Intercultural Communication Chapter 4: How Is Culture Related to Our Identities?
Identity: or the image by which we recognize ourselves and others. • What are your important identities? • List 10 answers to complete the statement, “I am . . .”
Personal Identities: • Stubborn • Friendly • Proud • Kind • Thoughtful
Social Identities: • Sister • Mexican American • Student • French • Doctor
Identities create expectations. What are some expectations related to the identities you listed in your answers to the “I am . . .” list you created?
Identities are grounded in similarities and differences. What are the key comparison points in your most important identities? Nationality? Hobbies? Skin color? Beliefs about God? Places you have lived?
What is the relationship between communication and identity? • Reflective? • Or • Constitutive?
Reflective: We communicate the way we do because of our social identity. • Our communication mirrors or reflects that we are male, or a mother, or Japanese.
Constitutive: We communicate the way we do because of our social identity. • Communication is not determined by our identity; rather, it creates or constitutes our identity. So even though a person may be defined as a father biologically, they may not be accepted as a “real” father if they do not interact in certain expected ways. And another person who is not officially related to a person may still be a father to that person.
Pathways to establishing identity! • Avowal • Ascription
Avowal • Identities we claim by acting in a certain way. • For example, I want to be seen as a rebel and independent, so I break a few rules and talk tough.
Ascription • Identities we give to others or that others give to us, by treating us in a certain way. • For example, I see you as wise, so I listen closely to what you say and thank you for your advice. Or you see me as a mentor so you ask for my opinion of graduate schools.
Reactive versus Proactive Ascription • Reactive ascription is used to explain why someone has acted in a certain way. • Proactive ascription is used to predict how others will act, often creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.
According to Social Identity Theory, when minorities are faced with specific negative identities, they do one of three things: 1. Try to join the dominant group 2. Try to directly compete with the dominant group 3. Try to create new comparison points that they will make their group look better