2.1.3 Social and Cultural Identities

Gender identities

Our gender identity is influenced by the way we are treated by our parents, other relatives, neighbours and friends. Boys and girls are dressed in different colours and they are introduced to different types of toys. In every culture there are communications and interactions which are considered feminine, masculine or androgynous.  Nowadays the media influences our identity, in what is considered feminine, masculine or androgynous.

Age identities

Age is also one aspect of our identity. Cultures view and treat people of different ages in different ways. For example, in Asian cultures, getting old is seen as positive. Elderly people are respected and they are cared for by their children. In some European cultures, however, not all elderly people are highly respected. In many cases they may live separated from the younger generation and feel lonely.

Spiritual identity

Depending of the culture and context spiritual identity can be more or less apparent. In some countries people might even be ready to die for their beliefs. People's spiritual identity may even lead to conflicts or, in worst cases, war.

Class identity

Our social class identity influences how we behave and communicate towards other people. A person's class identity is not necessarily noticed until he or she encounters another person representing another social class.

National identity

A person's citizenship of a nation is referred to as national identity. Depending on the person, his or her national identity may be stronger than his or her ethnic or cultural identity, and vice versa.

Regional identity

In every country there are regions with which people identify themselves. In some countries regional identities are stronger than the national identity. Regional identities may also carry positive, negative, real or not real generalizations about people living there.

Personal identity

Our personal identity means how we perceive ourselves. Our personal identity is vital for us and we communicate and negotiate that with other people.



© Irmeli Luoma, 2005



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