PSYC14 Notes Supp Readings.docx

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Sisi Tran

PSYC14 Supplementary Readings Notes Kim, 2008 Intercultural Personhood: Globalization and a way of being  The development of the global village has brought cultures, nationalities, etc. closer than ever before. People are being challenged to face each other’s differences and look for human universals. We now find ourselves facing a deep social upheaval and creative restructuring.  The same forces that diminish physical boundaries are also the same ones that exacerbate ethnic and national rivalries.  This paper aims to describe the Intercultural Personhood as a way of being a member of an increasingly multicultural/integrated community. This is a way of relating to oneself and others on a dynamic and adaptive identity conception.  There has been an ideological shift toward greater pluralism and multiculturalism in the US and elsewhere that began with the “new ethnicity” movement prompted by the civil rights movement in the 1960’s in the US.  The pluralistic turn in academic conceptions of cultural identity has capitalized on contradiction arising from the inevitable gap between assimilation emphasis and the reality of everyday life in which group categories continue to constrain ethnic minorities.  Cultural identity is an extension of the self. There is a shift towards the perception of self of an exemplar of a social category and away from the perception of self as a unique person.  An examination of contemporary pluralistic academic writings on the issues of cultural identity reveals 2 main problems: positivity bias and oversimplification.  Positivity Bias:  There has been little attention given to the fact that a strict adherence to a cultural identity can raise separatist sentiments, fear, distrust, violence, etc.  Positive values assigned to cultural identity reflects the desire to offer a voice to the traditionally oppressed people. At the same time, the positivity bias becomes problematic when it is applied selectively (in the face of human sufferings in non-Western countries).  Oversimplification:  Some writings portray cultural identity as an “all or none” entity and people are viewed as only belonging to one particular ethnic group. This conception of cultural identity inflates uniformity among individuals associated with a particular group category; researchers lump together all individuals ascribing to a particular group and portray them as a homogeneous group with identical characteristics.  In reality, cultural identity is very complex: people marry outside of their race/religion/etc.  The present author, Kim, has theorized about the dynamic and evolving nature of identity orientation that argues each person is an “open system” that exchanges info with the environment thru communication, and co-evolves with the changing environment. Thus, a person’s identity is undergoing changes throughout life and Plasticity (the ability to learn and change thru experiences) is highlighted as the basis upon which individuals acquire an identity.  This theor
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