted to be conferred orders. It should be impossible in the past because he had his fixed status when he was born, however, only if he own enough money, he can buy a title. In addition to, the peoples were no longer loyal to the monarch anymore. As can be seen from the example, the world became complex and disorder because of ‘cash nexus’.

On the other hand, it is luxury goods that will bring about crime affairs and threaten to people ‘s life.

In a word,Slater think culture should not counted by money., mediated or ruled because it was defined that way. (Slater,1997)


In Stuart Ewen ‘s book,all consuming images,he states some crucial arguments which have some similarities and differences with Slater’s views.

On the one hand, their similarities tend to point out the criticism that people achieve high status and personal distinction by undying consumption, although Ewen speaks in a soft tongue.

Firstly, he thinks that people distinguish them and others by consumptions, which is regarded as an epic crisis of identity. This view is strongly consistent with Slater’s view. And the advanced right can be owned by anyone who desire it, because it says more about you than anything you can buy with it (Ewen, 1988).This kind of concept push people to get status and distinction rather than become an ordinary fellow within the mass.

Similarly Ewen takes the past records as an example. In the United States,by the 1830s,the entire people sake for becoming merchant middle class. As historian Edward Pessen said, these people “went to great pains to match the lavish living of the older upper classes of the eastern cities, succeeding to a large degree.”(Edward Pessen, 1969).The conspicuous consumption of luxury goods can provide people desirable status. As a result, at that time, even the people who in the small village, all lived in villas which are fit up grandiose decorations and furniture. All of the unnecessary efforts were serve as showing their social status.

In response to people’s dissatisfactions to current social status and identity, some cheap luxury goods were used for those who want to be distinctive but cannot afford expensive products. It was called kitsch.These goods are characterized as inexpensive, volume-produced substitutes of real luxury goods that are normal purchased by economic elites.These people were called white-collar employees,and be in a condition of “genteel poverty”. (Edward Pessen,1969).They wanted to be close to economic elites’ lives and then bought imitated goods.

However, there are some differences at the aspect of consequences to the mass-produced culture. Ewen thinks it would increase the gap between the poor and the rich. The evidences are shown in the Fourth Annual Report of Massachusetts Bureau of Larbor in 1873, the wealth is distributed unfairly. To be exactly, more and more money goes into the merchant people, because they earn profit from the increasingly mechanized and consolidated means of production .At the same time, the energies, labor power and time of working class people are consumed in order to serve industrialism and factory capitalism. Therefore, poor people own even less money, compared with wealthy people become more and more rich. And Ewen also thinks it will work out untruthful dream that people enjoy their unreal identity.


On the other hand, Slater thinks the consumer culture will bring out the disordered social order which should be identified by ‘blood and soil’, birth and land. And the prevailing wind of consumer culture will destroy the real culture which cannot be counted by money. And the proliferation of vanity psychology will produce motivation of crime, which will threaten citizen’s daily life.

Free Essays

In what ways are social class, ‘race’/ethnicity, and gender problematic identity constructions? And how can they affect achievement in education?


An examination of the problematic identity constructions associated with social class, race / ethnicity and gender. Theories of essentialism and social constructism are used to understand these notions, and to assess the extent to which they can affect achievement in education.

1. Introduction

The following will take a theoretical approach using contrasting ideas about the nature of social reality to look at problems of race / ethnicity, social class and gender / sexual identity, and the impact each has on equality in education.

Social constructivism is the idea that there is no one objective reality shared by everyone. The meaning of physical reality is created by individuals and groups through beliefs based on their past experience and predispositions (Walsh 2010). Social constructivism has been widely influential in the social sciences and humanities, and was shaped by a number of theorists including Vygotsky (1925) whose studies of how children learn emphasizes the role of a social framework for education, and also by Berger and Luckmann (1966), who popularized the notion in English speaking countries (Van Dusek 2006). Social constructivist approaches to race, class and gender suggest that the way we perceive each is a function of history and culture, rather than a given objective fact.Our views of women and men, and the roles appropriate to each, for example, is rooted in the political climate, and relates to social power structures (Hirschmann 2003)

By contrast, essentialism is the view that the characteristics ascribed to members of different races or sexual identities are fixed and objective. It suggests that the way things are perceived reflects the essential nature of that thing. The essence is a causal mechanism for the properties things display (Mahalingam 2003). When applied to sexuality, for example, an essentialist view suggests that orientation is based upon an inner state which causes a person’s sexual feelings and actions. The view also holds that the essence is either biologically caused or acquired in the first few years of development (Clarke et al 2010).

While race, gender and class can be viewed alone, more recently an ‘intersectional’ approach has emerged, pointing out that these three constructs overlap, and can create layer upon layer of disadvantage and multiple oppression. Suggested by Crenshaw (1991), intersectionality shows that social identity is created in a more complex way than we might have thought (Berger 2006).

2.1 Race / Ethnicity

It is certainly the case that different races and ethnicities are characterised by differing physical appearances, including colour of skin and facial features. However, an essentialist view of race and ethnicity would suggest that each race also has a number of behavioural, mental and intellectual characteristics which distinguish them from other races. For example, there is an assumption that native Hawaiians are lazy, of low intelligence, promiscuous, hospitable and easy-going (Ponterollo et al 2009). Essentialism may also suggest that the characteristic traits are genetic, and that some races / ethnicities are superior to others.

Essentialism in approaches to race and ethnicity seem to be rooted in a late 19th century scientific viewpoint which assumed biological explanations for a range of human characteristics (Rubin 2005), and which naturalised traits such as racial difference. It has been suggested that essentialism still exists in educational, with the belief that each race had a distinct and fixed character, and that different racial groups should be taught with this in mind (Giroux and Shannon 1997).

There are a number of clear problems with essentialist theories of race and ethnicity. For example, attempts to put humans into racial groups seem to use arbitrary selection of traits with no clear explanation of why these traits are important. In addition, essentialist views, fail to account for the richness of human life, culture and experience. Finally, essentialist theories seem to lack significance. What use can they be put to(Corlett, 2003). Further, it has been pointed out that the genetic basis for ethnic essentialism is flawed, as races exhibit greater genetic differences within themselves than between one race and another (Hill and Cole 2001).

Essentialism is often associated with racism: the idea that “people are seen as causing negative consequences for other groups, or as possessing certain negatively evaluated characteristics because of their biology” (Hill and Cole 2001, p. 162). In education, it might lead, for example, to an assumption that children of a certain race are less intellectually able than others, and hence to a reduced attempt to engage with them; or to the assumption that black people excel at sports (Hill and Cole 2001).

In contrast, a social constructivist approach to race and ethnicity seems a more useful one for equality in education. This position allows for greater flexibility as race and ethnicity are seen as dynamic forces, subject to change and shaped by power relationships and cultural forms that dominate the institutions in which they are found (Giroux and Shannon 1997). The social constructivist sees race as a construct “a concept that signifies and symbolises socio-political conflicts and interests in reference to different types of human body” (Winant 2001, p. 317; cited Dillon 2009). Race is not a biologically determined set of fixed characteristics, but rather a complex mix of projections regarding inequality, hierarchical relationships and conflict which have been used to differentiate, regulate and shape reactions between people. The set of presuppositions about racial characteristics become objectified into social institutions and cultures. They are a consequence of social attitudes and decisions made about other people by individuals and groups (Dillon 2009).

Because racial differences are encapsulated in social institutions, and as education is an institutionally based phenomenon, racial prejudice and distinctions made between ethnicities need to be accounted for in education, and it seems important to reject an essentialist view in favour of a constructivist one, with the insight that perceived differences in learning ability, for example, are a consequence of historical political and social vested interests, and do not reflect an underlying reality.Within the UK, there has been a move towards eradicating racism within education. An unthinking mono-cultural approach which promoted British colonial history has given way to a multi-cultural one. Nowadays, an awareness of legislation and regulations regarding race are built into teacher training, for example it is stated that student teachers need to be familiar with the 1976 Race Relations Act, which outlawed discrimination between racial groups. A number of other laws and regulations since have framed education, including codes of practice issued by the Commission for Racial Equality, and more recent directives introduced by the European Court of Human Rights (Hill and Cole 2001).

Despite the existence of such legislation, there is still a question regarding whether racism is still part of the education system. If we accept the social constructivist view, while racist attitudes are open to change, they are deeply embedded in the culture. Schools and other educational bodies may be subject to ‘institutional racism’, “the collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture or ethnic origin” (MacPherson et al 1999). Institutional racism is enshrined in the culture of an organisation, and individuals who make up the organisation may not even be aware of it. If an institution is predominantly white, it is likely that it has practices which exclude non-white people. The Stephen Lawrence enquiry in the UK in 1999 brought the issue to public attention, and a number of changes to the national curriculum, reporting procedures and monitioring levels were made.

2.2 Social Class

The UK is still heavily stratified in terms of class, with resulting inequalities, poverty and social exclusion. The division between rich and poor has increased over the last 20 years, with the rich becoming even better off, and the less well off even poorer.There are various views of what the class system means. Class can be characterised on the basis of occupation and education, with manual (skilled, unskilled or semi skilled) trades equated with the working class, white collar workers with the middle classes, and professionals with the upper classes (Hill and Cole 1999). Marxism has offered a long-lasting analysis of class, suggesting that it is a vehicle whereby the interests of a few are allowed to override the interests of the many.Marx saw society as a history of class struggle, and class as closely tied up with the interests of capitalism, under which the means of economic production are placed in the hands of a small number, with most people having to sell their labour to survive. Marxists also suggest that the education system was class-ridden, existing primarily to tend to the interests of the elite by a process of ‘economic reproduction’, training people to take up a place in the work force, and by ‘cultural reproduction’’, by which children are educated to believe that the upper classes tastes are the norm, and working class ones should be rejected (Hill and Cole 1999).

It has been claimed that Marxism challenges essentialism, for example by opposing the notion that the division between the working and upper classes is ‘natural’ and ‘fair’. However, many suggest that Marxism is in fact inherently essentialist rather than allowing fluidity in the class structure. For example, Marx believed in the fixed nature of the key concepts he used, ‘the individual’, ‘class’ and ‘the state’. He further assumes that people are members of a particular class for life, rather than able to move from one class to another. He also suggests that there is a unity to the concept of the ‘working class’, for example, over and above the shared conceptions of all the people who make up the class (Wolfreys 2006). Littlejohn (1978) suggests that for Marx, social class expresses an ‘essence’, with political movement reduced to expressions of interests determined elsewhere. In addition, Littlejohn suggests, Marx saw society as having a fixed, stratified structure in which economics underpinned political, legislative and cultural layers (Littlejohn 1978).

Post-modernism has suggested that the Marxist notion of class is no longer relevant, and argues that we are now in a post-capitalist era, in which the old social distinctions play no part (Hill and Cole 1999). Post-modernism is consistent with social constructivism, as it suggests that there is no reason to believe in an objective, fixed society, and that we rather need to study discourses and texts to understand what social constructs mean for the people who interpret them. For the post-modernist, personal identity has become fragmented and decentralised, and the notion of class has lost power as it has become subsumed by other measures of identity including gender and race. As identity is fragmented, so individuals can define themselves as classless, or move from class to class (Lareau and Conely 2008). In short, “social class has… ceased to be of central empirical significance to our culture” (Milner, 1999). However, this view is widely disputed, for example by Hill, who suggests that post-modernists are simply unable – or unwilling – to recognize the divisive power of class in today’s society (Hill, 2002).

The growth in the gap between rich and poor does suggest that class issues are still relevant. In terms of education and equality, it seems that class does play a role. Bordieu, for example, carried out empirical studies in French educational establishments, and showed that family background, social class and school are linked, with schools still representing the social and economic inequalities found in wider society. His suggestions have been confirmed by work in the US, suggesting that social differences are reinforced by the education system there, for example the policy of elite colleges such as Harvard to favour children of ex-students. Dillon also points out that access to education is not enough to increase social mobility, as working class students are likely to lack the abilities to make the most of their education that their middle class peers take for granted, for example skills in networking (Dillon 2009). It is also possible that more recent changes to education frameworks in the UK including raised fees for higher education and more freedom for schools to select pupils will create a climate which introduces further divisions between classes in an ‘increasingly segregated system’ (Taylor 2006).

2.3. Gender / Sexual Identity

Similarly, gender and sexual identity are notions with inherent problems. If we adhere to an essentialist view, it would be assumed that certain characteristics are attached to people of each gender, for example men are more intelligent, better with machinery, and better at sports, with women more suited to home making and issues to do with emotions. Similarly, an essentialist perspective might suggest that gay men are uniformly ‘camp’, dress flamboyantly and have a high-pitched voice, with lesbians likely to look like men and have a rough manner.

By assuming that men and women have certain characteristics which define them, stereotyping is more likely to arise. Stereotypes can be acquired through family and wider society, and often develop at a young age, although are complex in nature and the precise nature of the stereotyped characteristics can vary considerably. Stereotypes are not innate: children first learn to differentiate between men and women before later ascribing sets of characteristics to them (Schneider 2004). Stereotypes both influence, and are influenced by, the role men and women play in society. They are problematic in that they not only describe differences between men and women, but also dictate what roles they should play. This can lead to oppression and the suppression of an individual’s freedom. Stereotypes cover a wide range of areas including cognitive abilities, physical appearance, behaviour and emotion. While stereotypes about both gender and sexual orientation are less oppressive now than they have been in the past, prejudice based on such labelling is still in existence, perhaps in a more subtle way (Worrell 2001), for example concerning whether women are expected to do as well in education as men.

Stereotyping on the basis of gender or orientation can lead to oppression and inequality as it reinforces prejudices about difference, and can help maintain inequality and perpetuate injustices. Stereotypical views about men and women may be used to justify unfair treatment, for example paying women less on the assumption that work is less important to them (Andersen and Taylor, 2007). Awareness of the ways in which women are oppressed by men has increased since the advent of feminism, which uncovered the ways in which there is an unfair balance of social and economic power between men and women, and the extent to which men have a vested interest in controlling women to maintain this balance in their favour. Oppression of women, it has been argued, is carried out not just by individuals but is built into social and institutional structure so pervasively that it is not always obvious (Choudhuri 2008). Similarly, oppression and inequality can damage those of non-mainstream sexual orientations, particularly gay men and lesbians. While awareness, understanding and tolerance of gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans-gender people (GLBT) has increased over the last hundred years, negative treatment has not been removed. “Prejudice, discrimination and oppression on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity permeate our sociocultural context, affecting everyone in deleterious ways” (Messinger 2006, p. 44).Oppression on the basis of sexual orientation can take various forms including exploitation (not offering gay workers the same rights for spouses as given to different sex couples), powerlessness (disrespectful treatment, discrimination in the work place), systematic violence (verbal or physical abuse directed at an individual solely because he or she is gay) and cultural imperialism (the assumption that the worldview of the prevailing, ‘straight’ culture is the correct one) (Messinger 2006).

Within education, therefore, there is a clear need to work against discrimination on the basis of gender and sexual orientation, although such discrimination may well be institutionalised and hence less visible. Equality can be worked towards through a variety of methods including understanding the complexity of sexuality and gender, being aware of an challenging heterosexual assumptions and practices, understanding the role education can play in overturning prejudice, challenging homophobia, understanding how gender and orientation issues can intersect with race and class, and learning about LGBT histories (Banks and Banks 2009). Even in these seemingly more enlightened times, research evidence from the USA suggests that LGBT pupils are at higher risk of harassment within their educational instutites: many reported feeling unsafe while in school (64% compared with 10% of pupils who felt unsafe because of their gender), while many lesbian pupils reported physical and verbal harassment and victimisation (Klein 2007). Within the UK, legislation does exist to ensure equality for LGBT teachers, and a national initiative to reduce homophobic bullying was launched with incidents logged and a teaching programme suggested (Sears 2005).

3. Conclusion

If a teacher subscribed to an essentialist view of gender, race and class, he or she might believe that one or other gender, race or social group is inherently better than others at academic subjects. This might lead to situations where the academic performance of the pupil was affected negatively or positively. For example, a belief that boys are better capable of mathematics or science might lead to the teacher spending more time with the boys, praising their good work more enthusiastically or not helping girls. A belief that Afro-Carribean boys are noisy and don’t care about their education might lead to the teacher being more harsh with boys of this race, assuming that they are more likely to be disruptive in class. A similar belief might cause the teacher to assume they are unlikely to be interested in certain subjects.Similarly, the teacher might assume that working class pupils were inherently less intelligent, and might as a result spend less time with them, and not work to encourage any goals of further education. On the other hand, by taking a constructivist view, there is more scope for children to be seen as individuals, and not typecast by their class, sex and ethnic background. A constructivist might also be aware of the extent to which an educational institution is sexist, racist or classist as part of its very structure, and take more steps to counteract this.


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Free Essays

Critically Discuss How Identity Is Successfully Used As A Form Of Organizational Control


The aim of this essay is to develop an understanding of identity and critically analyze how identity can be successfully used in an organizational control. It will provide a critique of dominant perspectives and frameworks in organizational identity that are obtained by studies in various academic materials, by referring to theories and research in related experiences and case studies. Meanwhile, positive and negative impacts of use of identity in organizational control will be estimated. Finally, a brief conclusion will be conducted and relevant considerations will be presented so as to effectively look at the use of identity regulation as organizational control.

In order to better understand identity in organization studies, this essay will firstly aim to distinguish the difference between the terms ‘personality’ and ‘identity’. According to Kenny et al. (2011), personality can be defined as the integration of characteristics patterns of thoughts, emotions and behaviors that form an individual’s unique character. It is usually relatively stable for life; however the term identity, on the other hand, can change and turn into multiplicity as influence by external elements, such as social or cultural situations (Kitay and Wright, 2007). This change is because most people would like to associate themselves with a number of identities, while those significant identities will permit people to better believe in the occupation they do (Kitay and Wright, 2007). This has been further explained by Kenny et al. (2011, p.3) who state that identity can involve identification with factors (local context, culture and history) that people call ‘our personality’ but can also belong to ‘group membership’, which particularly emerges in the workplace.

According to the research of scholars in different sectors, identity has been systemically defined in different theoretical perspectives and is also seen as a social category or ‘label’ in workplaces. Henri Tajfel and John Turner proposed social identity theory as they consider people generally use their experiences to identify themselves in certain social groups and dis-identify with others (Mattewman et al., 2009). In other words, they over-stress diversities with the out-group and underrate diversities within the in-group (O’Conner and Annison, 2002). Similarly, this perspective can be related to the idea of homo-sociability, which considers that people prefer to contact with and accept a person who is more like them, such as same social categories of class, age or religion (Kenny et al., 2011). Moreover, Zuboff (1988) and Brewis (2004) pointed out Foucauldian perspective which states people usually would like to identity with the sounds of thought or dominant discourses, therefore in this regard ‘subjectivity’ becomes the powerful relationship to shape individual identities in society. Foucauldian perspective, to some extent, can be seen as the idea of stereotypes; for example, many organizations will assume managers, especially in senior level, are male rather than female because of the cultural norm (Kanter, 1977). Mead (1934) and Goffman (1969) are two main thinkers in this symbolic interactionism perspective. Mead observes that individuals can constitute of ‘Me’ (how we perceive others to think of us) and ‘I’ (the kinds of attitudes and behaviors we use to interact with others). Similarly, Goffman observes identity as the ‘continuing process of managing how we present ourselves to others’ (Kenny et al., 2011, p.15). Both views can be summed up in that people always establish their self-awareness through social interaction with other people (Gardner and Avolio, 1998). The above academic theories contribute a holistic view to allow people to further study ‘identity’ and ‘control’ in-depth. Researchers and management practitioners should seriously consider identity from different perspectives and categories in the society so as to ensure diversity and equality in the organizational management.

Identity is a multidimensional concept that can be developed at individual, group and organizational level (Puusa, 2006). Nowadays, there is increasing interest in understand identity in organizational control studies. According to Kenny et al. (2011, p.1), ‘the significance of identity was not simply recognized by management, it was identified as something that could be shaped and controlled by management’. The concept of identity was first looked at from a management point of view by F.W.Taylor in 1911. In his opinion, a person’s identity proves to be a barrier to scientific management (Rose, 1988). As he believed that money was the best and only way to motivate people to work effectively, workers should lose their notion of identity so as to be prepared to fit in to different management models (Kenny et al., 2011). In a lower hierarchy level, Taylor’s theory seems to relatively correct. However, studies have shown that workers resisted these ‘scientific’ methods as they considered that being a part of the group was more significant than earning more money (Kenny et al., 2011). Thus, it can be deemed that meaningful work is a strong dynamic of motivation and performance, and identity (e.g feeling a part of the group) is one of the important subjective factors that motivate people to work. This is in line with several commentators of the ‘human relation movement’ which states that identity is no longer to be removed by organizational management; for example Maslow’s ‘hierarchy of needs’, and Alderfer’s Relatedness Existence theories. They entirely agreed that employees were stimulated not only by physical factors or money, but also by emotional and social needs in the group (Ross, 1988; Buchanan and Huczynski, 2004). Those needs are strong identification to lead employees to ‘go to extra mile’ (become more flexible and productive) as well as improve their working passion and enthusiasm (‘discretionary effort’) within the organization (Alvesson and Willmott, 2002). Therefore, it can be asserted that identity is the key engine to driving employees’ internal motivation in the organization. This is also supported by Alvesson and Willmott (2002, p. 621), who argue that identity is definitely ‘a significant, neglected and increasingly important modality of organizational control’.

Organizational identity is known as the employees’ view of the organization, which attempts to answer the question of ‘who are we as an organization’ (Kenny et al, 2011). It affords organizations with a feasible framework for understanding their internal behaviors (Whetten, 2006). Albert and Whetten (1985) argue that organizational identity embodies three significant characteristics which are central, distinctive and enduring. Following Albert and Whetten’s (1985) notion, several scholars further identified organizational identity in two different conceptions; realist and constructionist (Gioia and Thomas, 1996; Elstak and Van Riel, 2004). Realists believe that organizational identity is established on the properties of the organization themselves. Conversely, constructionists consider that a set of beliefs is understood by how employees make sense of the organizations. Therefore, through this dynamic, dialectic process it can be proven that employees both shape, and are shaped, by their organizational membership (Puusa, 2006). Meanwhile, it also can further allege that organizations with a strong identity have central attributes, distinctive from other corporations and maintaining that for long-term periods can lead organizations to motivate their employees more effectively and successfully.

The positive impacts of organizational identity could appear in several aspects. Firstly, employees will become more self-managing and prefer to approach their jobs with passion and enthusiasm as well as undertaking their responsibilities seriously (Knights and Willmott, 1999). Secondly, it is an essential approach for an organization to attract high-quality employees in order to embrace employees’ desired values and allow them to treat the values as their own (Kenny et al, 2011). Moreover, it can gain and retain employees’ loyalty, commitment and involvement so as to compensate less job security and employment durability in the workforce (Alvesson and Willmott, 2002). Furthermore, managing through shared values, thoughts and feelings have replaced the original ways of managing behaviors (Knights and Willmott, 1999). This has been further explained by Kenny et al. (2011) who stressed that organizations don’t just want to recruit the people who think that they will fit into the workplace, but they are now more focused on how to shape employees’ sense of identity after they join. As culture is contingent upon identity, managing ‘corporate culture’ is integral to managing identity, which can be seen as the most common way to shape employees’ self-identity and behaviors (Kenny et al., 2011).

On the other hand, organizational identity also brings some problems which organizers have to bear in mind. Firstly, organizational identity attempts to over control employees’ hearts and minds; this can link back to Foucauldian perspective which estimated that employees’ sense of identity can be strongly dominated by ‘enterprise discourse’ (Du Gay, 1996; Kenny et al., 2011). Following this problem, employees’ creativity and innovative skills will minimize or even cannot be discovered in the corporation; therefore it will critically affect organizational improvement and development. Furthermore, employees may feel anxiety or guilty if they attempt to judge or fail to follow the sanctified values of an organization (Schwartz, 1987). Due to the above feelings and matters, ethics has become an ambiguous issue when implementing identity management as organizational control, and it may relate to ‘bureaucratic’ control mechanisms’ problems as well (Alvesson and Willmott, 2002).

Although there are some negative impacts of using identity as a form of organizational control, there are still many famous companies carefully and successfully designing and advertising their corporate values by managing organizational identity, such as Apple, Alibaba and IKEA (Kenny et al., 2011). Therefore, it can be affirmed that organizational identity is not only focusing on one company or region; it becomes more internationalization and globalization at present. Because of this phenomenon, there are increasing numbers of concentrated issues of identity presented in the workplace as well, such as gender and managerial roles issues; the changing idea of professionalism and the international business activities (Fondas, 1997; Alvesson, 2000; Alvesson and Willmott, 2002).

In order to diminish the above issues and manage identity effectively, organizers should provide more opportunity for employees to arrange their agenda and working practices, to maintain a sense of freedom to help motivate people at work, this is classed as ‘micro-emancipation’ (Alvesson and Willmott, 2002). This sense of freedom could be better enforced to show and understand in a new standard form of organizational control, which is called fun organizational identities. This new form not only encourages diversity and allows employees to express their ‘genuine’ feelings in the workplace, but also assists to increase productivity, creativity, inspiration and reduced employee turnover (Fleming and Sturdy, 2009; Ford et al.,2003). For instance, Southwest Airlines is known as a fun organization to work for, which classes employee satisfaction and customer loyalty as more important than corporate profits. They consider people their ‘single greatest strength and the most enduring long-term competitive advantage’ (Southwest’s Airlines Careers, 2014). Southwest Airlines’ unique identity makes them stand out from all others and delivers benefits to both individuals and the organization. However, there are still a number of disadvantages of having a fun work environment in organizations, such as professionalism at work, reports of sexual harassment and interpersonal conflicts (Ford et al., 2003). Thus, managers should bear those issues in mind and find out solutions as soon as possible so that they can become distinctive to other corporations and reduce the potential risks in the early stage.

Organizations should also be conscious of the variation in levels of identification within their workforce (Dutton et al., 1994). Humphreys and Brown (2002) declare that identification is usually a complex and partial procedure, and they defined this process in three categories, which are dis-identification, schizo-identification and neutral identification. And a similar set of classes has been proposed by Collinson (2003) in three levels, these are, conformist selves, dramaturgical selves and resistant selves. Based on these theories, managers should try to use different methods to manage identity so as to stimulate employees to work harder and perform better and also to obtain a high degree of employees who define themselves as a part of the organization (Kenny et al., 2011).

According to Kenny et al. (2011), organizations can manage identity in five different ways; these are controlling, concealing, exploiting, faking and shaping. In practice, in order to make employees have a sense of belonging, loyalty and commitment, and be willing to promote the organization’s vision, the organizers should focus on managing their identity in the following ways: a) allow employees to see and know about their career planning in the company, thereby creating hope for them; b) organizations need to explicitly promote the values and vision of the corporation to establish an industry benchmark. For example a hotel brand should treat Accor Hotel Group as their final objective and formulate a long-term, detailed schedule to achieve this goal. This schedule can include how many hotels should open in one year or how this hotel brand can develop in five years or ten years; c) the organization should have strong corporate social responsibility, which includes creating more job opportunities, especially for disabled people, environment protection (e.g haze or flood) and good employee welfare (e.g set up a compliant institution so as to protect employees’ benefits). If organizations can accomplish the above steps successfully, employees will feel part of the organization and will be proud of it, and also will put their shoulders on the wheel in order to achieve their career objectives.

Additionally, organizations should also manage identity in terms of physical and moral support so as to increase employees’ sense of honor in the group. For example a Japanese senior manager will bow his thanks to the best employees every day, and organizations usually would like to hold some activities to let employees vent outside of their work. In 2010, Foxconn had 18 employees attempt to commit suicide with a total of 14 deaths (Moore, 2012). This example shows the importance of managing identity to motivate employees in an organization. Therefore, managers should take into account Alvesson and Willmott’s (2002) eight methods of regulating identity in organizations, such as knowledge and skills; the rules of the game and hierarchical location, to better understand different ways of managing identity and successfully carry them out in the workplace.

Overall, identity is a true essence of who and what the organization is. It is a significant organizing element for everything people say and do in the workplace and it affects the characters, values, communications, decisions and strategies of the organization. Organization with a strong identity becomes easier to make decisions and solve their internal conflicts. Employees can clearly know what is expected of them, understand the company and also feel part of the team. Ethical ambiguities and some other issues still affect the idea of identity regulation in organizational control. Moreover, due to the fast changing pace of business life at present, identity cannot be ‘enduring’ in the organization and it may change with the surrounding environments. For example, the Equality Act 2010 presents a new ‘protected’ status to certain social groups which may influence employees’ sense of identity and identification. Thus, management practitioners have to deeply understand the different methods of identity management proposed by Kenny et al.’s (2011) and Alvesson and Willmott’s (2002) and then integrate those methods to solve the existing challenges in the working environment so as to successfully use identity as a form in organizational control.


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Fleming, P. and Sturdy, A.J.(2009). Just Be Yourself – Towards Neo-Normative Control in Organizations. Employee Relations, 31(6), pp. 569 – 583.

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Free Essays

Growing up: A Journey of One’s Identity

It is inevitable that people age. Every human being, and every being for that matter, grows old. Age is a natural phenomenon that cannot be avoided. Part of growing up is discovering one’s identity. As people age, they constantly undergo a process where they mold themselves into unique individuals.

Every experience that a person goes through influences his personality, his character, and his identity. It is through such experiences that people get to see who they really are. Triumphs and failures in life are vital for they help strengthen the character of the person. In a way, when an individual goes through an experience, he is shaping his character regardless of the outcome of his endeavor.

From childhood to adulthood, every experience brings forth a certain lesson that is inculcated in the individual’s being. These lessons are what define the individual for they directly affect the person that they are.

The development of the person and the journey of self-discovery as a person grows up are discussed not merely in the various fields of science. Literature too has its share of works of art that provide an input of how growing up involves the molding and shaping of the person’s identity. Although not directly discussed, literature highlights how the journey of aging is in parallel with an individual’s journey towards defining an identity of his own.

In Mary E. Wilkins’ short story, “Mistaken Charity,” the journey of two women through age and time is told. Moreover, it shows how their aging coincides with their realization of who they really are. Harriet and Charlotte are two sisters who never marry. Their life is built on their work and on their struggle to survive. However, as age catches up with them, and their aged bodies can no longer stand their own lines of work, they begin to realize that they are not all about their work.

When given a chance to move out of their tattered house and into a better life, they discover that it is their experiences living in that house that defines who they are. They are not used to the life in the “Home” for it does not feel like home to them. This is what drove Charlotte to say,

“O Lord, Harriét… let us go home. I can’t stay here no ways in this world. I don’t like their vittles, an’ I don’t like to wear a cap; I want to go home and do different. The currants will be ripe, Harriét. O Lord, thar was almost a chink, thinking about ’em. I want some of ’em; an’ the Porter apples will be gittin’ ripe, an’ we could have some apple-pie. This here ain’t good.” (Wilkins, 148)

This shows how no matter how much better another life seems to be, people will always go back to their old way of life for the life they have gotten used to defines who they really are.

Another story that show how growing up means defining who you really are is told in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown.” The story tells of how one experiences that Goodman Brown went through in his young days completely changed his outlook on life. His journey through the forest wherein he met the mysterious figure which many associate with the devil may indeed be a dream. However, that experience opened his eyes to the reality that people may not be what they perceive him to be. The good Christians that he thought they were may actually simply be a cover-up of their real selves. Although it could be a dream, the experience was enlightening for Goodman Brown. More importantly, it was very influential in molding the personality of Brown and his outlook on life.

After the experience, Goodman Brown ended up becoming a cynic. He was always wondering whether the people around him were who they really were. In fact, Goodman Brown even began to doubt the sincerity of his wife, whom he used to love and trust dearly. After the said event,   he turned into a cynic, wary and pessimistic of his wife and his faithfulness and fidelity.

The last paragraph of the story explains the effect that the experience in the forest had on him. In the said paragraph it was stated:

“A stern, a sad, a darkly meditative, a distrustful, if not a desperate man did he become from the night of that fearful dream. On the Sabbath day, when the congregation were singing a holy psalm, he could not listen because an anthem of sin rushed loudly upon his ear and drowned all the blessed strain. When the minister spoke from the pulpit with power and fervid eloquence, and, with his hand on the open Bible, of the sacred truths of our religion, and of saint-like lives and triumphant deaths, and of future bliss or misery unutterable, then did Goodman Brown turn pale, dreading lest the roof should thunder down upon the gray blasphemer and his hearers…” (Hawthorne, 127)

The stories provide evidence of how experiences mold and shape the identity and personality of the individual. Both Goodman Brown and the sisters demonstrated how they are made by their experiences. Thus, it can be said that growing up and aging is a process of defining one’s self. It is a process of discovery brought about by life experiences where lessons are learned and imbedded in one’s way of life.

Works Cited:

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “Young Goodman Brown.” Literature and society: An introduction to fiction, poetry, drama, nonfiction. 4th ed. Eds. Pamela Annas, Robert Rossen. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 2007, pp 117-127.

Wilkins, Mary. “Mistaken Charity.” Literature and society: An introduction to fiction, poetry, drama, nonfiction. 4th ed.  Eds. Pamela Annas, Robert Rossen. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 2007, pp 140-150.

Free Essays

National Identity in Film

The Piano, by Campion, and Truman Show, by Weir both interact with concepts of national identity in separate ways.  Both of these films are products of New Zealand culture, either through production or in cultural discourse.  Both films have also been well received and heavily awarded.

The Piano tells the story of Ada McGrath.  She is a Scotswoman from New Zealand who is sold into marriage.  The film is staged in 1851. She doesn’t speak throughout the majority of the film, but expresses herself through her piano playing; this is until her husband leaves her piano on a beach.  This is symbolic of his lack of love for her and an example of the emptiness in Ada’s life.  The piano is then sold to their neighbor George Baines who convinces Ada to give him piano lessons and eventually sexual favors.  As Ada gradually falls in love with Baines through their connection of the piano, she finds meaning for her life.

The Truman Show is directed by Australian Peter Weir and written by New Zealander Andrew Niccol.  The story follows Truman Burbank who is unaware that his entire life, since birth, has been an organized farce for a television series/project.  He is luckily chosen, out of a group of five baby orphans, to be the star of the show.  The Truman Show represents Truman’s life.  Viewers are told that Truman’s birth was broadcast live on television, but his child rearing is not presented in the film.

The idea behind national identity is that one defines their self through the identity of their nation.  In their article, National Identity and Self-Esteem, Jeff Spinner-Halev and Elizabeth Theiss-Morse analyze the nature of national identity.  They adopt the theory that if the self-esteem of an individual is tied to their nation than it’s the perfect proponent to maintain safe and secure nations.  They feel that there is an immediate connection between self respect and group identity; so much so, it could lead to one sacrificing their own personal needs for the good of the group.

They also acknowledge that there is a competitive nature within group self esteem; this meaning that most groups want their group to do better than others.  This is often seen in the patriotic nature of political propaganda, carried out by many countries to convince soldiers to go to war.  This system of control is one known for cajoling groups to fallow a certain program or way of thinking by catering to individuals’ wants, needs, or taking advantage of their fears.

This complex of national identity is a major aspect of a government’s societal control, as well as a significant ideal satirized in The Truman Show.  It is most visibly personified in the character of the show’s producer Christof.  He argues that human beings accept the world in which they are presented, and uses this to justify why Truman hasn’t figured out his predicament up to this point.  All of the employees, of the studio, acting as Truman’s family, friends and extras living within the town, can all be viewed as nationalists to the studio’s regime.

The National Identity of these films can be directly corresponded to the culture and history of New Zealand.  In 1945, the New Zealand Film Critic Gordon Mirams argued that if there was a New Zealand culture, it was a mostly a Hollywood creation. The only thing more popular than going to the movies, in New Zealand, was drinking tea, during that time period. This idea is supported by the statistic that for many years New Zealanders were the most frequenters of the movie world.

In their book New Zealand Film 1912-1996 Helen Martin and Sam Edwards analyze the filmography of many films produced during this century in New Zealand.  This book basically analyzes the entire history of film in New Zealand.  The two authors managed to find more than 162 films.  In formulating their list and deciding on what they would identify as New Zealand Films, they decided the film had to have a significant connection to the location in terms of the film’s creators, cast, copyright holder, financiers, production team, and technical equipment.

They also felt that a film that holds a sociological connection to New Zealand should be categorized as a New Zealand films as well.  Thus, they included The Piano in their list of films pointing out that though it was not filmed in New Zealand, its story was still set there.  The authors also felt it the film addressed social issues pertaining to the history of New Zealand within the time frame it was set.

The Piano, identified as a socially conscious New Zealander film, it is identified as such through its understanding of national identity and the plight of the New Zealand people.  This can be seen in the fact that the film is a historically place romance, and has much cultural significance.  The film is often credited for its style, in that it is deemed as a historical romance and a contemporary romance in a historical setting.

In his article, Lost causes: the ideology of national identity in Australian cinema, John Slavin does an in-depth analysis of the cultural connotations present in cinema when using it to understand a nation.  His stance is that cinema as well as reality have an interweaving relationship with each other that ultimately define the national identity of a nation.  He further explains this in his closing statements when he says,

Ideology transforms individuals into constitutive social subjects by interpelation, the Althusserian term for the seductive mirror images of coherent identity promoted by cultural artifacts such as the popular cinema. But this thesis follows the suggestion that it is the purpose of ideology to represent an imaginary relationship of the cinematic viewer to his/her real conditions of existence. Those real conditions, based on psychic and social displacement are symptomatic of the Marxist definition of alienation… In other words, representations of identity, both national and individual, are thrown into critical doubt within the mythic narratives. (Slavin, 2002).

Slavin’s view that though ideology is used in film, national identity is virtually dependant on film narrative is very ironic, considering that he uses ideology by connecting his argument to Marxism.  In the end, the interpretation of his argument, just like national identity, are both dependant on the work and views of their creator, no matter how drenched in history they.

Even within this corruption of the true nature of things, Slavin acknowledges that the transitional tendency of film images, etiquette and social relations over the years is a perfect source for study of socio-economic change.  Once one grasps a clear understanding of cinema’s use of ideology to mold national culture, the only question left is, how is ideology used, and national culture shaped, specifically within these two films?

In their novel, Piano Lessons: Approaches to the Piano by Felicity Coombs and Suzanne Germmell, the authors work to claim a better understanding of The Piano.  They point out the films originally human nature in the fact that there is no main villain.  The audience is often incited to pity, empathize and despise all three main characters.

Baines, Stewart, and Ada can all be viewed as human because they all have their flaws.  It is wrong for Stewart to disregard his wife they way he does, though the nature of his arrange marriage is a notable statement pertaining to the era of the film’s plot.  The audience is allowed to relate to this sociological circumstance, while at the same time despise Stewart for his treatment of Ada.  Whereas Ada is presented as a victim of the cultural norms of her time period, she still transcends beyond this, to adopt contemporary ideals and relate to the audience.  The fact that she cheats on her husband is a motive for dislike, but it is also key to the liberation she achieves from her mundane existence.

The fact that she does not embody the role of the victim throughout the entire film is testament to the film’s reality.  Baines also becomes an equally likeable figure in that his sexual advances evolve from something seemingly corrupt to an actual full blown love affair.  This triangular relationship between the three main characters says a lot about male and female relations during the time.  The authors also correspond to Ada’s relationship with men to the nature of post-colonialism, which was also a big part of New Zealand at this time and also a big part of this film.

The relationship between the oppressor and the oppressed is a key theme in the relationships Ada has with men.  The colonial history of 1850’s New Zealand is encompassed within the plot.  This is an example of how ideology is used in narrative to enhance the value of a message more relevant.  In confronting these ideals of colonization, the film came under much scrutiny.  Many felt the film gave a false presentation of race.  During this time there were many Maori, who argued they were the product of White New Zealanders’ social injustice.

They felt the film’s disregard for their cultural relevance was a form of national mythmaking, in avoiding the argument that whites staked claim on their land. This conflict is overlooked by the plot, but the nature of its severity is still implied through the topic being completely disregarded. It is also a common controversy within the land that many foreign investors come and buy land, from potentially the wrong owners. By disregarding their true history, the national identity presented for New Zealand is that of a small land with a history for sale. The connection with national identity here is cultural.  This differs from the connection visible in The Truman Show.

Just like The Piano, The Truman Show poses an argument larger than itself in respect to national identity, only this film speaks more metaphorically.  The idea previously posed in National Identity and Self Esteem, was that national identity is largely the product of a model that is followed by a group of people.  These people are so caught up in the ideals of the group, they rather sacrifice their own individual comforts for the good of the team.

The authors found that these groups are also very competitive with one another, identifying their identity with that of the group and basing the groups identity on their contrast from other groups.  This becomes very relative to some of Rene Girard’s views.  In his seminal theory of mediated desire Rene Girard argues that human desire is imitative.  His views is that the goals we hold most personal are actually the desires of others which we want to achieve because others want to achieve them.

This is very compatible with the ideals of national culture and the cult group fallowing it incites.  This is also seen constantly in The Truman Show, the main motivation for Truman to escape the studio/town is to travel to Fiji after his one true love.  If the character personifying his school crush had never desired to move there, Truman would have never desired to follow.  This is a direct personification of Girard’s theory, as well as an example of Morse and Halev’s version of national identity.  Here it is easy to see the differing way in which The Truman Show represents national identity from how it is used in The Piano.

In sum, through an understanding of identity theory and New Zealand culture, we can develop a better understanding of the directors’ use of national identity in the films The Piano, and The Truman Show.  National identity is depicted in The Piano through its cultural connotations, historical representation, and it authenticity to social norms.

Despite all of its awards, the films inability to stay true to the ethnic history of the town is proof that it attempts to mold national identity through its filmic ideals.  The directors pick and chose the ideology they identify with and disregard the other aspect of New Zealand culture.  Whereas The Truman Show does not attempt to shape the national culture of New Zealand, it is virtually unidentifiable as a New Zealand film, except for the fact that is written by a New Zealander. What the film contributes to national identity is its use of the theories backing it, and its own underlying message on the nature of the conflict.

What the film reveals about national identity is its dependency on the narrative of a film.  The ironic fact is that it does this through its own abuse of the power.  Truman represents everyman against the crowd.  The complex world he interacts with is very similar to the real world, only in his world he really is the center of attention.  The most intimate aspects of an individual’s life, like marriage, personal goals and beliefs are all a product of a false reality.

This concept is very similar to Freudian theory, Marxist theory, biblical references and even many science fiction narratives.  What the films reveals about national identity is its core nature.  The entire town operates in one direction and for one purpose.  Truman is the only one who is unaware of this purpose, but he still seems to follow along contributing to what he feels is the best interest of the group.  His desires are compatible with his nation’s desires, until he breaks free from this methodology of control.  Both of these films interact with national identity theory; both are products of New Zealander culture, and both are great films.

Work Cited

Adorno, Theodor W. and Max Horkheimer. Dialectic of Enlightenment: Philosophical Fragments. 1947. Trans. Edmund Jephcott. Stanford: Stanford UP, 2002.

Chatman, Seymour (1978) Story and Discourse: Narrative Structure in Fiction and Film (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press).

Cheshire, Ellen. Jane Campion. Great Britain: Pocket Essentials, 2000.

Eric Young (Executive Producer). (1998). “How’s It Going To End? The Making of The Truman Show, Part II” [DVD (Special Feature)]. Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment.

Girard, René. Deceit, Desire, and the Novel: Self and Other in Literary Structure. Trans. Yvonne Freccero. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins UP, 1965.

Helen Martin and Sam Edwards, New Zealand Film, 1912-1996. Auckland: Oxford University Press, 1997. vi+215 pp. Illustrations, bibliography, index.

Kaufman, Cynthia. “Colonialism, Purity, and Resistance in The Piano.” Socialist Review 24 (1995): 251-55.

Sanes, Ken. Truman as Archetype. 1996-2001. 29 July 2004. <>.

Slavin, John (2002) Lost causes : the ideology of national identity in Australian cinema. PhD thesis, Department of English, University of Melbourne.

The Piano. (2007, January 18). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 22:37, January 22, 2007, from

The Truman Show. (2007, January 19). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 22:33, January 22, 2007, from

The Truman Show (1998) Directed by Peter Weir, screenplay by Andrew Niccol (Hollywood, CA: Paramount).

Free Essays

New Identity

I managed to talk to a friend who happens to know a Filipino, Amang Dado (Father Dado), a 75-year old farmer from the Quezon Province in the Philippines. He came from a family whose life has moved around in planting root crops sold at the local public market for three generations. He had his only son, Eleazar, who was able to study at the University of the Philippines in Manila. The Filipinos highly value education for they believe that it is the only way out of massive poverty especially in the rural areas which happened to include Amang Dado’s family. Eleazar was an intelligent college student and was also active in the school paper of the university.

All that changed when Eleazar went missing after he was taken by the military after being mistaken for a communist rebel. It was the Martial Law Era under then President Marcos and he was never to be found again. This struck Amang Dado as his only son went missing up to this date. Since he was poor and would have to travel miles to get to the capital, he could not follow up the loss of his son if he really was dead or alive. Eleazer became part of the local term, “desaparasidos” or the missing.

This changed his view on justice in a society he believed that vowed to help and protect citizens like him. His view on life suddenly changed as his only hope in getting out of their less-fortunate situation was stolen away from him and therefore depriving him of the opportunity of having a son.

Next was the grandmother of another friend in California who also happened to be a Filipina who lived during the Second World War. At that time, she was 19 when the Japanese invaded the Philippines and declared Manila as an Open City. Not long after that, the Japanese held everyone hostages. Filipino and American soldiers prisoners-of-war after the Fall of Bataan. She told me that she was at the path of the infamous Death March of prisoners-of-war from Bataan to Tarlac, more than 150 miles apart.

Not enough food was available, the currency was of no value, and worse, the Japanese soldiers kidnapped local women and brought them to the garrisons and held them as sex slaves, locally termed as comfort women. Lola Ida was one of them. I can feel the tears coming down from her eyes even from the phone as she recalls that fateful event in her life.

She and the other comfort women were fed horrendously and were battered and were used up for sex by the Japanese soldiers continuously at their will. She even recalled a stick put up into her by one of the soldiers. This situation really stricken her as Filipino women value their dignity and virginity very highly and she was lucky to still be alive at the time of the liberation. The war not only destroyed the local economy, but entrenched into the society disrespect for gender.

The notion of justice is through fear and all that the people could do is to stay alive. She was able to marry and migrate into where she was right now in Panorama City where she tried to forget the horrendous tragedies of war. “Life is all about standing up again after every fall”, said Lola Ida. Resiliency is one particular trait that not only Filipinos have but for the rest of the Asians as well.

Part II: An Entry on my Autobiography: The Place I Live In

I can say that I’m living in a quiet diverse neighborhood, wherein you see people who don’t look like you, or doesn’t speak like you. They have a different skin color, unlike mine which is brown. Well, the majority of people living in my neighborhood are Filipinos, which comprises more than 80% of the population. I have seen and met white people who occupy less than 10% of the total population. I have also seen some other Asian people wandering around like Korean students studying English, and some indigenous natives.

These three, along with the other  foreign races in our community comprise only less than 10% of the total population combined. Comparing it with other American states, the number of whites in my neighborhood is a little more than the normal, but still has a significant presence of other races, which are not far behind compared to other states.

This diversity has clearly put an interesting twist in living in our neighborhood. Since they are different from the rest of the brown population, I can’t help but think that they are not given a fair treatment by the rest of the brown population. This may be because of their appearance, wherein they are often looked down by the other members of the society. This includes every representative member of the society, from the household members, up to the leaders of the society. They may be given special attention by these people, or worse may even be ignored (Northampton). But because of their position in the society, they try their best to treat each and every member of the society with utmost fairness and equality.

In my case, I’ve experienced getting ignored by a policeman when I asked for directions. It happened to me only once, I don’t know if it is because of the fact that I’m part Korean and looked like an American, and it is noticeable in my physical appearance. But that incident was not repeated, so I guess the policeman was just being rude or was having a bad day. In other instances that I asked for something from these community leaders, they try their best to address my inquiries and needs.

I haven’t had any first hand experience or haven’t witnessed any instance that these community leaders treated other people from another race or culture differently, but I have a friend who was able to witness something like that. It was on a public office, when a clerk attended to the inquiries of a white person before a black man, even though the black man came to ask first. It is a public office, the office of the District Attorney, someone who is expected to help us in times of need. But if they act like this, they are marginalizing other people (“Demographic Profile”).

The people in my neighborhood treat me normally; they don’t look down on me. I don’t know if it has to do with the color of my skin, but as far as I can remember, I was never treated indifferently by any of them. The worst experience (and hopefully the last) was being called an American-wannabe by my grade school teacher. I don’t know if it was intended to mock me because although I am Filipino, I looked like an American or just her way of addressing me, but I guess she based it on my look. She was pertaining to my physical appearance, but I have never considered it as a big deal.

I have seen worse, especially to those people who have a different skin color. Well, addressing someone as white, or calling names like “whitie” can be considered as marginalizing, but what about beating someone because he’s white, or Asian, or whatever that is different from being normal? I have actually witnessed a black boy being beaten by three guys of his age, who happens to be rich brown Filipinos who are sons of a sugar plantation owner.

They are calling names while punching him, until some policeman came by and chased them away. What does color have to do with his personality? Why do they have to resort to violence with small matters like a different color of skin or different accent? These are but some of my questions regarding the difference in cultural orientation which are still unanswered.

When I was browsing some of my manuals and school readings, I happen to read by a phrase or Germans. It was about the previous World War II, wherein the Philippines was under the Axis powers, Japan in particular. It has an understatement saying that at that time that the Japanese are ruthless people who derive happiness from the hardships and sufferings of other people.

But this is a hasty generalization. The text may be about the previous war, but it is not true that all Japanese are like that. Maybe it was pertaining to Emperor Hirohito and General Yamashita, the famous Japanese leaders who drove Filipinos, Koreans, and the Chinese to their painful deaths. But not all Japanese are like that person, they are but one of the few who has issues for themselves, not for the whole of the people from Japan.

When it comes to entertainment and local media, the common people who are usually seen are brown people, addressing the needs of the brown population of our community. But they do feature other people in certain events which prove to be relevant. The most common instance that Chinese or Korean and Filipino people are featured by the media is when it comes to sporting events. They highlight various people who excel in some sports they are also featuring (“Football Unites, Racism Divides”). If a player who is from a different culture excels in that field and he advocates the media, he’ll surely end up getting presented.

In relation to the people who are in leadership positions in my community, I could clearly say that they are the same as me when it comes to treating people from other races. I try not to consider their differences, and as much as possible, treat them fairly, just like any person in the community. I also encourage some of my friends to do so, just like what they do, promoting equality for all the people. The only difference I have from them is that I don’t have the power to make rules that protect these minorities from the cruelty of those who doesn’t see them equally.

They can affect a larger number of people as compared to what I can do. People listen to them, as compared to a small voice such as I. They can make a difference, everything lies on their hands. They could punish those who treats the people with different cultural orientation unfairly, so that other people would not commit the same mistakes such as beating guys just because they are black, or mocking the people by calling their names pertaining to their culture.

If given the chance that I can resolve inequalities in my community, I would like to resolve racism in grade school levels. It is undeniably a very alarming thought that even at the early age, there are kids that are already discriminating others. This is because they can see that there is really discrimination in the society, and it is said that in the eyes of a child, something that is awfully wrong can be perceived as a right thing to do (“Help Arrest the Racism in Your Community”).

I would like to promote a fair, equal treatment to kids in these schools. Their exposure to racial discrimination is very crucial in the formation of their thoughts. These kids will grow with the thought of having hatred towards the minority, wherein they would marginalize these people and treat them as inferior to them. Childhood is the stage in a person’s life wherein we learn things, our orientations and preferences slowly developing, having a proper focus.

If we could just let these kids see that racial discrimination is wrong, and then they would grow up with the belief that it is wrong, thus they won’t do it. With these in hand, we are assured of a better future for the marginalized minorities, since these kids view them as their equals. But if they are continually exposed to just injustice and unfair treatment, they would grow up thinking that they are more superior to these people.

The preferences of a person are directly affected to race. The way they dress, their food preferences, they way they speak, the way they eat their food; these are all affected to or accounted to the person’s race. Looking closely, it could be a basis for judging a certain person, whether it is a constructive judgment, or destructive wherein you tend to destroy or stain the morality of a certain person. It is related to rave because these preferences are the basis of the race itself, how it is affected by each of these parts, and how important are they to race.


“Demographic Profile”.  2005.  Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce. June 24 2007. <>.

“Football Unites, Racism Divides”.  2004. June 24 2007. <>.

“Help Arrest the Racism in Your Community”.  Miami, FL, 2007. June 24 2007.<>.

Northampton, The committee for. “A Community Tackles Racism”.  1994.  Andrea Ayvazian. June 24 2007.<>.




Free Essays

National Identity Cards

Identity (ID) cards are known for their utility and integrity, which led to the adoption of its use by many countries all over the world. Some countries even have national IDs, which are officially released and which use is mandatory to all who sojourn in said territories. Examples of these countries that have a national ID system are France, Germany, Belgium, Luxemburg, Spain, and Greece. On the other hand, many developed countries such as Australia, Sweden, Canada, and the United States, did not adopt such an identification system.

National ID systems are established to serve two main purposes. The first one is to increase the police powers of the State. Consequently, ID cards can help the State reduce crime rate, conduct social engineering, and reduce the threat of insurgents or political extremists.

The second purpose is to establish a comprehensive and useful administration of government services. The technology behind modern ID systems, such as the magnetic stripes and the microprocessor technology, ID cards offer a valuable towards the more efficient delivery of government services.

However, while it appears that having a National ID system may offer many advantages, such a system could also pave the way for abuses on civil rights, invasion of privacy, and discrimination. In addition, the establishment of such a comprehensive registration system, would entail a huge amount in costs, which is an important consideration to make.

All of these considerations should be weighed in order to reach at an intelligent decision on the issue of whether citizens of the United States should be required to carry National IDs.





Free Essays

The Theme of Identity in Chang-Rae Lee’s Native Speaker

Chang-rae Lee’s first novel Native Speaker became a real success. It makes a significant impact on people, as it touches eternal questions of identity search in the contemporary society. The novel won a great number of awards, which include the 1996 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for First Fiction, the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award, QPB’s New Voices Award and others. It appeared in The New York Times and The Best American Essays and Chang-Rae Lee was a finalist for Granta’s American Novelists. What is remarkable Native Speaker is really worthy of all these awards.

Theme of identity is a central one in Native Speaker. The main character of this novel is Henry Park. His parents were Korean immigrants and so all his life Henry tries to become a real American, a native speaker. Henry works as a spy for Glimmer and Associates. His main task is to collect information about non-white immigrants and citizens who have shadowy past.

After his son’s death and the break with his wife Leila Henry is immersed into identity crisis. Only by the end of the novel he is able to recover from this crisis and find his true identity. Henry has analyzed all his life and seen some things in a new light, he makes a long way full of difficulties, disappointments and despair before he comes to true understanding of his identity.

After their son’s death Lelia cannot understand Henry’s reaction, his emotionless state. In reality, Henry cannot come in turns with his son’s loss, he takes it very hard, but he does not want to show it, he hides his feelings and closes in his shell. Before Lelia’s departure at the airport she gives Henry a brief note, where she describes him: “You are surreptitious / B+ student of life….

Yellow peril: neo-American…stranger / follower / traitor / spy” (Lee 12). This pushes him to reflection about his life. Starting analyzing his past Henry understands that his ability to repress emotions, his skills to memorize everything he learns and a tendency to wear a mask to be socially accepted can be explained by his Korean origin. He also understands that these skills help him to be a natural spy. He is an alien in America, although he was born here, he does his best to be a true American.

He does not admit this fact even in his mind but starting thinking about his parents and his origin he understands that it is true. His profession used to help him feel protected and real American because his main mission is to control non-white people: spying is “the perfect vocation for the person I was, someone who could reside in one place and take half steps out whenever he wished [. . .] I thought I had finally found my truest place in the culture” (Lee 127).  At the same time his cold and detached attitude alienates his wife from him.

All Henry’s thoughts about his past do not allow him to continue his work, he cannot wear his spy mask any more. He loses his job then he gets another opportunity to work with John Kwang, but this work again reminds him about his Korean origin and his father.

Henry tires to reconnect with his wife. She is not sure whether she really means anything for him, whether he loves her or just requires as the housemaid, whose name he does not know. Lelia always pushes her husband for the empathetic reflections. He feels that he must overcome this barrier in cultures between them. Henry knows that Lelia cannot hide her feelings as he does and he loves her for this.

“She must be the worst actor on earth. And perhaps most I loved this about her, her helpless way, love it still, how she can’t hide a single thing, that she looks hurt when she is hurt, seems happy when happy. That I know at every moment the precise place where she stands” (Lee 158).  All in all Henry convinces his wife that she is his life and that she is extremely important for him. He finally is able to be close with Lelia, to build intimacy between them. His perception of the world has changed and so has his identity.

At the end of the novel Henry is completely different person with much broader identity. He has found a balance between American and Korean cultures. He has reached harmony inside of his soul. Now he understands that America does not make fell foreigners aliens but it gives freedom and an opportunity to realize desires and make dreams come true. Henry becomes a native speaker of his self and that helps him to be successful in all his activities. Henry understands that identity is something more than just American or Korean nationality. It is your inner self and it does not matter where you live and what you do and what language you speak, the only thing that matter is your inner freedom and moral certainty.

Works Cited:

Lee, Chang-Rae. Native Speaker. NY: Riverhead Books, 1995.



Free Essays

National Identity

India is a democratic country after it gained its  independence in 1947 from British who ruled India for nearly two centuries.   India is popularly known as a Hindu nation which has various Gods and Goddesses for praise and worship and celebrates quite a number of religious festivals every year which carries different cultures and traditions for practicing rituals.  India practices caste, creed and religion system  and multi-regional language system where each State which are totally 29 in number, carry a unique and distinct language which is spoken only by local resident people of that State and there are only 5 percent people in India who speak English.

India is the second most popular country in the world which has a population of 1.1 billion people as per the records of 2007. India’s economy is 12th largest in the world  and its government is headed by Prime Minister and cabinet ministers who form economic policies of the government. There are democratic parties in India under various leaderships which campaign for votes every five years for winning the term elections.

Official view

For whichever party gets majority of votes in an election comes into the leadership to form National Government for a term of five years.  India has a Constitutional Law and Judicial Law apart from Administrative Laws and Economic Laws and Policies.

India’s national identity is its national flag  in tri- colours viz., saffron indicates  courage, sacrifice, the white indicates  purity and truth, green indicates  faith and fertility and in the midst of the flag there is a wheel in navy blue color which is termed as Dharma Chakra indicating the wheel of law which has 24 spikes in it. The national flag of India is a symbol of freedom for all people in India.

The flag is hoisted each year by the Prime Minister of India on 15th August as a mark of national Independence Day. India has many ancient forts and palaces that are built by dynasties of various kings  and it is a proud place to carry one of the wonders of the world The Taj Mahal in the city of Agra which is a marble monument built by a king called Shahjahan.  There is also Red fort in the city of Agra, Palace of a king in the city of Mysore,  The Charminar in Hyderabad, and there many tourist places.

There are many industries, corporate houses and five star restaurants and resorts homes which are contributing to the GDP growth and development of nation which is around 7-8 percent per annum.  India is an agricultural based country and in many parts of the country the yielded crop is lost due to either heavy rains, floods which is why there is a short supply of essential grains, pulses  and vegetables and Government in order to meet the needs of consumers, imports wheat, sugar and oil from outside of India. There is still below poverty line in India even after 60 years of independence and country continues build its public infrastructure and telecommunication systems.

The national identity changes in each country, traditions, and how to maintain the idea
– and What has globalization done to it?

India has many problems within its political and economic system due to which the economic growth is not on the rapid rise. Indian currency rupee faces lot of inflation giving price rise in essential commodities which affect the common public who are mostly middle class which is a vast percentage in India. Luxury class is very small percentage and it is the middle class and poor people whose life styles are affected due political and economical imbalances.   The stability in national government is always a doubting factor for people each time elections are made as the opposition parties raise a voice in Parliament questioning each and every mode of development which makes it very difficult for ruling government.

India has a unique national identity of Hinduism as a religion and secondly country’s largest democracy with 1.1 billion population, there are problems in drinking water, supply of electricity,  unsafe roads and lack of education for many people who reside in rural areas.

Globalisation has enabled India to be recognized as a blue-chip place for computer technology as there are many software and hardware engineers, commencement of new and existing blue chip companies in the field of software and hardware technology and this has encouraged foreign nations to supply computers and accessories apart from Internet broadband. Further sales in mobiles, digital cameras, advanced facility telephones, televisions, VCDs and other electronic goods have become the status symbol and almost everyone has an electronic gadget whether it is a mobile or a camera which is the latest trend in India. Bollywood movies and film  stars are a heartthrob for overseas Indians.

How are the nations responding towards the idea of National Identity

Many foreigners visit India to take note of what is so special about India and after a travel, tourists find  food in India is good and available at a low price, Indians demonstrate a friendly gesture to foreigners although mannerisms and etiquette are not at par with that of foreign standards, it holds good for a temporary visit to India.  Many Hollywood celebrities visited India viz., Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Pierce Brosnan, Johny Depp, Nicole Kidman  and Will Smith apart from President Bush and Laura Bush who visited India in the year 2005 and India and U.S. have entered into a Nuclear Deal Agreement to supply nuclear fuel which is yet to be approved by Senate of U.S.

India has an active stock market and Reserve Bank policies which give rise to sensex in stock exchanges. India has many industries in apparel, chemical, ready-to-eat food companies, FMCG, precious metals, five star, three star  hotels and many software based corporates while many still many being commenced apart from real estate sector  construction of small, medium and luxury homes.


Brian Stanley, Alaine M. Low, Missions, Nationalism, and the End of Empire

Accessed May 2, 2008

India and Globalisation

Accessed May 2, 2008


Free Essays

National Identity

National identity affects the culture of India

National identity refers to the individual’s sense of belonging to it. National identity may refer two people with different in personalities, geographical locations, belief systems, time and even spoken language, yet regard themselves and be seen by others as members f the same nation. The national identity is created and constructed it may not necessarily be false, as there is a constant agreement on the existence, if not on the definition of the nation as an entity.

National identity is desired to see us in the nation, but nationhood also arises out of a wish to make sense of our world, to have our place in it legitimized. National identity is a fundamental means of self-definition. In other words national identity is often taken to mean a shared structure of feeling, largely imagined consciousness that is reinforced both through life’s daily routines as well as through ritualized, symbol-laden, celebrations of nationhood.

Nevertheless, the negotiation of a national identity is a continuous and entirely voluntary process, which demands inclusively and the fair representation of peoples and cultures. National identity is about on a foundation of fact and fiction that together form an account or story of origins, myth, tradition, and invented tradition are systematically employed towards the making of a common ancestry. The basis for shared belongings and a distinctive identity vis-avis the identity of other nation–states. Therefore national identity is the sense of belonging nurtured by a commonly shared history, cultural continuity and belief in a national destiny (Cameron, 1999).

National identity and Indian culture

National identity in India was seen as individualizing each individual in terms of the globalization, religious nationalism and insecurity. India, with its multitudinous cultures, is fast shedding the mantle of its old identities and poised to wear new ones when Mahatma Gandhi said, “ India lives in its village “ he meant national identity. India has the largest population villages and towns in the world. Whereby, 70% of its citizens live in villages. This shows that Indians dominates in village and agriculture contribution to its annual GPD, since that no much as been changed since Gandhi’s time.

In social, Indians regions have remained either romantic or colonial, both of which are nonexistent. A national identity may be a transient thing. But, what remains when nothing else will is an Indian sensibility. This is woven in each and every nuance of life that an Indian sees around himself. From sharing the connotations of the color red to the understanding of the mechanics of living within a society, the fact is that this knowledge exists within the framework of Indians values.

This understanding that is uniquely called an Indian “sensitivity”, is what defines India. The sensitivity of Indian people is what means neighbors extend help and support to each other when they can live peaceful and unobtrusive lives. The social impact that the nation identity has brought into the regions is that Indians have been reared to live within a community in an interactive co-existing manner (Ganti, 2004).

The culture change of Indians has been brought up by foreign adverts that used through medias, cinemas, but Indian audience does not cultivate the international taste, this is because majority prefer cinemas that they can relate to the change of culture of Indian which was due to the westernized nationalism where some of the Indians admired the character of Hitler, where it was known that Hitler attempt to reconcile change and continuing by taking of roots and traditions in a situation of industrialization and urbanization. This was for the Hindutva practice, whereby issues regarding national anthems, dress and foreign foods are given prominence, while profound social changes continue to affect every day life as before.

The national identity formation in Indian culture was seen as expiring the Indian culture where it was affected by the globalization. The cultural heads in India like shanty Kumar’s Gandhi examined how cultural imagination of nation identity have been transformed by the rapid growth of satellite and cable television in postcolonial India. This group evaluated the growing influence of foreign and domestic satellite and cable channels are the major contributors that are going to affect the culture of Indian people.

Kumar argues that India hybrid national identity is manifested in the discourses found in this variety of empirical sources (Menon, 2007).  He formed a group of representative in the nation and regional level that can promote the Indian languages in term of vernacular where media groups allocate some programs that encourage the use of national identity. In India minority has been used to describe people like the Dalits who are numerically significant but who, for politico-ideological reasons have been denied their right to full citizenship.

Indians authority arrived at a point of allowing the mosaic of peoples and nations within a nation-state to enjoy pull rights to culture and communication. There are two aspects, which are centralized to the making and maintenance of national identity. Firstly the right to culture-the inalienable right to every nation irrespective of its status, to practice, express, promote its identity as a community provided that this does not infringe the rights of other nation to do the same.

In other words an individual person rights needs to be located within a cultural of right is what sustains national identity. India is a tough case for any scholar trying to develop a general theory of nationalism, and with few exceptions, it does not figure in general introductory texts on the field. India is hardly a station cultural similarity or even equality in the western state: it is a country with deep embedded hierarchies and a very considerable degree of internal cultural variations (Juluri, 2004).


Cameron, K. (1999). National Identity. Intellect Books.

Juluri, V. (2004). Becoming a Global Audience Longing and Belonging in Indian. Onent Longman.

Menon, M. M. (2007). Cultural History of Modern India. Bergnahn Books.

Ganti, T. (2004). Bolly Wood: A Guidebook to popular Hinds cinema. Routledge.

Free Essays

National Identity

Japanese preserves their culture and their uniqueness to the world. In the beginning, the Japanese people are by natural means are isolated to all other nations and cultures in the world. But in the later, they have self-imposed their isolation up to now. Japan is known in securing the welfare the groups and not by individual welfare. This means that a Japanese individual is working for sake of the family, the local community, the corporation, and the country but not for himself/herself.

Nihongo is the the distict language of Japanese with distinct characters. Among their culture is wearing of kimono especially during traditional Shinto wedding. Among their famous tradition is Geisha, where Japanese entertainers have many myths about their lifestyle and history. Koto is a famous traditional musical instrument while Samurai were warriors of pre-industrial Japan. Japanese maintain their pride and distinctiveness that is why they discourage marrying their children with other nationalities. Further, only a handful Southeast Asians can be allowed to immigrate in Japan.

On the other hand, China is known for The Great Wall of China and Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism. Mei and Zhenzhi (2007) cited that, ‘red lanterns, dragon dancing, kung fu, Peking opera costumes, Chinese musical instruments, Oriental women in modified changshan, etc. are among their symbols’. Mandarin and their characters are less complicated than Japanese but are more complicated than Korean characters.

Chinese are popular for their zodiac with animal characters and Feng sui. Mei and Zhenzhi (2007) added the traditional holidays like the Chinese New Year, Lantern Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, and Moon Festival. The Chinese New Year is also different from the rest which is determined by the Chinese lunar-solar calendar. Chinese calendar divides a year into twelve month of 30 or 29 days. Architecture, customs, values, family structure, and cuisine are very unique.


Eckstein, A.J. (1999). Japan’s National Identity: Nationalists or Not? Retrieved October 31, 2007

Mei, W., Zhenzhi, G. (2007). Globalization, national culture and the search for identity: A Chinese dilemma. Retrieved October 30, 2007, from (



Free Essays

Judaism: Its identity and position to society

Judaism is more than a religion. It is the way of life of the Jewish people. Culture, customs, ethics, and sense of self – these are a part of Judaism as much as the faith and the rituals of the Jewish religion. A Jew can be defined in more than one way. Within Jewish law, being Jewish is a kind of citizenship. One is a Jew if one is born of a Jewish mother or has undergone a conversion. Conversion to Judaism is like a bestowal of citizenship – it makes one a member of the people.

A person who fits the legal definition of a Jew is recognized as a fellow Jew by the Jewish community. Even if a Jew does not share the religious beliefs of Jews and does not participate in the customs and practices of Judaism, one is still considered a Jew if he or she fits the legal definition. One could define a Jew religiously to the religious beliefs and practices of Judaism. A Jew is one believes in the One God, Creator and master of the Universe, the God with whom the people Israel have a special relationship. Many Jews believe God chose them to be his people.

They follow the laws that God revealed to Moses. The Ten Commandments are the most important of these laws. In ancient times the Jews were the only people who worship a single, exclusive God, and the only people who worshiped without physical images of God. The Jews were resented by other people for not participating in the worship of all gods. This led to the accusation that Jews were antihumanitarian, since sharing gods was considered to be an act of friendship and universalistic concern for other people.

When Christianity replaced the pagan religions of antiquity, the old misunderstanding of Jews did not die out. Added to it was the resentment that the Jews, Jesus’ own people, has not become Christians. Jews were protected under Christian law but were restricted in many ways. The laws in Christian lands called for Jews to be humiliated and despised in order to encourage Jewish conversions to Christianity. When Jews did not convert they were accused of stubbornness or spiritual blindness (Wylen).

Judaism teaches that God is the God of all humankind and that He wants all people to serve Him by living their lives the way He wants. The guidelines for this lifestyle are set down in the Noachide Laws, the basic framework for a moral and spiritual life. They believe that every person is completely free to choose whether to do good or evil for God is completely free to do as He wishes, so are humans. Jews regard any religion which upholds the Noachide Laws as an acceptable way for non-Jews to serve God.

This does not mean that they agree with everything that other religions teach, but that they can recognize some religions as pointing out a path to God. For this reason, Jews do not see the need to convert other people to their religion. In particular, Jews recognize that Islam teaches pure monotheism and that Muslims have a strict morality that upholds the principles of the Noachide Laws. The same may be said of the Sikh religion. Jews have always been less certain about Christianity.

Although they acknowledge Christianity’s high moral principles, they feel uneasy about the Christian belief that Jesus is God. They are also unhappy about the use of images and icons in Catholic and Orthodox worship. They feel that this comes rather close to idolatry. Nonetheless, Jews have always recognized a special relationship with Christianity and Islam. Rabbi Judah Halevi, a twelfth-century scholar, described Judaism as the seed of the tree and Christianity and Islam as the branches, since through these religions, millions of people have come to worship the one God (Forta).

At the turn of the twentieth century, a movement of interfaith dialogue between Jews and non-Jews served as a medium that facilitated the changes upon conflicts in religion. Although there had been some obstacle along the process, the interfaith dialogue helped to develop a better relationship between Jews and non-Jews in America. As a result it came into advancement of the well-being of the Jewish community in America.

This interfaith dialogue took place in America in 1893 when the World Parliament of Religions (WPR) convened in Chicago bringing together Protestants, Catholics, Greek Orthodox Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Bahai, Muslims, Native Americans and representatives of other faiths as well. It offered Jewish religious leaders such as Alexander Kohut, Isaac M. Wise, Kaufmann Kohler, Emil G. Hirsch, and Marcus Jastrow, an opportunity to present their views to a non-Jewish audience and make a case for Judaism (Kaplan).

The majority of Jews, especially in North America, resided in religiously pluralistic communities where people of diverse backgrounds and faiths, including many who had themselves experienced religious persecution, live side by side. Perhaps for this reason, they felt more comfortable interacting with Christians than Jews did in most parts of the world – so much so that we know of Jews and Christians who joined forces in business, witnessed each other’s documents, and socialized in each other’s homes (Bernardini and Fiering).

Over the century new discoveries, new methods of manufacture, new social conditions have changed people’s way of living and thinking about the world. For Jews, this has always created the need to reapply the halakhah (Jewish religious law) to ever-changing conditions for living by halakhah is essential for Jews to fulfill their part of their covenant relationship with God.

During this century advances in technology have led Jews to raise questions which could not have been thought of in earlier times – questions about the use of automated electrical machinery on Sabbaths, whether computer hacking is theft, whether surrogate mother is permissible, whether a person on a life-support machine is alive or dead. To enable rabbis to answer this questions, up-to-date commentaries have been added to the Shulchan Aruch (written catalogue of halakhah), and whole books concerned with specific topics of halakhah are now being published. The continued reapplication of halakhah is an ongoing process (Forta).

Works Cited

Bernardini, Paolo, and Norman Fiering. The Jews and the Expansion of Europe to the West, 1450 to 1800. Berghahn Books, 2001.

Forta, Arye. Judaism. Heinemann, 1995.

Kaplan, Dana Evan. The Cambridge Companion to American Judaism. Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Wylen, Stephen M. Settings of Silver: An Introduction to Judaism. Paulist Press, 2000.



Free Essays

My Identity/My School

I am a unique individual who enjoys the beauty of nature. I appreciate the things around me. Living life to the fullest is what I am up to; thus giving inspiration to others by treating them fairly regardless of their race and traditions make me fulfilled. Like other individuals, I am a sociable person who enjoys meeting new set of people. Meeting and knowing others’ personality is a great privilege and I find them helpful in making myself a better individual.

As the saying goes “no one is an island”, so meeting another people gives me more ideas and views of what life is. There are times when I encounter difficulties in life, I immediately think that life is not worth living for but when I meet people whose problems are so complicated, that is the time I compare my situation to them and realize that I am blessed and I should not give up and quit immediately because there is always a solution in every problem. In addition, since humans compose of body, soul and spirit, I make sure that I do not only feed my body with supplements to make it strong but as well as my spirit.

I strongly believe that my soul needs something in order to grow and live. I make sure to attend the Sunday church and not only that, I also read the word of God because that is the food of our soul. Going to church and have fellowship with my brothers and sisters in the Lord makes my week complete. I know I can face another week because I am strengthened not just physically but spiritually. On the other hand, in order to make myself active, I too indulge into different kinds of sports that can help me strong physically. I find sports very interesting because it does not only energize my body but it quickens my mind in how to play the game.

The more I play; the good techniques and strategies creep in my mind especially if I play the sports with my family. I just like being with them. It is a good feeling to be with your love ones. No amount of money can measure or compare if your family is intact and having a good time all together as one. Playing sports is one of the ways we can bond each other as family. Further more, since I am an administrator (assistant principal) it is my philosophy to educate every student regardless of their backgrounds; thus, each one of them can learn more and be the most equip student if just given by the government the proper tools of technology, has a place conducive for learning, and safe environment.

Feature Article Country School Allen Curnow

Ethnic Identity:

Aside from being an educator, I am an African American with strong beliefs about helping my fellow African American brothers and sisters as well as other ethnic groups that I encounter. Helping others by educating them is such a noble work. I would like to have them good education as I have. Giving them good education can make them competitive in every endeavor they are in. It does not mean that I am an African American I cannot already do the things which others do. In fact, my ethnicity is not a hindrance to be a successful educator. My ethnicity is not an issue in making me successful in life.

I want other people realize especially those who look themselves as inferior to stand firm of what they believe in. I would like to inspire them that through education, they can make their lives fruitful and success is just on their hands if they will continue in educating themselves. Moreover, I would like to inculcate to the young learners that good education is the only wealth our parents leave that nobody can snatch or steal it away from us. Moreover, I would inspire them by telling them that our status and ethnicity in life cannot hinder our dreams to have good education and to be educated.

School Community:

The school I hope to create is a place that is safe and conducive for all learners. I want that school to be well-equip with materials related to the learning areas of the students. Since school activities are social activities, we must look into the routine found in adult society as a guide in laying the basis for routine in classroom organization and control. Much of the details of providing a good work space can be routinized. There should be a place where to put things out of the way, and everyone in the room should know where each thing goes. Routine should merely aid, in setting before the pupils, opportunities for educational experience. The ability to set up routine and to conform properly to it is in itself a worthwhile and necessary outcome of education.

The complexity of the modern school, system calls for more routinization of our classroom procedure. It is, therefore, exceedingly important for the teacher to determine what classroom activities should be routinized and made into habits. The teacher will find the task much easier if the pupils are brought to see and understand fully the value of routine. Likewise, he should make it a point he wishes to develop.

Certain classroom activities should be conducted in the most effective way to allow more time for essential learning activities. It is therefore necessary that daily activities can be turned into habits to facilitate speed and avoid waste of time. This is time-and-nerve-saving, and it is also good education

Routinizing certain activities has a further value in that it prevents confusion and saves time. Confusion reduces the effectiveness of learning activities. Routinizing also aids in keeping the attention of the pupils upon their work. The following should make up routine activity. If considering discipline the teacher must remember that he is constantly faced with two behavior problems—one is the problem of what to do to take care of the immediate situation. This is the one tow which the teacher typically gives relative overemphasis.

The other problem is the one of visualizing the long-time behavior patterns that the teacher is trying to develop in the learner. The learner must also be helped to organize long-time needs and goals and also visualize the behaviors that are likely to help him achieve these goals. In not only to plan present behavior to meet day by day situations, but must also have a vision of the goals of his behavior in the future that will be most satisfying. Teachers must help learners practice using both immediate and remote consequences, particularly the latter since these are more difficult to see.












Free Essays

My Identity

Human identification comprises several aspects in life that clearly defines who he or she is and distinguishes him from the rest of other human beings. Individuals may be defined through their characters, personality and the physical appearance. In identifying someone, the first descriptive aspects are the physical appearance. Identity can also be related on how one looks like, or the resemblance of the individual in comparison to another human being.

My identity may differ from the identity of my colleague but to some extent some factors in my definition may resemble that of my colleague. The most distinguishing part is gender. Irrespective of the exceptions, dwelling on the assumptions, one can only be either a man or a woman. This of course is the most outstanding grouping when it comes to identifying people. In my case, I resemble other men because I am a man. This sounds awkward but male is a male in the sense hat he has male features as opposed to female features, still on physical appearance, I do resemble several people when it comes to the height and the size of my body. Being a tall person, my height can be compared with several people and through comparative method I find that I do resemble majority of tall individuals.

In identifying myself I have to clearly understand who I am and how I look like and in most cases I find that I have to compare myself with another individual or sometimes several individuals. After considering my physical appearance I clearly analyzed myself and either through assumption or fabrication, I find that the physical features can be compared with another person. This therefore leads to a temporal conclusion that one resembles another person in one way or another.

Personality is defined by the characters of a person and the way of handling matters. Through the way someone behaves and considering a collective form of behaviors it is therefore possible to identify someone and in most cases it’s concluded that this person behaves like the other who exhibits the same behavior. Being an attentive person and slow in reacting to suspicious issues I was able to identify another individual who have the same qualities or behavior which I consider to be similar to mine. In that way I can make a partial conclusion that personality actually defines who a person is and it can only be understood clearly when related to the person’s characteristics.

Several factors contribute to the shaping of one’s personality. From the scientific point of view, genetic heredity has featured a lot in determining the characters through genes manipulation which is explained better in scientific research. The defined characters will then be possessed throughout the development of a human being. Behaviors are acquired through continuous repetition of actions which can also contribute to the characteristics.

Naturally, it is difficult to find normal human beings with exactly similar personality but it has been found that sometimes people can have several characteristics which resemble. In such a case it’s concluded that one individual resembles the other characteristics but it’s not said that one person has turned to be another identity. In my consideration it’s difficult to find a person who has a personality resembling mine, but in actual sense I find that it would be possible to consider several individuals who would each have one or several characteristic that resembles mine.

Cultural background is another area which influences the personality and the behavior of a person. It is always considered that culture is a major contributing factor in the growth of a human being. Through cultural background developing children have a lot of lessons to learn. It is easy for individuals to be defined who they are depending on their cultural background.

An individual who has spent the whole of his/her life in a busy city and urban centers can easily be distinguished from the person living in a less developed area. In this context it can be argued that society under which we live has also a part to play in person identity in the sense that people tend to influence one another in different aspects in the society which develops the social behaviors depending on the kind of society one is involved in.

Now considering all the aspects that uniquely defines and identifies a person it’s clear and possible for one to identify himself or herself in different ways. In my case I have different personalities. I have mostly derived this from the different situations and circumstances in which I find myself in. during the good moments I have the capability of having a good relationship with my friends especially when we are involved in common activities and goals. In such situations I am calm and ready to listen to their contributions. I sometimes find myself going an extra mile to ensure that I satisfy them.

Emotionally, in such circumstances I accommodate and tolerate their behavior unconditionally with the understanding of the meaning of morals and virtues in life. All this characters combined with my psychological reasoning I can clearly identify myself as a reliable and considerate person. This I considered to be a piece of my personality or self.

Alternatively during the unhappy or sad moments, I do consider myself as a different person following the way I react to the situation. It’s in such circumstances that I can clearly understand that someone can virtually exist in more than one personality According to (Abramson, L. & Teasdale, J. 1978) Personality and human behavior has a relationship in that human behavior contributes to the characteristic that defines the personality depending on the different situations.

That means through the influence of the circumstances personality might change. I consider this one since I realize the other personality I have is during my sad moment. Whether naturally or not during such situation I find that my character is totally different which I feel psychological a changed person. I believe that in such circumstances it is easy for other people to realize and see a different person other than they know.

My change of behavior makes me feel that I have another self. for example, in such situations I feel that I want to stay alone and I find myself avoiding the company of my partners my emotions goes down and I feel psychological dizziness which end up rendering me inactive. Difficult in solving simple problems is common and the feelings of demotivation occupy my brain.

Sometimes I would find myself being physically affected and loss of appetite is also very common. The approach towards my duties would also be fully affected and the learning becomes a bother. During this time I avoid a lot of activities since it would be easy to mess up. In particular, I would find myself criticizing and concentrating on my failures. In combining all these drastic character change I find that this is totally different person in me.

I believe that each and every individual has a conclusive analysis he or she makes in realization that it’s impossible to identify yourself as the same identity throughout.

Works cited

Abramson, L. & Teasdale,J. (1978). Learned helplessness in humans: Critique and

reformulation. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 87, 49-74.


Free Essays

Whats the Relationship Between Communication and Identity

Communication and identity, many wonder if these words come together? Or wether or not they can work in accord ? Most people would testify different, but in all actuality they can and do more often than one expect, depending on which channels you use and in which context, the way you communicate along with your identity will undergo some modifications, and that without forgetting to include what a big role your gender, social, and cultural identities plays in that as well .

As a source to reinforce my theory in this paper I will discuss what I’ve learned but not limited from Chapter one and two of Communication in a Changing World by Bethami A. Dobkin & Roger C. Pace but also will add one or two real life examples about the relationship between communication and identity, and also has a conclusion this paper will discuss the differences in when I communicate with gender, cultural and social identities in both a face-to-face and online environments.

By definition to communicate is to create and share meaning through the use of symbol (The words, images, gestures, and expressions that we use to represent our thoughts, ideas, beliefs, and feelings. ) through a distinctive process, whereas identity is the conception of yourself as a member of group or category (Dobkin & Pace, 2006). The relationship between communication and identity is normal when communicating is usually from a social standpoint. The things we mostly communicate about our identity are either but not limited to how we feel or the way we would like to come off to others.

Communication is another form of representation. A lot of the times, we associate ourselves with either who we are or who we want to be. It is also what we go through or what we envision that determine the way we respond or what we say to others. For example, sex can very well determine your occupation and age can determine your hobbies or recreations. Sexual orientation can determine who your friends are and the places you will hang out and ethnicity can determine your opinions or the ethnicity of your peers.

Free Essays

Your Identity

Elvin Roperto Professor Gallers English 101 February 16, 2012 You’re Identity Back in the day, few wondered about their ancestors. The majority of people thought they knew all about their ancestor’s history. Who they we’re, their nationality, and their native language. But today in society many are shocked to find out that their ancestor history or past isn’t true at all because of DNA genealogy. If you thought that your ancestors we’re Puerto Rican and they actually turned out to be Mexican. Would you freak out? Would you have to change your ways?

Would you change your traditions? A genealogical DNA test examines the nucleotides in specific locations on a person’s DNA to find out where a person’s ancestor comes from. The test results are not meant to have any medical information and the test results do not determine genetic diseases or disorders. They are only intended to give genealogical information. To take a genealogical DNA test all you have to do is a painless cheek-scrapping at your home and mail the sample to a genetic genealogy laboratory for testing.

There are a few types a test you can use, but the most popular tests are the Y chromosome test and the mitochondrial DNA test. These tests can determine where your ancestors originated from. I disagree, just because a test tells you where you came from doesn’t mean you have to change anything about yourself. Your Identity isn’t based on your family tree’s past. It’s based on everything we see, feel, hear, taste, smell, and read. Every person you meet, every conversation you have, every event in your life, and the way you interpret all sights, sounds, tastes, smells, actions, and events, shape up who you are as a human being.

And nothing in the world should change that, not even your ancestor’s past. On the other hand, can you define yourself as a person without your nationality? How much of who is you are based on your nationality? Can your nationality be a part of your soul? A person’s nationality says much about their culture outlook on life, the way they conduct their lives aspirations, and relationships. The way you act, talk, feel can be a result from your nationality. So maybe it’s possible that you an potentially lose yourself because of believing in something that you are not. In general, I can agree with Harmon. Knowing your nationality can make you understand a bit more about your Identity whether in a positive or negative way Overall, DNA genealogy should not change who you are, even though nationality is a big part of your Identity. If you do find out you’re from a different country, you can try to change some of your traditions and cultural views but you’ll still be you. Work Cited http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Genealogical_DNA_test

Free Essays

Identity Theft

Identity theft is a growing problem and costs American consumers billions of dollars and countless hours each year.  The following paper will discuss the issue of identity theft, the definition of the problem and it will survey five people about personal awareness of identity theft.

The largest transaction a family, or individual will make is when they purchase a home.  The first step in buying a home is to make sure that the family and/or the individual understand the risks of identity theft and how serious it can become.  The Federal trade commission receives 15,000 to 20,000 consumer complaints every week.  Identity theft can ruin a person’s credit and derail that person’s real estate dreams.

Related reading: Snatch Theft Essay

In fact, many consumers first learn they are victims of identity theft when they are in the process of renting or buying a home.  This means that a person’s or family’s real estate dreams can be dashed in a moment because they were unknowingly a victim of identity theft.  There are different avenues of choice a person can make in deterring identity theft and ensuring that one does not become a victim of such a crime.

Because the home buying process involves sharing a certain amount of personal information with third parties, home buyers should be careful when sharing financial or other personal information, whether in person, on the phone, or over the Internet.  Many consumers are not aware that providing personal information online is in effect authorizing the owners of that site to sell the consumer’s information to third parties.  Therefore a person should only use trusted sites with security and/or privacy.

Recently NAR and the Federal Trade Commission formed a partnership to combat identity theft.  The program, “Deter, Detect and Defend” aims to educate consumers, particularly homebuyers, about the devastating effects of identity theft and help them protect themselves against that crime.

In order to deter identity thieves, the FTC and NAR recommend that consumers shred financial documents and paperwork with personal information before discarding.  This is because often times identity theft may occur when a criminal goes through a person’s trash and finds credit card acceptance letters and thus, they get the card under the person’s name all because the document was not discarded of properly or fully.

Another deterrent that a person may do in order to protect their identity is to protect their social security number.  A person should only give out their social security number if absolutely necessary or ask to use another identifier.  If a person on a phone asks for this number they could be writing it down to use for their own benefit; such situations could be billing statements and questions with a person’s credit card company or any other billing service that wants a person to identify themselves with their social security number.  An alternative to using one’s own social security number is to use one’s account number instead.

Another deterrent to identity theft is to not give out personal information on the phone by mail of the Internet unless the person knows with whom they speaking or dealing with.  Many people with cell phones often times conduct business while they are shopping or while they are out in public.  This is a very poor in judgment move to make because being in public and not aware of one’s own surroundings is a vulnerable place to be conducting business.  Many people forget in what surroundings they are speaking on their telephone and any eavesdropper can find out a person’s address, phone number, family members, etc.

Another item on a list of deterrents is to make sure no one in public sees a credit card.  While standing in line at the checkout, camera phones have made it simpler and easier to be an identity thief; this is true because anyone who is behind someone in line using their credit card can simply take a picture of that card and have the account number for their personal use.  Therefore it is behooving to be constantly aware of one’s surrounding, who is the next person in line and to make sure the account number of a credit card while in use remains private.

Thus, it becomes increasingly important to be able to detect suspicious behavior and activity everywhere.  A consumer should then know a few things so that the previous situations do not occur.  A consumer should routinely monitor financial accounts and billing statements.  If unusual activity appears on a person’s account it should be reported to the credit card or billing company immediately so that if the consumer is a victim of identity theft the card will be reported as such and the next time the thief uses the card there will exist a paper trail by which the police can find them.

Another way in which a consumer can ensure their own protection is to be alert to signs that require immediate attention, such as bills that do not arrive as expected; unexpected credit cards or account statements; denials of credit for no apparent reason; and call or letters about purchases the consumer did not make.    Each of these items is a definite sign of identity theft.  A smart consumer is cautious about these different signs and ensures of their own accord that such false accounts are not accomplished by shredding credit card offers in the mail, and by keeping proper and timely track of their own purchases.

Another way in which a consumer can safeguard against identity theft is to purchase monthly insurance from the credit card company that allows the consumer to be fully protected should identity theft occur.  Such a program is set up so that when faulty account balances are detected the consumer does not have to pay for the charges.

If a consumer thinks that identity theft has occurred against them then they should place a ‘fraud alert’ on their credit reports so that damages incurred during this period do not misrepresent the consumers own credit report since they were in fact victims of a crime and not actively ruining their own credit status.

A consumer who has been the victim of identity theft should quickly close accounts that have been tampered with or established fraudulently.  This tells the credit companies that such accounts were initiated by the consumer since their action in repelling the accounts was swiftly taken.

Consumers should also file a police report immediately once they are certain that they have been exposed to identity theft.  Filling such a report lets the police do their jobs in ensuring that such a crime does not persist and that the person or persons responsible for this crime are appropriately punished and do not go back out into the business world thinking that they can easily repeat their actions without negative results.  In order identity thieves to be put in jail the initial step is to file a police report.

Another action that a consumer can accomplish if they have been the victim of an identity theft is to file a report of the theft to the Federal Trade Commission.  This further takes responsibility of the theft off of the shoulders of the consumer.

There of course ways in which identity fraud has been staunched by different companies.  One way has been the introduction of virtual credit cards.  This service is given by MBNA and is called ShopSafe.  This service is found through MBNA’s Net Access service for paying bills online.  This means that a consumer can safely shop through their own browser or they can shop with a  free down load desktop software.  The virtual card has the option of the consumer choosing the duration of the card’s active status, and the limit on the card as well. (Arar, 2006, 47).

Another option available for consumers is to pay by e-pay online.  This option is available at different online merchants which dictates that the consumer pays electronically (this is typically used in billing statements).  The site that has been utilized the most is PayPal.  Everything on PayPal is done safely, and electronically.  PayPal does not trade consumer information and does not allow the consumer’s  bank information to be directly seen by

The research done with PC World, 2006, initiates consumer awareness about how to appropriately use a computer that ensures personal account information is not accessible by anyone else besides the consumer.  In their section entitles Privacy Watch; How to Secure Files on Your Hard Drive, the article discusses how to files safeguarded.  A consumer’s computer should be appropriately safeguarded by using encryption software,

Files are encrypted only while on the hard drive.  If you send an e-mail attachment to someone from your encrypted hard drive, the software automatically decrypts the attachment before it leaves the PC, and the recipient receives a normal unscrambled message.  Full disk encryption tools used to have one major drawback: They slowed PCs considerably.  But as processor power has gone up, software makers have optimized their products so effectively that you can barely tell the encryption is happening.  I surfed the Web, checked and sent e-mail, and even played some graphically intensive games on the encrypted laptop without encountering a perceptible performance hit from the encryption software, which quietly went about its business in the background. 48.

The overall focus of PC World’s article involved being a conscious consumer and careful shopper.

David M. Lynch’s article Securing Against Insider Attacks (2006) also gives advice and warning signals of identity theft in regards to IT security.  One such maxim listed is that of trusting the people who make up established relationships.  This theory states that anyone within a person’s ‘tribe’ is immediately trustworthy but an outside must be viewed with precaution, as Lynch states, “Since the very first IT survey on cyber attacks, one fact has remained almost constant: a greater percentage of attacks come form the inside (from ‘trusted’ folks)—60 to 70 percent—than from the outside (the ‘untrusted’ folks).

Or, to put it another way, roughly twice the number of attacks come from the inside vs. the outside.” (40).  This places a new perception on identity theft since the person who is the thieve is typically thought of as being a stranger, but in the above statement, Lynch points out that most of the time the person doing the thieving is someone the consumer personally knows.

Lynch goes on to state that identity theft has become such a staple crime is because of the broadening scope of business which has subsequently made the world a smaller place.  Almost all business, large and small have processing orders all over the world  This ensures that an electronic identity is abundant in the business world.  This electronic identity when paired with repositories of personal information is the number one reason why identity theft has grown so widely (while the market grew in a global scale so did the crime of identity theft).

Lynch’s article highlights different banks and organizations that themselves have been victims of identity theft,

Data broker Acziom Corp. experienced identity theft by an insider that cost it $5.8 million, including employees’ time and travel expenses, security audits, and encryption software…ChoicePoint said in February that thieves using stolen identities had created 50 dummy businesses that pulled data including names, addresses, and Social Security numbers on as many as 145,000 people.  As a result, its stock dropped from $48 a share the day before the announcement to around $39. In May 2005, Wachovia corp. and Bank of America Corp.   notified more than 100,000 customers that their financial records had been stolen by bank employees and sold to collection agencies.

At the time of writing, investigators are still looking into the case, which may involve the unauthorized sale of data on nearly 700,000 customers of various banks. In the same month, CardSystems Solutions Inc. confirmed it suffered a ‘security incident’ in which an ‘unauthorized individual’ infiltrated the computer network and may have stolen up to 40 million credit card numbers.  40

Each of these descriptions bears witness to the growing actions of identity theft not only toward consumers, or individuals, but also to large corporations and their customers.

Although identity theft is a growing concern it remains the act of federal laws but even more so of state laws that deter such a crime.  New legislation has been put into place in different states such as North Dakota and California that ‘forces companies to reveal unauthorized access to information that is commonly found in phone books’ (41).  In California a more strict state law states that civil lawsuits to further deter identity thieves and punish existing thieves.  There is also a law in effect for Arkansas, Georgia, Montana, North Dakota, and Washington that would require that state agencies and businesses inform residents if their Social Security numbers are  disclosed (41).

Lynch describes the change of the face of identity theft and the laws enacted to prevent such a crime.  The above paragraph mentions the initiative of states and governors to ensure that identity theft carries a harsh penalty but there is a contrasting point highlighted by Lynch that states  that this state-by-state approach is very slow and seemingly impossible, “…for any organization that does business in multiple states to set up different levels of security and access on a stat-by state basis” (41).  This means that companies will be forced quickly to set their own policies with the guidelines of the state in mind.

Lynch’s article gives an example of a study done by the Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) and Carnegie Mellon University Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) (published in May 2005) that gives details about insider attacks.  This survey gave attention to people who had previously been exposed to internal access to information systems and used them fraudulently.    The report however did not give a variable for the gain of money.

The study was based on behavioral and technical viewpoints.  These findings divulged that most of the identity thieves had previously been employees of the companies from which they stole (which goes back to Lynch’s original idea of thinking people within the ‘tribe’ were trustworthy, while people outside of the tribe were not trustworthy), as Lynch states, “Most involved organizations identified financial losses, negative impacts to their business operations, and damage to their reputation as results of the attacks.

The impetus for most attacks was some form of negative work-related event, the most frequently reported motive was revenge, and the attacks were clearly a planned activity” (42-43).  The identity thieves did not follow any profile but were simply employees or former employees of the company.

In regards to these attacks Lynch lists several ways in which a company or even a person can secure themselves from identity theft.  The study conducted had employees without real technical experience gaining access to private folders and consumer identities.  Lynch suggests that a layered defense that entails policies, procedures, and technical controls for protection.  Lynch goes on to state that for IT there are specific procedures to follow to aid in preventing identity fraud which include, “Restrict remote access…Restrict system administrator…Collect information for all remote logins…Monitor failed remote logins…”(44-45).

The two main elements that a company of consumer should achieve in order to prevent such attacks include information gathering and analysis.  Although the government on the federal and state level are making new legislations as to how to deal with identity fraud security on one’s own computer is a good way to prevent the attempt of identity theft, as Lynch emphasizes, “…the first step toward this is understanding and acknowledging that we are all subject to the ‘trusted tribe’ mentality and that it is creating blind spots in our planning and implementation” (46).  Thus, the ability to trust people, even those of the ‘tribe’ can be a misleading step in securing protection against identity fraud.

Five people were surveyed for this research paper.  They were asked qualitative questions with a few quantitative questions in order to provide statistics as to the percentage of consumers who had been victims of identity theft.  The demographic for this research was based on male students ages 18-24 who either had or had not been victims of this crime.  Their previous history with identity theft was given as well as their personal thoughts on how to counter identity theft.  Here is a list of the questions the subjects were given to qualitatively answer: Have you ever been the victim of identity theft?

Do you know someone who has been a victim of identity theft?  How were you or the person you knew victims of identity theft?  Was the person who committed this crime against you someone you knew?  What precautions do you take to ensure your identity is not stolen?  Do you always take precautions of this kind?  Do you think identity theft is a problem in the Unites States?  Do you think identity theft is a problem on a global scale?

Of the five people given this survey three of them had been victims of identity theft.  The ways in which the three people had been victims of identity theft all included stolen credit cards (or in one person’s case, they had become a victim by someone else signing up for the credit card they had thrown away in a public trash can).  In each of these three cases the victims were not in relation or did not know the person who stole their identity.

One of the other males surveyed had a relative who had been the victim of identity theft.  His aunt had thrown away credit card acceptance letters and her daughter signed up for the card and charged $5,000 to the card within a month.  The other male surveyed was not a victim of identity theft nor knew of anyone who had been a victim of such a crime.

Each respondent knew the ways in which they could secure their identity, especially the three who had already been victims, one of which states, “A lesson I only needed to learn once”.  Asked how they security methods for ensuring identity theft did occur they listed a tv commercial as to the main reason they knew how to handle their own trash and how to behave in public so that personal information was not divulged to strangers (each surveyed male listed the McGruff, Bite Out of Crime commercials as their main source of knowledge on identity theft and ways in which to prevent it).

The one surveyed male said that he always took precautions to ensure that his identity was not stolen; asked what these precautions were he said he owned a paper shredder and never took his garbage out at night but always during the morning right before the trash person was due to arrive.  This surveyed male later told the researchers that he was studying to be a cop and so knew how to properly handle himself in the area of identity theft. The other males listed that they tore up credit card statements after receiving them.  The surveyed male’s aunt who had her daughter steal from her now throws her statements in the fire place (they live in the Northern Territory and so their fireplace is on most of the time).

The overall consensus to the question of identity theft being a problem in America all of the males surveyed answered positively.  Asked whether or not they thought identity theft was a problem globally only two answered yes (the male with the relative and the male who was studying to be a police officer).  The rest of the answers for identity theft being a problem globally was answered negatively.

While there is no single answer to identity theft, the Federal Trade Commission, the police and also the credit card company itself may be allies to avoid this potential pitfall.  A consumer has the responsibility to report fraudulent charges on their billing statement to ensure that other consumers’ identities are not stolen by the same thief.  A consumer must deter, detect and defend themselves against identity theft by all means stated in the above paper.


Arar, Yardena.  (December 2006).  Protect Yourself Against Credit Fraud.  PC World.

Vol. 24, Issue 12.  pp. 47-52

Lynch, David, M.  (November 2006).  Securing Against Insider Attacks.  Information Systems Security.  Vol. 15 Issue 5, p39-47.

Annotated Bibliography

Arar, Yardena.  (December 2006).  Protect Yourself Against Credit Fraud.  PC World.

Vol. 24, Issue 12.  pp. 47-52

This article focuses on different consumer actions that can be taken as a course of precaution against credit fraud.  Such items as virtual credit cards and buying through PayPal were given as well as a detailed account of securing files on a computer through encryption.

Lynch, David, M.  (November 2006).  Securing Against Insider Attacks.  Information Systems Security.  Vol. 15 Issue 5, p39-47.

This article provide psychological background to the way in which consumers and companies perceive identity attacks which is dichotomized into the trust tribe, people within the company or in close relation to the consumer and the untrusted tribe, people outside of the company or strangers.  The article also provided a brief study that highlights the demographic of identity thieves and the impetus for their actions.

Free Essays

Assimilation or Retaining Ethnic Identity

Assimilation or Retaining Ethnic Identity America was founded by a group of diverse immigrants. All immigrants are coming from different parts of the world such as Asia, Europe, Africa and Mexico and so on. Therefore, each person has his or her own culture, religion and beliefs. Most of the people who are immigrants are non-English speaking and face struggles and numerous challenges to assimilate into American society. Millions of people have been discriminated due to skin color, religions, and beliefs, so it means that people face struggles with assimilation and acculturation.

One sure thing is people must understand others cultures when they fall in love with different races, or when they go to school at different countries. However, most of the people are not assimilating for their religion, and they are proud of being what they are. Love is blind. Love is the result of appreciating another’s goodness. So it is wonderful when people fall in love with each other. Love comes from emotion, so nobody can limit that one has to fall in love within the same race, especially in the United States where many different races are living together in the same land.

That is why it is not an odd thing that white men fall in love with Asian girls or black men fall in love with white girls. But if one falls in love with someone from another race he or she will have to learn and understand his or her culture to build a long term relationship. On December 25th 2005, Junot Diaz published in the New Yorker about “How to Date a Brown girl, Black girl, White girl or Halfie”. Many people like to read this, and most of the readers commented that it provided really useful tips for the first date with different race girls.

Before dating, the speaker Junot Diaz gives advice to the readers: “Clear the government cheese from the refrigerator”. Moreover, the speaker said “If she’s a white girl you know you’ll at least get a hand job. ” If a man dated the white girl, he could involve sexual activities. He needs to find out what she wants to do after dinner and spends the rest of evening as she likes. According to the Junot Diaz “If she’s a halfie don’t be surprised that her mother is white. ” The girl’s mother will be white or black or Asian, but he shouldn’t show the emotions of shocked and should say “Hi” to her mother friendly and smoothly.

If he doesn’t prepare well to find what she likes or what her culture, he might get broken-heart. Moreover, he will not get a happy relationship. Some people may argue that a good relationship is only based on the personality instead of his or her culture and history, and they don’t need to assimilate others. For example, a white guy’s date with Asian girl may involve sexual activities for the first date. As a result, she may be think he is a ridiculous and rude person, and she won’t meet again because Asian girl hardly ever involve sexual activities before she gets married.

Assimilation and acculturation are needed in some situations. According to the Migration World Magazine “Non-English speaking immigrants grew quickly in numbers”. Most of the immigrants from Southern, and Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa don’t know the English language well. They are struggling with learning English because it takes them a little bit long to speak frequently. In Latino Issue conservative blog, Josue Sierra discussed about getting good English speaking skills is essential for immigrants in education, jobs opportunities, and preventing crime.

The speaker says “If immigrants don’t speak English, chances are they won’t get very far from a low-level laborer positions”. Some immigrants are already graduated and have a higher education in their country, but they only get lower job positions in the United States because they can’t speak English well. The speaker also mentions “An immigrant who has learned English can also look forward to better paying work in their home country”. It means that the immigrants who want to go back home have a benefit by learning English. They can get a better salary than any other in their home country by knowing English well.

Some students find difficulties in college because teaching styles are different from their home town and self-study is essential for all students in the United States. For example, Burma which is situated in South East Asia, students are not allowed to argue with the teachers’ ideas. Arguing with teachers is rude and asking questions means students don’t understand the lessons. Moreover, teachers assume asking questions to them means they are not good at teaching, and it insults them. So most of the children are afraid to ask question even they don’t understand. These habits are hard to vanish when they are studying in the United States.

That’s why most Asian students are quiet in the class. Moreover, they have to study detail in text books and are not allowed to use their own idea. Next, “An immigrant that doesn’t speak English will be more hesitant to contact authorities when they are victimized, out of fear of not being understood”. Some of the international high school students have been bullied by English speakers. But they dare not to talk about it to their parents or teachers because they are afraid they can’t explain well. Sometimes, some non-English speaking girls get robbed, but they don’t dare talk to the police.

Above these reasons, it is better for immigrants to forget their own origins and try to assimilate the new language. Most immigrants can assimilate living style, wearing style and some cultures in a short time, but they hard to try to assimilate another religion. In the United States, Christian is 78. 4% including Protestant and Catholic; other religions are 4. 7% such as Jewish (1. 7%), Buddhist (0. 7 %), Muslim (0. 6 %), Hindu (0. 4 %), Unaffiliated (16. 1%), Humanism (0. 8%) according to U. S Religious Landscape Survey. A Muslim guy could marry with the Christian girl, even though; the girl or the guy hard to change their religion status.

Most of the children who were born to two different religions parents become Humanism. The United States is a democratic country and has freedom of religion and beliefs without government influence or interference. Even though, the country still has problems related to the religious beliefs. For example, in the abortion case, some Catholics don’t agree to destroy the pro-life as “Don’t kill Jesus’s children” because they assume that people is created by Jesus. For humanism and unaffiliated, they may think this abortion cases are the human right to destroy or not. People dare to die for their religions or their beliefs.

So many religion wars have occurred in the world. Another example of religious attack happened on September 11 in New York. Many people’s life lost and the rest of the families felt pain and suffer about this attack. Actually “Religion is not a way to pigeonhole someone,” Professor of Religion Bruce Lawrence said. “You can be very Muslim, but also be very American because you appreciate the freedom and opportunity of the country. Loyalty to one’s own background is an important part of being American. ” Conflict over Muslim immigrants occurs not only in the United States but also in Europe.

For example, in France, Muslims girls are banned by wearing chadors (head scarves) by French president. Moreover, in German schools, Muslims girls are asking to take the class of physical education class such as swimming or gym. According to Marion Berning, director of the Rixdorfer primary school in Berlin, Germany, “We have Muslim girls who say they don’t want to swim with the boys. It’s obvious the parents exert pressure on them, but [the parents] have to accept that coeducation is part of German schools. ” These kind of small conflicts lead to ethnic disunity and hostile communities in Europe.

In contrast to the European conception, assimilation in the United States “has always been much more flexible and accommodating and, consequently, much more effective in achieving its purpose,” according to Peter D. Salins, author of Assimilation, American Style. Different immigrants have different ideas of assimilation into American culture. People may get many new experiences and new ideas by assimilating, especially building good relationships and friendships. However, assimilating also has a drawback such as losing one’s own culture and traditions.

So immigrants should decide themselves what American cultures support them to have a better life if they assimilate. If they can have a better life due to assimilating into other cultures, they should go for it. Simultaneously, they should keep some value about their own cultures to say what they are. Works Cited G. McDonald , Hellen and R. Balgopal, Pallassana. “Conflicts of American immigrants: Assimilate or Retain Ethnic Identiy. ” Migration World Magazine. May-June 1998. Web. 9 November 2012. “Introduction to Immigration: Current Controversies. ” Immigration. Ed.

Louise I. Gerdes. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2005. Current Controversies. Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 10 Nov. 2012. Junot , Diaz. “How To Date A Brown Girl ( black girl, white girl, or halfie),” The New Yorker, 25 December 1995. Web. 10 November 2012. Sierra , Jouse. “The Important of English for Immigrants. ” Latino Issues, A Conservative Blog. 8 April 2007. Web. 9 November. 2012. “U. S Religious Landscape Survey. ” The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. 1615 L Street, NW Suite 700 Washington, DC 20036-50610, n. d . Web. 9 Novemeber. 2012.

Free Essays

Gender Identity Disorder

Gender Identity Disorder/Gender Dysphoria Gender identity disorder (GID) or transsexualism is defined by strong, persistent feelings of identification with the opposite gender and discomfort with one’s own assigned sex. (“Psychology Today”) Due to a recent change to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM, “Gender Identity Disorder” will be replaced with “Gender Dysphoria”. For the purpose of this paper those two terms will be interchangeable.

This paper will explore the symptoms that lead to a gender identity disorder diagnosis as well as the treatment process and obstacles a person with this disorder may face. It is a difficult process and is not something somebody would endure unless they truly believed they were meant to be the opposite sex. Symptoms of a person with gender dysphoria can vary from person to person but there is certain criterion that must be met in order to obtain that diagnosis from a licensed professional.

Some of the criteria in children includes; Repeated expressed desire to be the opposite sex or that they are the opposite sex, discomfort and/or disgust of own gentiles, cross-dressing for boys or masculine attire for girls, prolonged preference for cross-sex roles in play and games or fantasies of being the opposite sex, desire to only have friends of the opposite sex and belief they will grow up to be the opposite sex. The symptoms for an adult with gender dysphoria is somewhat different because they are of age and able to effectively communicate thoughts and desires.

Some of these symptoms include persistent discomfort with current sex, stated desire to be the opposite sex, frequent attempts to pass as the opposite sex, desire to get rid of gentiles, social isolation, depression and anxiety. The only way for a proper diagnosis is to be evaluated by a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in gender identity issues. Once a diagnosis is reached what is treatment like? Treatment includes counseling, group and individual, hormone therapy, and if chosen, gender reassignment surgery. Individual, group, family, and couples counseling can ll be necessary to help not only the GID patient cope and come to terms with the person they feel they were always meant to be. There is also a network of people that surround that person that will also be affected by this diagnosis and decision. Individual therapy is suggested for the person who is gender dysphoric and mandatory if they want to take further steps in treatment (hormone therapy, reassignment surgery). Group counseling has also been found to be of great benefit. It gives the GID patient the ability to explore the diagnosis in a safe environment with peer’s similar situations.

Family counseling for family members that are involved in that person’s life, and if in a relationship couples counseling could also be a useful tool. Hormone treatment is used to enable a safe gender transition, both physical and emotional. It is usually part of a multi-stage process that can also include Real Life Experience (cross dressing), hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery. But it must be noted that some individuals opt to stop with hormone therapy and not go on to change their anatomy permanently.

Hormone therapy is when sex hormones are administered to bring out secondary sexual characteristics. For example a male who desired to be female would be administered estrogen and a female who desired to be male would be administered testosterone to enhance sexual characteristics of the opposite sex Sex reassignment surgery, gender reassignment surgery is a procedure that changes a person’s external genital organs from those of one gender to those of the other. (Frey, 2006) A person must be deemed a transsexual with gender dysphoria before reassignment surgery is even considered.

A transsexual is a person with gender identity disorder who has overwhelming desire to change anatomic sex. (Ford-Martin, 2011) Other criteria may include recommendation by 2 mental health specialists trained in gender identity issues or sometimes a team of specialists, undergone hormone therapy successfully for at least one year, living “real life”/ cross-dressing for a minimum of a year, deemed emotionally stable and medically healthy or at least existing conditions being treated and controlled. Whatever treatment is chosen is just the beginning of the journey.

There are many ramifications a person with gender dysphoria faces; psychological, social, and religious. According to local psychologist Dr. Gerald Ramsey, Ph. D. in his book “Trans-Sexuals Candid Answers To Private Questions” he states “Transsexuals from some religious backgrounds have grown up with the admonition that homosexuality is a mortal sin, punishable by fire and brimstone. These individuals believe they are putting at risk the future of their souls – facing not just the loss of family and friends, but the ultimate judgment of God, which may include spiritual annihilation.

To confront, explore and challenge such beliefs takes incredible personal energy and faith. ” (Ramsey, 1996) As you can see a diagnosis of gender dysphoria affects all aspects of life from potential loss of friends and family to learning to interact and live as the “real you”. In this paper we discussed the symptoms of a person with gender identity disorder or gender dysphoria. We also went through the different courses of treatment related to this disorder as well as the potential obstacles encountered.

The process is life changing and isn’t something taken lightly. Bibliography Gender identity, disorder diagnosis dictionary. (2005, 10 24). Retrieved from http://www. psychologytoday. com/conditions/gender-identity-disorder Frey, R. (2006). J. Polsdorfer (Ed. ), Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine (3rd ed. ). Ford-Martin, P. (2011). L. Fundukian (Ed. ), Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine (4th ed. , Vol. 3). Ramsey, G. (1996). Tras-sexuals- candid answers to private questions. (p. 80). Freedom, CA: Crossing Press.

Free Essays

Adoption and Identity Formation

Adoption has many effects on families; identity formation is one the most important stages that a child has to form during the ages of adolescence. It is a lifelong process but it is mainly formed between the ages of 13 to 18. Forming an identity can be very difficult for an adopted child because leaving all the struggles that they will be already facing, the formation of identity will add another conflict in their lives. Parents can help adopted children by establishing a sense of identity and by exposing them to cultural background.

If a child has issues or problems when forming their identity, than they might end up being in identity confusion. In this research, the main question that is going to be answered is; “How des Adoption Affect Identity Formation in a Negative way? The adoptive parents do not usually think of identity formation of the adopted child, they try to make their kids get assimilated into the new environment and encourage them to totally forget about their past which disables them to answer the question; “Who am I”.

It is also a fact that the usage of drug and alcohol are seen very often on adopted adolescents. The focus in this literature review is going to be on the adopted adolescents and their process of identity formation. The main methods that will be implemented in this research will be conducting interviews, collecting surveys and making group observations. There will be many limitations while conducting my research. First of all, a detailed study cannot be done due to the shortage of time.

There are also not much quantitative research groups and the participants are very limited. Solutions to these limitations could be getting started as soon as possible to not be worried about the limitation of time. Finding enough participants to complete my survey would also be helpful. Interviews are also a huge contribution and even though the sample groups are limited, there will be enough participants that are going to be taken into consideration.

Free Essays

Media Influence and Ethnic Identity

This paper gives a critical review of the literature on media depictions of minorities in Canada. I propose that the research tends to center on tabularize the under-representation and misrepresentation of ethnic minorities.

Media Influence and Ethnic Identity

The depiction of ethnic minorities in Canadian media serves to play an alarming part in determining the structure of Canadian minority identities. Researchers have insisted that it is imperative to research media-minority relations because the media play a crucial part in the creation of social identities (Henry). The media gives a vital source of data through which people gain information about their country, and our approaches and viewpoints are formed by what the media distinguishes as public information. The media is directly accountable for how Canada, in all its multiplicity, is interpreted among its people. Simply put, the media is accountable for the ways that Canadian society is interpreted, considered, and assessed among its habitants.

The media influences attitudes in Canada by siphoning and selecting the data we receive to make choices about our day-to-day realities. Though, this selection procedure is governed by a series of vitals. Media images of Canadian ethnic minorities are not just a random panoply of depictions. Verdicts about depictions of cultural multiplicity must be envisaged within a series of opposing discourses taking place within media institutions. In spite of what we would like to consider, Canadian media is not just and democratic, nor objective in nature (Hackett, Gruneau, Gutstein, Gibson and NewsWatch).

Ethnic Minority groups are regularly disqualified and marginalized, and the leading culture is reinforced as the custom. As researchers have established (Fleras and Kunz; Henry) the media push certain traits, most often negative, about ethnic minorities into the limelight, at the same time as others are downplayed or totally absent from depictions. How does this influence identity creation among ethnic Minority groups?

Negative depictions of ethnic minorities teach ethnic minorities in Canada that they are hostile, abnormal, and inappropriate to country-building.

Canadian media persist to transmit negative and conventional images that only serve to degrade ethnic Minority Canadians. In other words, ethnic minorities do not see themselves precisely mirrored in Canadian media, and that marginalization effects feelings of segregation.

In Canada, questions adjoining the association between identity development among ethnic minorities and media are mainly weighed down because of multicultural policy. It has been recommended that in countries where official multiculturalism is legislated, multifaceted forms of racial discrimination can materialize through a variety of media depictions of ethnic minorities (Dunn and Mahtani, 163-171).

Ethnic Minority Depiction: Under-representation And Mis-representation

Since its beginning in the late 1960s to the 1980s, research on media-ethnic minority relationships was largely distant with probing the two main ways in which ethnic minorities are problematically treated in media accounts. First is the under-representation (or absence) of ethnic minorities. The second refers to the misrepresentation (or negative depiction) of ethnic minorities

A) Under-representation

The under-representation of a variety of cultural groups in Canadian media has been evocative of their insignificance or their nothingness. Most of the early research on ethnic depiction was concerned with inducting their nonexistence in the media sequentially to exhibit this argue. Different researchers have found that regardless of the culturally miscellaneous nature of Canadian society, that very multiplicity is frequently missing from media depictions (Fleras and Kunz 2001; Fleras 267-292).

As Fleras (1995) spots out, the lack of ethnic minorities in the Canadian media is the law, rather than the exemption. In Canada, interracial relationships in spectacular series are rare. This efficiently reveals that the media is not exactly providing a mirror in which ethnic minority Canadians can see themselves — and their dating models — mirrored.

In a study of ethnic minorities’ depiction in Canadian amusement programs, MediaWatch scrutinized eight made-in-Canada dramatic series and exposed that only 4 percent of the female characters and 12 percent of the male characters were from diverse ethnic or racial locale (MediaWatch). This exposes that ethnic minorities (and in particular ethnic minority women) are relentlessly underrepresented in equally dramatic series and in news. Miller and Prince (1994) gave a comparable assessment from a news point of view by looking at the photos and news stories printed in six foremost Canadian newspapers. They concluded that out of the 2,141 photos printed, ethnic minorities were presented in only 420 images.

Media researchers have specified that the impact of ethnic Minority eccentricity in the media merely serves to more embed the invisibility of ethnic minorities in the general public (Fleras 1995). Ethnic minorities in Canada do not see themselves mirrored in the media, and this effects feelings of refusal, belittles their assistance, and lessens their part as people in their nations (Jiwani 1995). For example, in their paper “Media (Mis)Depictions: Muslim Women in the Canadian Country,” Bullock and Jafri give extracts from their focus groups where Muslim women met to talk about the representation of Muslim women in the media. (35-40)

B) Mis-representation

A helpful result of these before time studies was that it gave a momentum for media researchers to examine how the media portrays ethnic minorities when they are actually represented. Researchers have recommended that the depiction of non-prevailing cultures normally prolonged in recent decades (Fleras 1995). One of the means in which Eurocentric domination is maintained is by restraining the kinds of depictions of ethnic minorities in the media to unconstructive or striking stereotypes.

Ethnic minorities have persisted that media images of their elements disclose a remorseless pessimism in their description. Media researchers have pointed to the negative depictions of ethnic minorities in a variety of studies. In studies emerging in the 1970s, researchers in Canada have time after time pointed out that the media “rot … on race-specific and culture cognizant characterizations of people”.

Canadian media keep it up to rely on both negative and conservative depictions of ethnic minorities (Roth 1996; MediaWatch 1994; Fleras 1994; Zolf 13-26). Fleras (1994) has explained how ethnic minority images in Canadian media are constantly conservative ones, “steeped in groundless simplifications that swerve towards the comical or bizarre” (Fleras 1994:273), where the examples of ethnic minorities as “social problems” are regularly employed: namely, as pimps, high-school dropouts, homeless teens, or drug pushers in Canadian dramatic series.

Fleras argues a modicum of media depictions of First Nations people, counting “the noble savage,” “the savage Indian,” “blood-thirsty barbarians,” and “the drunken Native,” among other damaging stereotypes (Fleras 1994; see also Fleras and Kunz 2001).

In television and newsprint and political cartoons, media’s fighters were altered primitives, colossal depictions of Indian activists” (Valaskakis 224-234). Gender is a relatively unfamiliar feature of studies about ethnic Minority depiction, as Jiwani (1995) has designated.

Several actors and news anchors have spoken out candidly about their apprehensions about ethnic falsification in the media. Rita Deverell, senior producer of Vision TV, has expressed her views about the awkward interpretation of ethnic minorities in television. Deverell has pointed out that, compared to American images, “we have very few negative, wicked depictions of women of color.

Undoubtedly, many researchers be in agreement that in typical media in Canada, ethnic minorities are offered as intimidation, with explicit positionings of “us” and “them” in which the former is an understood mainstream audience, and the latter is the ethnic minority (Fleras and Kunz 2001). This occurrence is unhappily not restricted to television dramas — it happens in newspapers and television news too. In a study of ethnic minorities and First Nations peoples’ depiction in two major Winnipeg papers, a report conducted by the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg (1996) found that ethnic minorities are often shorn of admittance to the media and quote the problematical reportage of ethnicity when it is inappropriate to the event or incident.

Tator (1995) has established that ethnic minorities are continuously being “singled out” and identified as the cause of a “social problem” in media depictions. Using the example of the “Writing Through Race” Conference held in Vancouver of 1994, she explains that the media continually misrepresents and distorts issues of importance to ethnic minorities.

A few of the most inquisitive work on the continuation of typecasts has discovered the ways ethnic minorities have been normalized in Canadian news reports. Numerous government reports furnished through official multiculturalism have scrutinized the reporting of variety in the media, closing that stereotypes and negative images flourish (see Karim 1995). Ducharme (1986, 6-11) scrutinized national newspaper reporting of the Canadian immigration policy for a five-year period.

Through the early 1990s, researchers gave a helpful Canadian equivalent to U.S. studies that were worried with anti-Islamic images reproducing in American news. Support groups have also added toward this discussion — a working example includes the report created by the Afghan Women’s Organization, which appraises research, local activism, and community viewpoints on the portrayal of Muslim women in Canadian media.

Supported on a six-month assessment of coverage of numerous Canadian newspapers, the MediaWatch Group of the Canadian Islamic Congress carried out a study of anti-Islamic media exposure, advocating results to the media industry (Canadian Islamic Congress 1998, 51).

Henry et al. (1995) propose that this type of racism remains acutely surrounded within media institutions, where structuralist racism still permeates depictions, and regular patterns of under- and misrepresentation continue to strengthen uneven power relations.

The tapered range of images of ethnic minorities has successfully reduced the aptitude of ethnic minorities to be distinguished as optimistic providers to Canadian society. Media researchers have pointed out that these unconstructive stereotypes are reason for concern because it creates a divide between ethnic minorities and so-called “real” Canadians — visible ethnic Minority Canadians are seen as “others” or “foreigners” who potentially have the power to threaten the country (Fleras 1995). The reinforcement of negative stereotypes ethnically pathologizes ethnic minorities, advancing racial divides.

…Through examining the depictions of people of color in the media … [it seems clear that the] dominant culture continues to establish its power and protect its supremacy by inculcating negative and conservative images of ethnic minorities … generating a indistinct awareness on the part of the conventional of ethnic minorities. (Henry, 1999:135-136)


This paper maintains that the ways the media expose and account on ethnic minority groups in Canada very much affects the ways the public distinguishes ethnic Minority groups in Canadian society. Wide-ranging research crossways disciplines show that ethnic minorities are frequently typecasted in mass media. Media images can promote manners of acceptance and agreement or of fear and pessimism. When media representations fail to represent Canada’s ethnic minorities with compassion, the entire country undergoes the consequences.

Media workers require believing and creating substitute depictions of ethnic minorities and it may well be our duty to build up coalitions with them to give confidence other sorts of images.

Works Cited

Bullock, K., and G. Jafri. 2001. “Media (Mis)Depictions: Muslim Women in the Canadian Country.” Canadian Woman Studies 20 (2): 35-40

Ducharme, M. 1986. “The Coverage of Canadian Immigration Policy in the Globe and Mail (1980-1985).” Currents Spring: 6-11

Dunn, K., and M. Mahtani. 2001. “Media Depiction of Ethnic minorities.” In Progress and Planning 55 (3): 163-171. For a web version see

Fleras, A. 1995. “Please Adjust Your Set: Media and Ethnic minorities in a Multicultural Society.” Communications in Canadian Society, 4th Edition. Toronto: Nelson Canada

Fleras, A., and J. Kunz. 2001. Media and Ethnic minorities: Representing Multiplicity in a Multicultural Canada. Toronto: Thompson Educational Publishing, Inc.

Fleras, A.1994. “Media and Ethnic minorities in a Post-Multicultural Society: Overview and Appraisal.” in Ethnicity and Culture in Canada: The Research Landscape, edited by J. W. Berry and J. A. LaPonce, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 267-292

Hackett, R., R. Gruneau, D. Gutstein, T. Gibson, and NewsWatch. 2001. The Missing News: Filters and Blind Spots in Canada’s Press. Aurora: Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives/Garamond Press

Henry, F. 1999. The Racialization of Crime in Toronto’s Print Media: A Research Project. Toronto: School of Journalism, Ryerson Polytechnic University

Jiwani, Y. 1995. “The Media, ‘Race’ and Multiculturalism.” A Presentation to the BC Advisory Council on Multiculturalism. March 17. See web site:

Karim, K. 1995. Women, Ethnicity and the Media. SRA Reports. Ottawa: Canadian Heritage

MediaWatch. 1994. “Front and Center: Ethnic Minority Depiction on Television.” Media Watch Research Series, Volume 1. Toronto: MediaWatch

Miller J. and K. Prince. 1994. “The Imperfect Mirror: Analysis of Ethnic Minority Pictures and News in Six Canadian Newspapers.” A Report available from the Authors, Toronto: The School of Journalism, Ryerson Polytechnic University

Roth, L. 1996. “Cultural and Racial Multiplicity in Canadian Transmit Journalism.” In Deadlines and Multiplicity: Journalism Ethnics in a Changing World, edited by Valerie Alia, Brian Brennan, and Barry Hoffmaster. Halifax: Fernwood

Social Planning Council of Winnipeg. 1996. Media Watch: A Study of How Visible Ethnic minorities and Aboriginal Peoples are Portrayed in Winnipeg’s Two Major Newspapers Winnipeg: Social Planning Council of Winnipeg. March

Tator, C. 1995. “Taking a Stand against Racism in the Media,” Text of a speech at “Racism in the Media: A Conference Sponsored by the Community Reference Group on Ethno-Racial and Aboriginal Access to Metro Toronto Services,” October

Valaskakis, G. 1993. “Guest Editor’s Introduction: Parallel Voices: Indians and Others — Narratives of Cultural Struggle.” Canadian Journal of Communication 18 (3): 224-234

Zolf, D. 1989. “Comparisons of Multicultural Transmiting in Canada and Four Other Countries.” Canadian Ethnic Studies/Études ethniques au Canada 21 (??): 13-26

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Harry Houdini’s Affect on the American Identity

Breaking bonds in mid-air, slipping chains with a smile: Harry Houdini’s greatest talent was not in performing illusions, but making any obstacle seem irrelevant (Rothstein). Life in the early 1900s was depressing and filled with extremely strenuous work. While watching Houdini, fans throughout America and Europe were dazzled by his escapism and were given a sense of hope as a result of his exploits. Nothing on Earth could hold Houdini a prisoner; every illusion achieved the impossible.

To immigrants, he was an example of the freedom that came with the American dream. The magical achievements of Harry Houdini evoked a sense of limitless power and imagination that helped to inflate a belief in a limitless America. There are certain arguments, however, that must be considered when examining Houdini’s contributions to the American identity. Like all illusionists, Houdini made the impossible appear to be not only possible, but easy to accomplish. As a result, many children attempted to emulate his intricate escapes, ending up injured or worse.

In addition, those who believed in a limitless sense of the possible, using Houdini’s magic as a symbol for freedom from boundaries, were disappointed by the realization that the American dream was not easily attained. Contrary to this speculation, Houdini’s contributions to the American identity were overall positive because he gave hope for a new life. Even to this day his name is known for magic and inspiration. Harry Houdini was born in the late 1800s with the birth name of Ehrich Weisz. The early twentieth century marked an era of both beginnings and endings.

Americans of this time period had yet to make their mark in the world, and were very impressionable. Life for children of the early 1900s was work and school, so when they heard about the magic man, and saw Houdini, they gained a sense of imagination that had been deprived of them. Fans saw new possibilities once Harry Houdini came into the picture; innovations in the arts and entertainment gave a strong sense of national pride among the population as a whole. Houdini demonstrated the power to overcome bondage, to dissolve material obstacles, to confound expectations.

The yearning that magic awakened in audiences was no less vital in himself. Even today’s most amazing magicians, like David Blaine, are still inspired by Harry Houdini. Blaine is the Harry Houdini of the current generation and as Blaine watched a video of Houdini performing an illusion he said “It’s almost beautiful — the beautiful struggle. ” (Barron). Today, Houdini’s legacy lives on and hardly any magicians today do not owe Harry Houdini a debt. Houdini elevated the magic arts to a phenomenon and invented an entirely new category of magic: the escape act. And as a result, Harry Houdini’s name is synonymous with escapes.

His ability to get out of seemingly impossible situations made him a legend in his own time. Impossible illusions shocked crowds, the most famous being eating needles, being buried alive, escaping from a torture cell, and dangling upside-down trapped in a straight jacket. All his escape illusions made people believe that nothing could hold them back; they were free and realized it was possible to “escape” from any trouble with which they were faced (Magical History). ”Nothing on Earth can hold Houdini a prisoner” read a sign from 1906, and by 1917, America seemed prepared to believe it.

Houdini was publicly proclaiming the possibility of liberation. Was this, as the exhibition points out, the immigrant’s fantasy as well? It must have been thrilling to watch an enactment of such transcendence, and not just of social obstacles, of course, but of spiritual ones, as well. The poor and the downtrodden embodied his acts with a kind of reverence. Even death is overcome by Houdini’s powers” (Rothstein). According to one of Houdini’s reviewers, immigrants in the early 1900s came to America and saw Harry Houdini as an example of the American dream and then molded their view of what it means to be American to the magic of Houdini.

The American dream includes a promise of the possibility of prosperity and success and it is implied that freedom is the key to that success. Harry Houdini’s death-defying escapes during his life time fascinated audiences, particularly the many European immigrants. He inspired his audiences primarily because he was, at one time, a struggling immigrant himself. To them, he was the embodiment of the American dream. Immigrants watched Houdini and felt confident in making individual choices without the prior restrictions that limit people according to their class, caste, religion, race, or ethnicity.

By doing things that were seen by all as impossible, Houdini gave people a feeling of invincibility contributed to the American identity. Although Harry Houdini’s achievements occurred in the past, his legend lives on more than 80 years after his death. Still considered the greatest and most well known magician of all time, Houdini’s legacy for magic, performance and dramatics endures. After witnessing his amazing illusions, people’s imaginations soared and they saw limitless possibilities in the United States that molded the American identity.

During Houdini’s lifetime, he put a face to the idea of freedom and even today, if asked what it means to be an American, the word freedom will always be discussed. And since then, the feelings of freedom and possibility have been passed down through the generations and directly affect the nation and what it means to be an American. If men like Harry Houdini had not existed, then hope for a new life might have remained a dream for many. Houdini and his illusions became an icon for hope, and his legacy has remained an important thread in the tapestry of the American identity.

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Malcolm X : Identity Formation

Multicultural Issues Identity Formation: Malcolm X Everyday African-Americans go through identity formation. Identity formation is the development of the distinct personality of an individual regarded as a persisting entity. While watching the movie, Malcolm X, starring Denzel Washington as Malcolm, he shows many stages of identity formation. His whole life, he went by taking chances. The choices and decisions he made either ended good of ended bad. By the end of the movie, it ended in a tragic massacre that sadly ended his life. Throughout the movie, they jumped around about his life.

They showed flashbacks of his childhood and continued from on through his life. I’m going to begin with his life transformation. As a child, he was faced with bad racism. His family would be tortured by the KKK (Ku Klux Klan). His father did everything he could do to protect his family. The KKK (Ku Klux Klan) killed his father after all the torturing. Malcolm and his siblings were taking away. Malcolm was sent to an Orphanage where in school he was the only African-American (black) student in his class. His teacher even told him he couldn’t become a lawyer. He should consider becoming a carpenter.

Malcolm was faced with man racist comments. Later on in his life he lived the life of a “street hustler. ” He went to prison and that completely transformed him. We must transform ourselves, as a people, as a condition for securing our freedom from oppression. This was the beginning of his phase of identity transformation, Who are you? The question Malcolm stressed. The first time Malcolm was asked that he said Malcolm Little. He was told that’s the white’s man name for you, now who are you? He didn’t have an answer. He had to find his self. Then he gave his self the name Malcolm X.

The “X” representing the unknown name of his African ancestors and their culture that had been lost during slavery, discovering all of this after six years in prison, after being convicted of robbery and sleeping with white women. This identity transformation was also spiritual and intellectual transformation. He undertook a rigorous process of self-education. He was all about Black Power and the Power of the Great and Almighty Allah. This was a form of his identity transformation One aspect of the African-American life in society today, as well as in the movie, is the role and identity of women.

The women serve as the backbone of the family that prays and request that God would watch over and protect the family. The focus of my writing is geared towards discussing the woman’s identity development in the African-American culture and the world at large. Research express that in order to be able to understand what the significance of identity development in African-American women consists of, it is important to get the picture of the racial undertones in society. Throughout our country’s history, African-American women have been subjected to digesting negative stereotypes about themselves in comparison with their Caucasian counterparts.

The belief behind this statement is that Caucasian females were closely associated with having more positive qualities than African-American women. As a result, a sense of shame has been connected with the concentrated effort to explain what it means to be an African-American that leads to an existence of racial consciousness in the minds of everyone within the culture. Moreover the conversation continues by stating that research that focuses on identity development in African-American women includes the suggestion of oppression and the requirement for self-determination and/or strength through resilience.

In order for African-American women to move towards self-determination through resilience, they have to acknowledge both the commonness and the actuality of racism and sexism in today’s society. These “isms” impact the everyday lives and experiences that they have and will encounter at school, at work, and in places where they may receive any form of public assistance. An author named Black talk about faith in God as foundational in a woman’s life toward the development of a sense of identity and value as the women eal with the trials and tribulations that she faces. The use of faith helps her to keep perspective on God as a loving, caring person as she learns to redefine what adversity looks like. Another writer named Mattis says the study’s focus on African-American women is intentional because they weave together culture and spirituality as part of how they identify themselves . Moreover, Black comments that an African-American woman’s faith and how she interacts with God is effective because there are two key components to their relationship: reciprocity and familiarity.

These two characteristics work together as a way to help African-American women deal with their struggles because: a) their self-worth is rooted in the fact that God loves them and b) no matter what they face in this life God has a plan to reward them now and forevermore. Just like any other family, we you grow up, you go through a reaching transformation. As I stated before, in African-American families religion is an important factor to their culture. Just like in the movie and in Malcolm’s real life, he became educated and went around the world teaching.

He taught was it means t be black, what it means to worship the Nation of Islam and becoming Muslim, and opened the world up to the real racism of society. When he became Muslim, he seized to live in the society of whites. He believed in going back to our roots, back home, back to our original civilization, back to West Africa, South Africa and Central Africa. These teachings cost him his life, yet his legacy live in his family and around the world of African-American and Muslims

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Language and Identity

There is no doubt that language plays a very important role in human identity, and

linguistic factors and semantics denote how exactly an individual is able to communicate using his chosen language. As a matter of fact, today social scientists are intent on analyzing linguistic data, so that they may be able to study human behavior without the accompanying attitudes that are expressed in communication and in identity. Today the approach is interactional, and this must be compared to the systematic investigation and analysis of the speech of groups of individuals that began in the early nineteenth century, at which time the interest was on the organized language of the Enlightenment period.

Take for example the studies that Jan-Petter Blom and John J Gumperz carried out on the meaning of linguistic choice and the sociolinguistic approach to a problem in language. These studies used both ethnography and linguistics, and more particularly, the values that are expressed in an individual’s speech genre, especially in relation to the self pride and identity that he reveals through his language when the occasion is an informal one. A second part of the study focused on the ‘rules of alternation’ that form a major part of the linguistic range used by a particular community.

Both Blom and Gumperz brought in the concepts of ‘setting, situation and event’, all of which are considered to be various stages one passes through while enacting personal strategies, and in this context, a differentiation is made between the concepts of ‘situational switching’ wherein alternations between different situations would signify a change in the situation, and ‘metaphorical switching’ explained by alternations that serve to enrich a particular situation, and make way to allow more than one single social relationship within the situation.

Bernstein (1961) has stated in his studies of the problems of language, society and identity that almost invariably, social relationships act as variables between linguistic structures and the manner in which they are realized when a person speaks. Upon testing the theory, it was found that the speaker’s choice of semantically, grammatically and phonologically possible alternatives in his speech showed that the speech was patterned and predictable because they seemed to be based on certain invariable features of the local social system, thereby revealing the link between language and identity.

In Hemnesberget, Norway, most residents are native speakers of the language ‘Ranamal’, a dialect of Northern Norway that corresponded to cultural divisions within the state. In Hemnesberget, a native speaker displays great pride in his dialect, especially because his speech would be taken as being an integral part of his family background, and by speaking the dialect the speaker would symbolize pride in his community, as well as reveal the distinctness and the specialty of the language and what it has contributed to society in general.

The speaker would also try his best to show off his locality in the best possible manner when he speaks. This can be taken to mean that dialect as such can constitute a distinct linguistic identity for the individual who uses it. It must be stated here that the usage of the local dialect would reflect local values. It would also signify those relationships between people that are based on a shared love and identification with the local culture. It also signifies and explains the fact that people who belong to the same community or group would automatically try to build up a sense of identification with each other through their use of language, and this would be achieved through greetings, exchanges of personal information, and even through their informal posture towards their fellows..

In this manner, the people belonging to this group would distinguish themselves from another, and in this particular example, the people of Hemnesberget stood apart from their neighboring settlement Mo I Rana in their use of the local dialect. A refusal to speak the local dialect for any reason whatsoever by the locals would be taken as a great insult and the individual would be ostracized for his action and condemned for his pursuit of a social distance from the fellow members of their community.

An experiment was conducted to test whether the assumption that one would share his local identity, by using the local dialect during conversations with his friends and neighbors belonging to the same community was correct. For this purpose, two gatherings were arranged by the locals and for the locals, and their conversations were recorded. It was found that the assumption was perfectly correct; not only did the participants perform ‘switches’ but they also showed a strong sense of self identity with the dialect that they used.

However, does this mean that only when one uses the dialect, one is considered a part of the local community? What if he had been brought up elsewhere and was not aware of the intricacies of his own local dialect? There are some of the questions that are raised during the reading of the piece.

In conclusion it can be stated that in interactional sociolinguistics, one cannot simply assume that language and society constitute two different realities, and the language that one uses is based on his self identity and self value. (Gumperz J John, Blom Jan-Petter)

Works Cited

Jumperz J John, Hymes, Dell, “The Ethnography of Communication” Directions in Sociolinguistics, February 29, 2008



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This has always been a major part of my identity

I am Korean.  This has always been a major part of my identity, even though I was born in America.  Being a member of another culture in America means that the way I have always viewed life, and success, is different than the way most Americans view it.  My mother, who was born and raised in Korea, contributed to this significantly.  She did not understand American culture, and never fully adapted to American life.  Living in a new country was confusing for her, which is why she clung so strongly to her native culture.  She passed this culture and way of thinking on to me.

My mother was a typical Korean mother – prideful, overbearing, and she always had the attitude of “I’m always right no matter what you think.”  Her attitude was maddening at times, especially when she remained completely calm despite telling me I was wrong and she was right.  However, it was this very attitude that shaped who I turned out to be, in many different ways.

Traditional Korean values and American jobs do not mix well.  It was because of my mother’s strong Korean views that she could not keep a steady job in America.  This put us at a real economic disadvantage, but my mother remained strong no matter what.  She would find another job, and continue to provide for us somehow.  Even when money was tight, she was not discouraged.  My mother remained strong and did what she had to do.

Watching her strength tore me apart sometimes.  I saw how hard she had to work, just to help us get by.  When I was 14, after having lost another job, my mother was forced to work for my aunt’s cleaning business.  She was assigned to clean a building that was within walking distance of our home, because she often had car troubles.  She made only minimum wage doing this, which I knew was not enough to support us.

I asked my aunt if I could work with my mother in order to make extra money to help with bills.  While I can’t say I was thrilled at the prospect of working at the age of 14, I knew I needed to do this.  At first, my aunt resisted letting me, and my mother wasn’t happy either.  She did not want me to work.  However, within a week, both realized how serious I was about working, and they relented.  Already I had picked up from my mother’s attitude that I needed to do what had to be done, even if I did not want to.

When we were not working, my mother and I talked sometimes.  Every chance that we had, it would always be about the same dreaded topic — my future. Being so deep inside of the grave, as I liked to call our financial situation, there was only one direction to look – up and out of the hole. I never admitted to myself that I wanted to leave her to go to college; how could I? Life was hard enough with both of us working, so it didn’t seem possible for her to do it on her own.  However, my mother had other ideas about my future.  She wanted what was best for me, and not the life that she had raised me in.

I always protested when she told me this, because I wanted to stay and help her.  But she would tell me then, in her serious, don’t-argue tone that I needed to go to college to make my life better.  Our conversations had an enormous effect on my work ethic and my sense of responsibility.  I wanted to receive my degree and help my mom so that she could retire, because she was so selfless in taking care of me, and pushing me towards a brighter future.

My mother’s quiet, hard-working attitude left a major impression on me. She taught me never to give up, to always do what is necessary, and to continually strive to do better.  I will not relent in the face of life’s struggles. I will be strong, I will work hard, and I will dream of a future that would not have been possible if it were not for my mother.

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The Molding Hand of Oppression: Forming an Identity in Persepolis

Ruby Instructor Bachman Writing Across the Arts (Porter 80A-21) 2 November 2012 (1278 words) The Molding Hand of Oppression: Forming an Identity in Persepolis Every person is unique. However, there are many similar parts that go into creating every person’s identity. Of course, there is the biology, the genetics. Then there are outside forces, the nurturing of a person. When trying to form an identity, there are numerous outside factors that contribute, such as gender, culture, and environment.

For Marji, the protagonist of the Persepolis series, being an Iranian woman is absolutely a factor that featured prominently in the shaping of her personality. She was not allowed to experiment with her identity by her clothing or style, because the government controlled what women were allowed to wear. She had to have some sort of connection with religion, because the government forced the religion upon its subjects. She also experienced hardships, like the death of family members, because of war against the tyrannical government.

Growing up under the oppressive hand of the Iranian government has formed Marji’s strong identity. Clothing, a big form of self-expression, was predetermined for Marji, so that she had a few options of how to proceed. The first thing Marji introduces in the story is the veil, which is a headscarf that women are required to wear for public decency. Marji does not like the veil since she does not understand why she has to wear it. When Marji is young, she says, “I really didn’t know what to think about the veil, deep down I was very religious” (Persepolis 1, 7). Since she is so young, she is unaware of the real point of the veil.

It is forced on because the government wants to hide the potential power women have. Later, Marji finds out that the restricted clothing has constrained her freedom by not allowing her to express a part of her individuality. After her parents come back from a trip to Istanbul, Turkey, she gets gifts such as 1983 Nike Shoes, a denim jacket, a Michael Jackson button, and posters. She puts on her new shoes and her new jacket with the new button on it to go out and buy some music tapes. However, the guardians of the revolution, the women’s branch who arrest women who are improperly veiled, catch Marji.

She luckily gets away. Through this experience, she realizes that she does not even have a minimal amount of freedom to show her individuality as a rebel. Clothing allows people to express their individuality, but forcing women to wear the veil not only prevents women from showing their own personality but also eliminates their freedom. If a woman wears a veil, then all the women will look just the same, and there is no opportunity for individuality there. Marji travels to Europe, and while there, she is finally able to express herself and experiment with her personality.

When Marji becomes sixteen, she tries new stuff, coating her hair with gel, adding a thick line of eyeliner, and using safety pins as earrings (Persepolis 2, 36). As you see in the panels, she experiments with her hairstyles, which would not even be seen under the oppressive Iranian regime. Each new style is in a completely separate panel, showing the time passing between each event (McCloud 101). It takes time to develop an identity. She is allowed to express herself in Europe, and because of this, she is able to develop her personality in a way that she could not have been able to if she had been back in Iran.

The government keeps Iranian women on a tight leash, so the lack of expression through clothing that Marji experiences in Iran, and the amount of expression she experiments with outside of her country, helped her develop as a person. Iran has a very strong connection between religion and state, which is reflected in Marji’s spirituality. Marji says herself that she was born with a religion, and she believes her path is to be a prophet. Religion becomes a part of her character. Because she wants to be a prophet when she is ten, God sometimes appears and becomes her companion.

Whenever Marji is having a personal conflict, God appears to help her work through it. For example, Marji takes a long bath in the water tub to feel like to be in a cell filled with water, when God appears to her. She is trying to experience what it feels like to be tortured, like her captured relatives and countrymen. God just randomly appears to her to ask, “What are you doing? ” (Persepolis 1, 25). In that panel, The main color is white. White is a color like purity and spirituality, which makes sense, because God is in it. However, in the next panel, the background is entirely black.

This panel does not have God in it. Instead, it is just Marji almost connecting to the pains of her grandfather. So the simplicity of the black background helps show the beginning of her internal conflict (McCloud 192). Marji is learning about how cruel the government truly is, and even God cannot help her understand why. Because Iran was very connected to religion, she always has a spirituality about her. The government forced a certain religion on Marji. Even though she did not always believe in that religion, she was still shaped by her conversations with God.

Even though God doesn’t appear later on, believing in a religion as a child was able to lay the foundation for a spirituality that would last her the rest of her life. Living through war is very difficult. Because of war, many of Marji’s families and her neighbors met death. Satrapi’s graphic style, which is mainly composed of black and white, depicts violent moments with a simple description. For instance, when Satrapi depicts the bombing of her neighbors, the black and white frames, along with the gutters, portrays how terrified Marji feels (Persepolis 1, 142). For example, there is a panel where Marji is covering her eyes.

Then it cuts to a panel that is just completely black. It shows just how emotional the scene is (McCloud 150). Because Satrapi’s style is so simple, drawing the character to explain the horrible emotions would be out of style. It is much more expressive just to keep the panel completely black. Since those dreadful incidents happened to her when she was young, she grew up as a strong-hearted and caring Iranian who knew the difficulties of war and came out stronger for it. Even though she disagrees with the lack of freedoms in her country, she is very proud to be an Iranian woman.

She actually says this when some students were talking at a restaurant and were not respecting her. She stood up and said to them, “You are going to shut up or I am going to make you! I AM IRANIAN AND PROUD OF IT” (Persepolis 2, 43). The war and demonstrations due to the revolution has built her a strong identity as an Iranian. Marji is definitely shaped by her outside environment. The fact that she is Iranian during such difficult times is absolutely a big environmental factor. Not being able to wear whatever she wants limits her self-expression, so she has to work around that. The government forces a religion on her.

She is also thrown into the middle of a war. All of these things should limit how her identity grows. But despite all the obstacles that being Iranian created for her, in the end, she still has a very strong connection with her Iranian culture. She obviously connects as an Iranian woman. Her own culture suppresses her, and in doing so, makes her stronger. Works Cited Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood. New York: Pantheon, 2003. Print. Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return. New York: Pantheon, 2004. Print. McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics. Northampton, MA: Kitchen Sink, 1993. Print.

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Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow: Hope and Dreams in a Bi-Cultural Identity

The dilemma of having a bi-cultural identity has oftentimes been neglected as immigrants’ voices have often occupied a marginalized position in mainstream media and literature that mirrors their position at the margins of society. In Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow, author Faiza Guene gives voice to Arab-French immigrants through the character of Doria and allows her readers a glimpse of Parisian life as viewed from the perspective of someone who desperately wants to be a part of it but is kept an outsider by her ethnicity.

More importantly, Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow not only illuminates the hardship confronting the children of immigrants as they are caught in between cultures that often clash with each other but also the hope and dreams of better lives that individuals coping with bi-cultural identities nurture in order to survive, often taking and using the best from both worlds available to them as an inspiration to dream of better things.

Doria’s story shows the painful experience of growing up in-between cultures as a Moroccan living in the projects of Paris and her struggle to cope with societal and cultural expectations as well as with marginalization. Born and raised in poverty by an immigrant Moroccan family, Doria has to contend with a variety of issues that mirror the problems faced by immigrants everywhere. She shamelessly reveals her bitterness about having to depend on food stamps and cheap housing from the French government although her mother already works long hours to earn a living.

As a consequence of her difficulty with fitting into the mainstream French culture, Doria suffers from problems at school and withdraws from others in her immediate environment. Instead she feels most close to Hamoudi, a neighbor and drug dealer, who has known her since she was little and whom, perhaps in her view, she shares a commonality as a social outcast.

Although she is regularly visited by a social worker to help her handle her problems, she develops feelings of resentment for social workers and psychologists whom she thinks are insincere in their efforts to help them. This stems from her opinion that these people cannot truly empathize with the immigrants’ problems given the privileged position accorded to them by their pure French identities. Another source of bitterness for Doria is her gender, which she thinks is the reason why her father left her and her mother since the Moroccan culture places a premium on having a son.

It is therefore not hard to imagine the roots of Doria’s hostility towards the world. Doria is doubly stigmatized by her ethnic identity as an Arab and by the impoverished condition of her family. For instance, she pities her illiterate mother whose accent is always being made fun of, a reflection of how the mainstream culture tends to look down on cultural minorities such as Arabs and on other cultures in general.

On the other hand, Doria is depressed by the fact that the good Parisian life remains distant to her and her mother as illustrated by their inability to see the Eiffel Tower despite its proximity to their home, or by the fact that they cannot afford a real Levi’s jeans unlike her classmates. As such, Doria resorts to imagination, sarcasm, and even feigning autism to ease her feelings of alienation from affluent Parisian lifestyles.

It is clear, though, that Doria has absorbed the value system of Parisian culture. In one of her accounts, for instance, she makes the observation that `waxing hurts, and if you hurt somebody it shows a lack of respect,” a comment that shows her knowledge of French women’s beauty regimen. She also sees the television as the “poor man’s Koran,” and even bases her fantasies and imaginings on the realities depicted in the television.

At the same time, she invents a dream life based on both her Morrocan and French value systems to draw the Parisian life as she perceives it to be in her attempt to bridge the gap between her dream and current reality. It is these dreams of leaving the projects and building a better life for herself and her mother that sustains Doria although she is painfully aware that for people like her these may remain out of reach.

Thus, beneath her pessimistic and sarcastic tone, and even the vengeful characteristic of her imaginings, Doria desperately wants to overcome her bitterness towards her circumstances with her recognition of her difficulties as experiences to learn from. She is therefore brought to tears when Hamoudi states the phrase Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow as it represents a hopeful view that things are always getting better.

Towards the end of the story Doria and her mother’s situation do not necessarily change for the better or even change at all, but this is exactly what Doria’s story aims to point out to its readers, that despite the hardships and the seeming inability of people like them to rise up from their marginal position, they will always draw hope from knowing that tomorrow things will not be the same and there will be better times ahead of them.