Culture, Cultural Identity and Related Phenomena

Processes That Originate, Maintain and Reinforced Cultural Identity

Reflecting upon one’s culture is essential for creating a proper understanding of their environment and exploring the characteristics of their cultural identity. The surrounding cultural and ideological context has a significant impact on a growing individual’s vision of themselves, their traits, and group belonging. Specific features of a person’s behavior or beliefs about the world can originate from societal elements, for example, community institutions, family norms, and school education (Pinto, 2019). In my experience, the opinions and traditions of my native culture, Akan, have remarkably influenced my upbringing, shaping numerous attributes of my cultural identity.

A substantial number of processes and cultural characteristics have affected me during my upbringing, instilling notions specific to my culture and the people of Akan. The value of numerous social institutions in the formation of my cultural identity is remarkable, as these elements of the society significantly interact with the individual’s understanding of themselves and their nation (Kissi, 2017). The first attribute of my culture that is imperative for the creation of my cultural belonging is family relationships’ value, which offered me considerable knowledge regarding my cultural environment, establishing particular individual characteristics. In the Akanian worldview, the concept of family includes not only the parents and their children but the overall lineage, including maternal and paternal relatives, which receive equal rights and duties (Kissi, 2017). The significance of a stable and close connection to all of my relatives, regardless of our blood relation, has greatly influenced the understanding of my origin culture.

Another essential aspect of my culture is the importance of the community interests and the necessity to uphold the well-being of the society members. According to Akan beliefs, it is crucial to secure the social welfare of one’s neighbors, ensuring the overall solidarity and harmony in interpersonal relationships (Wiredu, 2019). Every member of a particular Akan community is obliged to fulfill their responsibilities, providing the required level of comfort and stability for the neighborhood. During my early years, I was tremendously affected by the concept of communal duties, which prompted me to stay open to others’ needs and help them in their endeavors.

Religion is also a vital aspect of the Akan society, often shaping certain elements of one’s cultural belonging. The belief system regarding the living and the dead occupies an integral part of the Akan culture, regarding ancestors and gods as providers of positive outcomes and blessings (Kissi, 2017). Participating in religious occasions and asking the deceased relatives to bestow kindness and prosperity onto the community is highly valued among its members (Wiredu, 2019). Furthermore, exceptional significance is given to the practices of maintaining a beneficial relationship with the ancestors and spirits. Growing up in the Akan society, I was considerably exposed to such events, which aided me in creating a sense of unity with the other members and fostered religious habits.

To conclude, the primary elements of the Akan culture, namely the importance of family relationships, communal connections, and religion, had a tremendous impact on the origination of my cultural identity. Maintaining an understanding of oneself that correlates with the beliefs and attitudes present in their native society is imperative for their well-being. As a member of an Akan community, I learned and developed numerous behavioral patterns, which strengthens my cultural belonging. Developing a positive relationship with multiple family members, aiding fellow neighbors, and participating in religious activities is important for me, as it allows me to sustain a link between me and my culture.

Definitions of Terms

DefinitionTerm
Refers to a prejudgment – an assumption or preconceived opinion that is not based on reason, actual experience, or factPrejudice
Refers to the evaluation of other cultures according to preconceptions originating in the standards of one’s own culture – a belief that our own culture and cultural practices are superior to others.Ethnocentrism
Refers to the general assumptions made about a particular cultural group or those who are not from your own background.Cultural bias
Refers to negative labelling of a group based on certain attributes which sets them apart from others, often linked to shame and disgrace.Stigma
Refers to general assumptions about the characteristics of an individual which are based on a standard, simplistic characterisation of a particular culture.Stereotyping
Refers to the act of treating some unfairly or less favourably based on their membership in a particular social group.Discrimination
Refers to the dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries.Xenophobia
Refers to the dislike of or prejudice against homosexual people.Homophobia

Stigma Explanation

The phenomenon of stigma is well known in the scientific society for its negative attributes connected to the creation of conflict situations. As stigmas often refer to cultural, sexual, and racial characteristics, they target specific groups or certain individuals, presenting them in an unfavorable and unacceptable manner (Craig & Richeson, 2016). The stigmatized people have been shown to react to such evaluations in various ways, ranging from disregard to hostility. Upholding the negative assumptions and openly diminishing the characteristics of other individuals can lead to substantial interpersonal and intergroup confrontations, as the offended will attempt to protect their dignity and the right to display their personality.

Australian Identity Concept

The concept of an Australian identity bears special importance to the residents of the Australian continent. Significant historical events shaped the idea of an Australian, referencing specific cultural or racial characteristics. Although in the late 18th century, Australia was considered a white-only nation, stating that only white individuals could identify as Australians, this notion has remarkably changed over the years, overcoming the ideas of racism and ethnical discrimination. In the current age, being a part of the nation can be linked to particular characteristics, for example, upholding the importance of open-mindedness, cultural diversity, and equality (Kapferer, 2020). To be an Australian and to consider oneself a member of this society is closely linked to respect for the national laws and other Australian citizens. Moreover, it is essential to cherish the values of freedom and justice, creating a safe and peaceful country for all residents (Elder, 2020). In my opinion, it is also imperative to regard the national heritage of Australia, embracing the nation’s history.

As the notion of an Australian citizen was altering, various traits and behavioral patterns became attributed to the depiction of an ordinary Australian individual. Some stereotypical illustrations often refer to such characteristics as easygoing and energetic, as well as open to others and extroverted (Kapferer, 2020). However, even though some cultural traits manifest in multiple Australian citizens, the idea of a typical Australian is rather erroneous, as it suggests a simplified and stereotypical depiction of a whole culture.

I believe that the history of Australia and the development of this country have dramatically impacted the Australian cultural identity, constructing an environment for particular group attributes to display. A significant event to consider in this regard is the movement of white Australia, which aimed at establishing a white-only Australian society (Jordan, 2018). Although this campaign was highly discriminative and anti-racial, these aspects were later evaluated and allowed for the progression to a multicultural and responsive community (Australian Human Rights Commission, 2015). The negative effects of this proposition have proven the necessity to sustain a high level of openness to other cultures and races, contributing to the establishment of such positive aspects of the Australian culture as multiculturalism (Department of the Premier and Cabinet, 2020). Nevertheless, other negative elements, for instance, misogynism, are still necessary to acknowledge. I hope that the future development of the Australian cultural identity will further battle these misconceptions.

The Significance of the Victorian Public Service Code of Conduct

The Victorian public service code of conduct significantly improves the standards of behavior towards other cultures and cultural identities, as it addresses pertinent issues and suggests the instruments for their resolution. The primary topics related to maintaining an ethical approach when interacting with people belonging to other ethnicities are discussed in the document, examining the significance of acceptance and morality (Victorian Public Sector Commission, 2015). As suggested by the code of conduct, it is imperative to demonstrate responsiveness and impartiality to the members of any culture, as well as display integrity and commitment to human rights. These explanations are highly valuable for creating an open and ethical environment, free of stigmatization and stereotyping.

References

Department of the Premier and Cabinet (2020). Multicultural affairs. Government of South Australia.

Craig, M. A., & Richeson, J. A. (2016). Stigma-based solidarity: Understanding the psychological foundations of conflict and coalition among members of different stigmatized groups. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 25(1), 21–27.

Elder, C. (2020). Being Australian: Narratives of national identity. Routledge.

Jordan, M. (2018). ‘Not on your life’: Cabinet and liberalisation of the White Australia policy, 1964–67. The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 46(1), 169–201.

Kapferer, J. (2020). Being all equal: Identity, difference and Australian cultural practice. Routledge.

Kissi, S. (2017). Social identity in Hebrews and the Akan community of Ghana. The University of Pretoria.

Pinto, R. (2019). The effect of Western formal education on the Ghanaian educational system and cultural identity. The Journal of Negro Education, 88(1), 5–16.

Wiredu, K. (2019). The humanities and the idea of national identity. In B. Rodopi (Ed.) Philosophical foundations of the African humanities through postcolonial perspectives, pp. 103–119.

Victorian Public Sector Commission. (2015). Code of conduct for Victorian public sector employees.