Social Identity and Cultural Concept

Paper Info
Page count 10
Word count 3299
Read time 12 min
Topic Sociology
Type Research Paper
Language šŸ‡ŗšŸ‡ø US


A group’s shared system of taught behaviors, values, and beliefs is referred to as culture. Culture is taught rather than hereditary or instinctual and contains symbolic behavior and communication that are not readily available to outsiders (Katrini, 2018). In many countries, the concept that individuals can overcome the limits of their social positions at birth by becoming “cultivated” still holds sway. Formal education is frequently held up as the key to achieving social mobility. However, this poses a question of whether ideas and items should be included in the “culture” as a whole; this appeared to be self-evident to Arnold. Shakespeare’s writings became part of culture because he was regarded as a superb writer (Urban, 2019). ā€œPlatoā€™s philosophy, Leonardo’s, Michelangelo’s, and Titian’s painting, according to Arnold, are all necessary parts of “culture” (DiMarzo, 2017). The Social Identity Hypothesis (SIT) is a theory based on psychologist Henry Tajfel’s belief that individuals’ sense of self is influenced in part by their membership in a community (Trepte & Loy, 2017). The outcome of the Social identity theory and culture concept is discussed in this study.

Knowledge, wealth, and power create an axis of discursive factors that function alone or simultaneously in preserving what is regarded elite in a society where disparities between high and low culture predominate. Knowledge, wealth, and power restrictions limit access to elite culture. High culture, by definition, aligns itself with the dominant in society (Wippler, 2018). When these elements are reconfigured, the tight borders between high and low cultures are eliminated. Changes in economic wealth, political power, and knowledge capital, understandably, lead to shifts in understanding high and low culture (Anderson, 2018). Economic capital, political power, and knowledge capital can all be used to evaluate cultural capital. There is an increasing trend in today’s world order for the borders between high and low cultures to blur. To be precise, there are many crossovers, mergers, and erasures, which we call “cultural mobility.” Cultural mobility is now more rapid than it has ever been (Shi, 2018). In everyday language, high culture refers to the set of cultural items that a society holds in the greatest regard. It refers to the culture of the upper crust, such as the nobility or the intelligentsia.

On the other hand, low culture refers to the culture of the less educated or the masses and includes items like popular music, reality television, and best-selling fiction (Edensor 2020). The term “popular culture” is often misunderstood. Traditionally, the phrase “popular culture” has been associated with “low culture,” representing the lower classes’ education and general “cultures” as opposed to the upper classes’ “refined culture.” High culture is often associated with political power, prestige, riches, and intellectualism. Going to a play or viewing a ballet is an example of a high-culture event that can be costly. Although high culture is often thought to be better than popular culture, the terms “high culture” and “popular culture” are defined differently depending on the period and place. Shakespeare’s plays, which were deemed pop culture when they were created, are today regarded as high culture in our civilization.

The arrangements of knowledge, wealth, and power in society have a lot to do with the divide between high and low culture. The strong in society are frequently the keepers of money, power, and knowledge, and they play a role in erecting obstacles to wealth, power, and information access. This type of access restriction is rarely imposed by force. Instead, ideological state apparatuses are used to create boundaries and maintain the status quo, in which they have a disproportionate share of wealth, power, and knowledge. This, in turn, causes them to have higher cultural capital values. Pierre Bourdieu created the phrase “cultural capital,” which refers to one’s social qualities that encourage social mobility in a structured society (Branson & Miller 2020). Therefore, cultural capital is a social connection within a practice economy that encompasses all of the material and symbolic things that society considers uncommon and worth acquiring, without a difference. Cultural capital, as a social connection within a commerce system, refers to the acquired cultural knowledge that provides social position and power to those who possess it.

Culture as a Social Construct

It is imperative to acknowledge that cultures impact what people think and how they live and that they influence people as their lifestyles and beliefs evolve. Individuals and cultures have a dynamic and evolutionary relationship, not a static and permanent one. This is true inside groups of people and across groups of people (Cruess, 2016). If this is true, then it must also be true that “culture” is not always a trait of a single, distinct group of people. One cannot presume that disparities in cultural behavior between groups have arisen due to intrinsic, or inherent, distinctions between those people. Those disparities will have emerged due to unique historical, political, social, and legal circumstances.

Furthermore, these disparities will fluctuate or even vanish depending on the conditions. Culture, in this view, is a dynamic, ever-changing concept that evolves dialectically over time rather than a fundamental trait of people (Chadegani & Jari 2016). As a result, culture does not exist without those who live it; rather a concept that is socially produced. This is a completely different perspective on culture than the Romantic Nationalists.

Furthermore, because culture is viewed as the result of continuous interactions between individuals who may share cultural similarities in some aspects but differ significantly in others, it is not easy to envisage any significant community being culturally homogeneous. Consider the gender, class, age, and geographic inequalities within any group of people, even if they believe they share the same “national cultureā€: stereotypes point of view (Venaik & Brewer, 2016). Consequently, they cannot be considered identical cultures merely because they share the same nationality or ethnicity, according to contemporary cultural anthropology. As a result, from an anthropological standpoint, all significant groupings of people are multicultural somehow. In this light, cultural anthropological study switches from examining how people do things differently in various places and at distinct eras to analyzing why they differ.

Concerns about the use of culture in political and educational rhetoric have been inexistent. Cultural approaches have been demonstrated to perpetuate hidden and devious kinds of exclusion and inequality compared to racial approaches. Furthermore, there have been potential overlaps between categories like race, ethnicity, and culture, all of which appear to over-emphasize variety; and, more significantly, in-group diversity. Despite this, culture continues to dominate educational policy and practice. All too frequently, it is used as a surrogate for “race,” implying that residents of a particular area or government body lie in a particular “culture,” neglecting variation. This implies a uniformity that is spread into the world of biological Variances and similarities. In the social sciences, race as an analytical concept has been increasingly rejected. For example, in 1996, the Association of American Physical Anthropologists (AAPA) released a notice condemning any claims that “race” is related to biology and rejecting the notion as having no practical value (Little, 2018). Thus, in current theory, the term “culture” represents groups of individuals, typically conational, who are regarded to be comparable in terms of social and individual activity patterns, but who are also recognized as belonging to a shared ethnic and biological group and sharing a legacy.

Culture in Social Identity

Identity is People’s idea of who they are and the features that characterize them. What people feel is meaningful and vital is directly linked to their sense of identity. Gender, age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic class, and national origin are all social statuses and functions integrated into identity. Sociologists distinguish between two types of identification: personal identity and social identity. Personal identity refers to a person’s sense of self, including personality characteristics, beliefs, and values. It is how people view themselves, think about them, and evaluate them. On the contrary, People’s idea of who they are is dependent on their participation in social groups or social categories. These groups can be formed based on an individual’s gender, race, social class, occupation, and educational level. Personal identities are influenced by social identities (Hamamura, 2017). When someone identifies as a business professional, they typically begin to dress, speak, and act in the same way that other members of that group business professionals operate.

Individual identities, according to social identity theory, are socially constructed concepts. The set of ideas we call ‘identity includes an individual’s belief in who she is, where she belongs, and how she should relate with others (Hogg, 2020). However, an individual’s identity is not solely determined by their objective features and properties. Some characteristics may be genetically determined in the individual. Individuals, on the other hand, do not establish the social significance of intrinsic traits. Whether it is a good thing to have naturally red hair, blue eyes, or a prominent nose, for example, is determined by structures of values beyond the individual’s control. Even if one acknowledges that a person’s genetic profile influences physical and mental abilities, the individual’s value placed on such abilities is not determined. For example, there is no explanation why those who can play sports are among the highest-paid people in many societies. This is the result of a series of social phenomena and historical circumstances beyond anyone’s control.


People should realize that communities are intrinsically culturally varied within themselves by identifying culture as personal property and a social formation process. On the other hand, identity is primarily an attribute of the individual built and understood via social interaction in all of its forms, including ethnic and national identity. As a result, individual and community identity are inextricably linked, and performance is an essential component of identity. The situation determines one’s identity; as a result, individual recognitions are complex. The performance of identity can vary depending on the environment in which it is given, but this does not necessarily imply that the performance is dishonest on the part of the person giving it. This is a continual internal-external dialectical process in which individuals seek to construct psychologically and materially satisfying spaces for themselves based on their wants and abilities in the current environment, in response to actual or imagined material and emotional incentives.

Annotated Bibliography

Anderson, B. R. G. (2018). I. The Idea of Power in Javanese Culture. In language andĀ power (pp. 17-77). Cornell University Press.

The author examines the cultural and political inconsistencies that have arisen as a result of two key facts in Indonesian history: that while the Indonesian nation is young, the Indonesian state is old, dating back to the early seventeenth-century Dutch conquests. The author examines a range of examples ranging from classical poetry to public monuments and cartoons to further our knowledge of the connection between contemporary and traditional conceptions of power, the construction of authority via language, and the development of national consciousness.

Branson, J., & Miller, D. (2020). Pierre Bourdieu. In Social Theory (pp. 37-45). Routledge.

According to Branson and Millerā€™s article, professor of Sociology at the College de France, Pierre Bourdieu, was born in 1930 in the southern French region of Bearn, the son of a government servant. In the late 1960s, Bourdieu rose to prominence in the French intellectual scene when his book Les Heretiers, co-authored with his colleague Claude Passeron, became a source book for the 1968 student revolt, evidence of poor education and economic prospects, and, most importantly, of the French educational establishment’s complicity in the promotion of a class-ridden society. Class power is the exclusive ownership of cultural capital, the subtle maintenance of cultural advantage to block access to economic and political power, while Bourdieu’s sociology constantly emphasizes the relationship between the individual and society. Cultural deprivation and cultural difference have entrapped the working people in their habits. The criticisms highlighted do not invalidate his views; rather, they serve as a foundation for further growth.

Chadegani, A. A., & Jari, A. (2016). Corporate ethical culture: Review of literature and introducing PP model. Procedia Economics and Finance, 36, 51-61.

In this article, based on their ethical culture, companies can be classified as ethical or unethical. The goal of the study is to examine how corporate culture has been examined by looking at how authors defined and researched corporate ethical culture. It also examines various models of corporate ethics produced by previous scholars.

Cruess, S. R., & Cruess, R. L. (2016). Professionalism as a social construct: the evolution of a concept. Journal of graduate medical education, 8(2), 265-267.

Western physicians working in non-Western societies must adjust to the local professional norms while seeking to maintain their own professional identities. It is critical that they maintain their national professional identities when they return to their home countries.

DiMarzo, M. (2017). TITIAN AND THE CULTURE OF MID-CENTURY ROME: THEĀ VENETIAN AMID THE RUINS (Doctoral dissertation, Temple University. Libraries).

This study analyzes Titian’s time in Rome as a lens into the greater frame of his early-decade work in order to highlight the new artistic and entrepreneurial techniques with which he responded to the challenges of a changing patronage base, a growing family, and financial concerns. During this time, Titian used his portraitsā€”the type of work for which he was most knownā€”as movable social agents who might do work for him among a network that included Pietro Aretino, Pietro Bembo, Giovanni della Casa, and Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, among others. His first attempt at painting on slate, his engagement with a developing canon of self-representation, and his rhetorical use of style as a calling-card in his competition with Michelangelo and other Central Italian artists are among the areas of resistance and experimentation revealed by the artist’s experience of Rome, which have been undervalued in previous research.

Edensor, T. (2020). National identity, popular culture, and everyday life. Routledge.

What role do cultural icons play in the reproduction and transformation of national identity? What is the influence of globalization on national identity and culture? How does national identity change through time and space, how is it challenged, and what has been the impact of globalization on national identity and culture? This book investigates how national identity is portrayed, performed, specialized, and manifested in popular culture and daily life. National identity is found to be ingrained in the things people take for granted on a regular basis.

Hamamura, T. (2017). Social identity and attitudes toward cultural diversity: A cultural psychological analysis. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 48(2), 184-194.

The study suggests that positive sentiments toward ethnic and cultural diversity and social identity within a socially dominant group have a skewed relationship. The negative relationship between national identification and diversity attitudes identified among participants from Western civilizations did not extend to non-Western societies, according to Study 1. Study 2 disentangled two separate representations of their social identity and discovered disparities in positive sentiments about multiculturalism.

Hogg, M. A. (2020). Social identity theory (pp. 112-138). Stanford University Press.

The cognitive definition of group in social identity theory is people’s self-concept as group members. A psychological group arises when three or more individuals define and assess themselves in terms of common characteristics that set them apart from other people. Prejudice, discrimination, ethnocentrism, stereotyping, intergroup conflict, conformity, normative conduct, group polarization, crowd behavior, organizational behavior, leadership, deviance, and group cohesion are all topics covered by social identity theory.

Katrini, E. (2018). Sharing Culture: On definitions, values, and emergence. The SociologicalĀ Review, 66(2), 425-446.

Sharing culture refers to informal social networks that emerge within a region with the objective of co-producing, managing, and sharing resources, time, services, knowledge, information, and support based on solidarity rather than financial gain. Finally, by investing in regional and local assets, sharing culture presents an alternative avenue for residents to meet daily needs in a more sustainable, resourceful, and socially engaging manner.

Little, M. A. (2018). American Association of Physical Anthropologists. The InternationalĀ Encyclopedia of Biological Anthropology, 1-3.

Since its founding in 1930, the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (AAPA) has been rising in membership and exposure. It is the world’s largest and oldest professional society for physical and biological anthropologists. The AAPA has convened every year since 1930, with the exception of World War II years, and its magazine, the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2018. Physical anthropology and the AAPA’s 50th and 75th anniversary reviews provide overviews of these previous temporal junctures.

Shi, X. L. (2018). Analyzing the Social Mobility Function of Education from the Perspective of Cultural Capital. DEStech Transactions on Social Science, Education and Human Science, (emss).

Social class mobility has slowed in recent years, and class solidification is becoming increasingly significant. This paper re-examines the social mobility function of higher education in China from the perspective of cultural capital theory, based on previous research findings. By developing the relative notion concretely and describing the relationship between them, assessing the elements impacting higher education’s social mobility function at this level, and focusing on the increase of individual cultural capital. The report then attempts to determine the most effective method for enhancing higher education’s social mobility function.

Trepte, S., & Loy, L. S. (2017). Social identity theory and selfā€categorization theory. TheĀ International Encyclopedia of Media Effects, 1-13.

Tajfel (1978) introduced social identity theory (SIT) as a social psychological theory, which was subsequently developed by Tajfel and Turner (1979). Individuals are to be classified as belonging to numerous groups, such as a professional group, a fan base of a certain pop band, or people with or without children, according to the theory. Individuals evaluate the groups they feel they belong to (in-groups) and the groupings they do not consider themselves a member of in addition to self-categorization (out-groups). Individuals continually categorize themselves, analyze in-groups and out-groups, and compare their worth in order to establish the worth of in-groups and out-groups.

Urban, D. V. (2019). Introduction to ā€œReligions in Shakespeareā€™s Writingsā€.

The explication of not just the different manifestations of religions that appear in Shakespeare’s writings, but also the tensions between these religions within Shakespeare’s creative renderings, is perhaps the most astonishing part of this collection. A number of writings, for example, look at the contradictions between old pagan religion and Christianity. The political repercussions of religious issues are another major focus in this anthology. Although such repercussions can be seen in each contribution on some level, they are most clearly visible in the study.

Venaik, S., & Brewer, P. (2016). National culture dimensions: The perpetuation of cultural ignorance. Management Learning, 47(5), 563-589.

Hofstede and GLOBE national culture factors are often used to explore cultural differences between countries. The trustworthiness in expressing the cultural phenomena they claim to represent is greatly harmed by their lack of face, convergent, and discriminant validity. Because national culture models affect cross-cultural learning in management, naive confidence in these models perpetuates cultural ignorance.

Wippler, R. (2018). Cultural resources and participation in high culture. In SocialĀ institutions (pp. 187-204). Routledge.

In social science explanations, the rational choice theory is the most extensively employed framework of behavioral concepts. The methods by which societal conditions (such as formal educational attainment) affect a person’s degree of participation in the arts and cultural activities are elucidated in this chapter, which builds on rational choice theory. Individuals have goals that they aim to achieve by their behaviors, employing resources and acting under social and environmental (situational) limitations, according to the most basic axioms of rational choice theory. Without mentioning cultural engagement, the chapter examines some broad principles of rational decision theory. It is concerned with the application of that theory to this particular problem. The results of the theoretical study with regard to educational attainment as a predictor of cultural activities are summarized in this chapter. It derives certain conclusions on the essential question, namely, why and to what extent does education have the predictive value that has been demonstrated in the empirical study.

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