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A Sample Essay on Cultural Identity

Exploring the issue of cultural identity can prove to be a Herculean as well as a complex task. Reason: cultural identity is a unique blend of infinite inner qualities and our self-representation. While the myriad of fragments constituting our inner self is nation, religion, family, gender, sexuality as well as culture, the self-representation includes appearances, personality or beliefs of a person. Thus, it is evident that a very little section of our cultural identity is permanent or unchangeable.

Cultural Identity Theory

The cultural identity theory suggests that people from normative ideals tend to generate two forms of marginalization — personal and social — that lead to ego clashes among the individuals. This eventually forces them to identify with alternative social groups that offer them solace from their identity crsis.

Maintaining Cultural Identity

In the present scenario, sustaining the cultural identity which can be primarily defined as local roots can be the ultimate challenging task. The Amish has been exceptional in this respect as they have successfully maintained their original culture for about three hundred years. But that is because they acquired separate land and isolated themselves from the rest of the world, disregarding all sorts of modernized techniques that are deemed to ease the lifestyle of people.

Hence, the cultural and social corollary offered by the media is problematic with respect to the cultural identity of a group. In a nutshell, with more exposure towards an outer world, people are likely to have internal fears — of ethnic crisis and loss of cultural identity.

Cultural Confusion:

Due to heavy globalization and improved communication, these days one tends to move away from his original culture and adopt different ones. By broadening our consciousnesses, we can observe the similarities or differences between two cultures and expand our perceptions.

This can lead to:

i. An enhanced cultural knowledge;

ii. Completely unaware of the original culture;

iii. A feeling of being alien;

iv. Cultural schizophrenia

The process of uprooting one's tradition or culture forces the individuals into a new identity. It is, needless to say, that this results from the multicultural constructs that people are subjected to these days. It can be easily understood in the case of a person, who is away from his homeland for a considerable amount of time. If they return to their homeland and spend some time, they will realize that they are no longer culturally the same person as before.

To conclude, one can therefore say that this cultural identity essay leads to two theories that are diametrically opposite. On one hand, there is a fragmentation in the society, while, on the other hand, a unique homogeneity is also observed across the globe. Mixing of eastern and western cultures does not necessarily mean that it is destructive, but “hybridization” or “creolization” certainly poses a threat of losing one’s national cultural bond. But in the present situation, it is practically impossible to operate as an isolated system, unless one favors a regressive society, much like the Amish.