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Chapter 1-8

The Quest for Identity - Chapters 1-8.doc

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC 331
Professor
Donald Taylor
Semester
Winter

Description
Chapter 1 - Collective Identities in Crisis -groups in society that experience social problems + others that show signs of a growing social malaise -problems= massive academic underachievement, family dysfunction, substance misuse, violence + delinquent behavior -applies to aboriginal people,AfricanAmericans, certain Hispanic groups, growing number of street kids + those who have traditionally symbolized society’s most privileged group white men. -purpose= acknowledge reality that these groups are confronting, understand that reality + seek possible solution -role as an academic allows direct contact with these group in countries like Canada, US, south Africa + indonesia -canada, quality of life is the envy of the world, magnifies contrast with society’s disadvantaged -contrast makes him lose his scientific detachment + feel emotionally spent -blame seems easy when we contemplate some of the world’s genocides.. Holocaust, killing fields of Cambodia, Rwandan tragedy.. -Apartheid separated black from white.. policy was universally condemned + made south Africa a pariah until government fell in 1994. Intention of privileged white minority seemed clear. When apartheid proponents put their spin on the policy it sounds like what today are judged to be enlightened policies that celebrate cultural diversity + multiculturalism. Countries like US + Canada have notion that cultural minorities shouldn’t be forced to assimilate which may include members of a group living together to provide support + a defence against assimilation. -Apartheid in south Africa: different ethnic groups were segregated not to prevent them from participation or to make them target for discrimination but to allow their cultural identity to flourish. -systematic destruction of aboriginal people in northAmerica: missionaries probably thought they were doing the aboriginals a service by coercing them into Christianity. Deadly germs brought by Europeans were an unintended development. Merchants traded cheap baubles for expensive furs + traded rifles for furs. Made rifles longer to cheat aboriginals out of more furs. Merchants in the new world operated on the age-old principle of get as much as you can for as little as you can -easy to judge the intentions of those from a bygone era when circumstances were different -obvious atrocities aside he does not think he I in any position to judge fairly the motives of others -complexities of persistent disadvantage need to be analyzed, historical perspective must be integrated with an analysis of current reality -may require probing the prejudices of people part + present to serve goal of finding closure of society’s disadvantaged + understanding today’s reality -every case of profound disadvantage is rooted in a lack of understanding -attempting to propose an explanation may be constructive An authors insecurity -defensiveness about writing this book -no need to justify topic -desperate plight of society’s most disadvantaged groups demands attention -2sources of defensiveness… -he’s an academic social psychologist working in a research-oriented department within a faculty of science. Cannot escape the scientific rigor of these norms -certain that his theories, observations + conclusions will often stray from these norms -process of conducting research, scenarios arise + observations are made that have no place in scientific discourse -often these real life personal encounters have a lasting impact -often thought “if only I could recount this anecdote, the point would be clear” -compelled to share his personal observations. Hope they don’t distract from the formal theorizing which is all he has to offer in terms of genuine constructive change -bias that confronts every experimental social psychologist who supplements lab research with extensive work in the field.. develop a liking + respect for the individuals + their culture -feels reticent to write about the devastating social problems -feels more comfortable sharing riches those communities have to offer -2 source lies in the balance between right + obligation - He’s a white male who is pretending to have something to say about the experience of others -ideas are partly shaped by members of disadvantaged groups who have directly + indirectly shared experiences + observations -dilemma about the right of a member of 1 culture to analyze another might until recently have been dismissed -notion that only a member of a particular culture has the right to speak of + for that culture seems absurd on the surface -many of the best observations of northAmerican culture come from a different culture -validity may arise because they are removed from the culture -shifted from a resource-based economy to an information-based economy which has made issue of intellectual property a debated subject -if information is a valued resource then the originator of the info must receive credit + retain some ownership of that info.(song, article, scientific breakthrough) -more than 1 debate resolved by concluding that the 1 person to write an idea down in any form would be considered the owner -culture is ultimately information that members of a culture carry in their heads -notion that only members of a culture can claim ownership of vital cultural info is not as absurd as it seems -power of the culture in question may be critical -common for US to provoke cultural comment because of its prominence + influence + they are used to it + don’t often feel culturally threatened. For less powerful cultures issue may be more delicate -new York state university was offering summer courses in minority language + announced that a linguist would be teaching an intro course in an aboriginal language. Several chiefs of the language group insisted that the course not be offered. Rational that the tribe would lose something when white mainstreamers could speak their language. Their code would be broken -6 months after he had been living in the Philippines he had mastered only a few words of Tagalog.A visiting Caucasian northAmerican scholar came + began the lecture in fluent Tagalog. Filipina colleagues reacted negatively to the guest’s use of their language. Speaking less than fluent would have been a sign of respect. Complete fluency made people feel they had been robbed of something -elder once said please put a voice to our pain -wonder if addressing the social problems confronting stsadvantaged groups he may be making their problems more salient to themselves 1 + to society more generally -maybe minority groups members who shared with him will feel they have inadvertently contributed to the propagation of a negative image within + outside their community -have seen a community benefit from research process -launching survey of language ability + usage in a remote arctic village. Survey was prompted by a local inuit committee. Questions about appropriate language of instruction for their children. Complexities confronting a small community where indigenous language (innuttitut) was in competition with English + French. Concerned their language would be lost -series of lengthy community meetings where norms dictate that everyone must have a say the research process proved constructive -naiveté as scientists with need for precision prompted fruitful discussions - in answer to the question who should fill out questionnaire he said to be valid they needed a 10% sample. Reply was but how will the voices of the other 900 residents be heard? -everyone over the age of 15 completed a questionnaire. Those who were out hunting had skidoos sent with questionnaires to make sure that everyone contributed Never before or since has he been able to obtain an entire population -survey results showed that among young + in formal job setting mainstream languages of English and French were replacing innuttitut -worries more about raising awareness of a community’s social problems outside the community -stereotypes of certain minorities are already so negative + social problems so pervasive that raising awareness of them explicitly is not likely to alter existing stereotypes -his theoretical perspective is one that holds us all accountable -any one group’s disadvantaged diminishes us all -maybe in our shared diminished state we may find a shared solution Scope of the Volume st -1 glance.. focus is the academic underachievement experienced by aboriginal students -level of underachievement that is so disparate from mainstream norms that aboriginal children mature with little or no hope for themselves or their group -while emphasis will be placed on formal education wider concern is with the familiar, social, economic, political + mental health of those communities that are under siege -education is important because it is a institution that impacts students + adults + is the institution that purports to prepare young people for the future by providing economic, social, political + moral resources to allow them to participate in society -arguments for education hold true for occupational success + social adjustment -aboriginal communities suffer an array of social problems.. poor nutrition, family dysfunction, substance misuse, chronic underemployment + poor mental health -academic underachievement is not unique to aboriginal people just happens to be especially challenging for aboriginals -academic underachievement is equally problematic for an array of inner-city minority groups in northAmerica (AfricanAmericans, MexicanAmericans, Puerto Ricans) -group who in no sense qualify as a cultural or ethnic group in usual sense = street kids -belief that issues confronting society’s ethnically disadvantaged apply equally to homeless youth which warrants their alleviation -popular conception of street kids is that they are young people who have failed in or been rejected by mainstream society + have replaced mainstream culture with a subculture built largely on peer support -growing underachievement + social malaise plaguing male students in mainstream north America -not to suggest that their circumstances resemble those of society’s most disadvantaged nor that young women are privileged by comparison -inclusion of young mainstream men is because they show early signs of the profile of social problems that beleaguer disadvantaged groups -same processes on a reduced scale are beginning to impact on a group that until recently has been one of society’s privileged groups -he hesitated before naming specific groups fearing minority readers might feel put under a microscope + mainstream readers might dismiss as irrelevant to them -no group will escape analysis + comment -psychological malaise that characterizes some communities can be found making its presence felt in society as a whole Theoretical Framework -attributing any characteristic to an entire group especially when they are not socially desirable is often viewed as odious from the viewpoint of liberal-thinking individualism -individual is the rightful focus of attention + those who characterize entire groups are engaging in discrimination -real question whether group differences are real or imagined -case for not denying the reality of group-based differences is political economist Sowell (1983). African American scholar who addresses issue ofAfricanAmerican-white group- based differences. Instead of basing his argument for the reality of group differences on racial groups he begins with an analysis of 2 white groups (early irish + german settlers to east coast of US) Irish farmers were 1 to arrive + had access to most arable lands but did not perform well German farmers came later + were relegated less desirable resources + flourished through hard work + long-term perspective -had he attempted to make the case for ethnic group-based differences directly ideological barriers would be triggered - mainstream readers would dismiss focus on groups as politically incorrect + disadvantaged group readers don’t want to be reminded of group-based shortcomings -would be a mistake to argue that social groups are homogeneous -individual differences within any group are essential to ensure its survival -for any particular dimension groups are not so different that there is no overlap in the distribution of the individuals within the different groups -even when the average IQ score for one group is different from another it doesn’t mean that all members of 1 group have an IQ that is lower or higher than all members of the other group Means individual members of the 2 groups tend to be concentrated around different IQ scores Overlap in the distribution so that many individual members of the lower group score higher than even the average for the group with the higher average -when groups are judged to be different on a particular dimension what is being suggested is that while there may be an overlap in the distributions of the individuals belonging to different groups, concentration in the distribution of 1 group is different from the concentration in the other -acknowledging the reality of individual differences within groups should not deflect us from deriving explanations that may be associated with shared experiences of virtually all members of a group -if only a few members of a group failed to achieve normal standards there would be no social issue + no theoretical or social link between achievement + group membership -despite examples of individual successes from every disadvantaged group the majority are contributing in varying degrees to the statistics that demoralize the portrait of life for society’s most disadvantaged groups -any groups shared experience arises in the context of by comparison with or because of other societal groups -aim is to derive a theory at intergroup level that will touch the psychological functioning of every severely disadvantaged group member The psychology of self -central psychological construct + process = the self -psychological self will form basis of theoretical analysis -humans stand out as unique in a variety of ways.. capacity for sophistical language + abstract thought + particularly human capacity to reflect on the self -much that is automatic may be screened out at earlier or more primitive level of processing but at some point all experience was processed through the self -self= pivotal human cognitive process that orients individual toward meeting needs -self is experienced at a personal level -feel you are you across time + situations whether alone or acting with your group -healthy self =minimum requirement for effective human functioning -4 key components to the self: personal identity, personal esteem, collective identity + collective esteem -explanatory concept for theory of self is collective identity -that society’s most disadvantaged groups suffer from is an unclear collective identity -concept of collective identity differs from similar concepts such as self-concept + self- esteem in 2 ways Focus of most notions of self is on unique personal qualities of the individual Will argue that identity involves personal + collective elements + collective dimension of identity takes psychological precedence over personal identity -too much attention has been paid to the self-esteem dimension of identity with less appreciation for the definitional or mental blueprint dimension of identity -theoretical challenge is to explain why communities come to be characterized by collective identities that are in crisis which leads to social dysfunction -groups who experience widespread academic underachievement + social problems confront a delicate balancing act involving competing collective identities -disadvantaged groups confront integrating mainstream collective identity or culture + their heritage collective identity or culture -those whose culture is represented by the dominant group in society can never fully appreciate how momentous the juggling act must be -best he can do from privileged position is reflect on minor personal incidents that offer at least some superficial insight -most vivid personal experience with such cultural discontinuity was more symbolic than real Waiting for an otter plane to bring him from 1 arctic community to next village. Feeling like 90s person. Slung over his shoulder was a brand new laptop + inuit lady handed him a 6 month old child + request was to deliver child to his uncle in the next village Contemplated discontinuity of cultures that would have him cradling a computer in 1 arm + trusted with someone’s child in the other Could only imagine what it would be like to negotiate such disparate cultures on daily basis -beyond the enormity of resolving cultural discontinuity problems are exacerbated when there is a large power differential between competing cultures -power differentials of the magnitude referred to here include slavery + colonialism -theorizing that serious social dysfunction arises in groups that have been required to articulate an integrated collective identity in the context of colonialism is not novel -present theory expands current proposals arguing that the integrated collective identity process is made virtually impossible because individual group members have no clearly identified schema for the competing collective identities or cultures they are required to integrate -theories that emphasize difficulties associated with integrating discontinuous cultures presume that there exist 2 clearly defined but incompatible cultures -valueless colonialism is the landl to this dual loss of clarity in collective identity -identity overload represents 2 process that can disrupt collective identity -identity overload exacerbates the problem of collective identity for disadvantaged groups but its the primary source of disruption in collective identity for street kids + young mainstream men -clearly defined collective identity arises where a culture provides its members with clear reference standards upon which to build a collective identity -when society offers too many alternative standards it confuses + disorients the development of collective identity -aboriginal people have been bombarded with social change so fast that assimilating the info into collective identity is impossible -young mainstream men: society offers so many models in the domain of family, education, career + lifestyle that collective identity is poorly articulated + collective demotivation is the inevitable result -4 key stages to present theory: collective identity, valueless colonialism + identity overload lead to collective dysfunction -disadvantaged groups are required to integrate 2 poorly defined cultures or collective identities differing in power into a coherent collective identity that can serve as a blueprint for living -result if a shared state of demotivation that is characterized by alienation, lethargy, incoherent behavior + a focus on the present not the future Chapter organization Anote on style -writing scientific articles requires referencing virtually every assertion that may form the building block of a theory or hypothesis -ensures credit is given to other scientists for providing the base info on which your own theory + research is based + lends credibility to your argument -has become almost impossible the follow a writer’s argument because almost every sentence is interrupted with some reference -essential purpose for referencing is lost -80% of references in a scientific article refer to research that is of little consequence for the writer’s argument Chapter 2 - Society’s Disadvantaged Groups: The Grim Reality Society doesn’t want to be confronted with its own shortcomings - Poor & mentally ill invisible/secluded Mainstream society is reluctant to acknowledge reality of most disadvantaged groups, made more difficult to acknowledge with cultural relativism Cultural relativism (or, cultural agnosticism): a social ideology / moral imperative that groups viewed as different and this should be celebrated - Avoiding implications of “better” or “worse” - Reaction to ethnocentrism - Civil rights movement implicates a dichotomy of good guys/bad guys or us/them; politically incorrect to devalue any group When extremist, cultural relativism can become cultural ethnocentrism - Sowell: inescapable reality that some groups perform better than others o Much world oppression happens because one group is stronger than the other in some way (wealth, firepower, technology) - Bloom: moral dimension… should a culture engaging in genocide be judged morally equal to those promoting equality? - Taylor: cultural relativism is confronted in multiethnic urban centers at a gut level (revenge cultures, genital operations…) The essence of cultural relativism reveals many complexities - USA: Spanish = English in terms of communicational capacity o English “superiority” is structural, based on cultural power o Opponents of cultural relativism would encourage assimilation into English o Cultural relativists might encourage equal linguistic status - Culture & academic achievement o For groups w/ high academic achievement within Western education system, this doesn’t indicate being “better” than cultural groups that are performing less well o If sharing geographical, economic, cultural, etc. spaces, this brings evaluative overtones o Denial of this reality = mere superficial respect for cultural differences, and a form of cultural ethnocentrism  Legitimizes taking no steps to address the problem Superficial respect for cultural differences is ethnocentric - Example: encouragingAboriginal people to retain their language and culture, yet not including this language in mainstream spaces (gov’t, education, courts, etc.); acknowledging that one language concretely predominates over another Society’s Most Disadvantaged Systemic academic failure - Hispanic, African American,Aboriginal groups - Societal neglect of these groups is hidden cultural ethnocentrism (Eurocentrism) disguised as cultural relativism. - Disadvantages are visible and statistical and linked with social and economic conditions Statistical profiling: See Tables 2.1, 2.2 (p. 20) - Bleak realities show with stats on academic, economic, social, and health/housing whereAboriginal,African-American, Hispanic populations are all disadvantaged when compared with Whites - These statistics need to be questioned o School dropouts are left out of standardized test results; they are presumably weaker students, so test results may be inflated o “Bottom line” performance judgments of schools lead schools to block newcomer non-English-speaking students out of standardized tests, which are in English, for 3 years; therefore, no “control” students exist, and ethnic disparities may be greater than indicated by statistics. - Academic standards o Remain normal have students confront persistent failure, & subsequently more dropouts o Careful lowering challenge students successfully, & subsequently, standards can gradually be raised until they are at “normal” levels; however, might cheat students of further advancement o Often lowered consciously or unconsciously, particularly for attendance or discipline - Cultural discontinuities o Aboriginal hunting season vs. mainstream urban school year o Classically disadvantaged students more likely to go on to postsecondary institutions, but are often of lower quality & are less prestigious - Positive ‘spin’on academic status of most disadvantaged groups is misplaced o Conditions are even worse than the already poor stats o As long as it looks like people are improving, mainstream policymakers/educators need not confront the issues - Needing statistical elaboration: o Individualism focus in liberal democratic values gives reasons for grouping people together  instead, should be focusing on the genuine group-level differences o Many cultural differences would indicate examining each culture separately, but they are all still sharing the same academic profile, which must mean that there are differences in common with one another  instead, should be grouping together those groups showing similar disadvantagement profiles The Challenge of Explaining Group-Based Underachievement Table 2.3: summary of academic performance of different cultural groups (p. 24) - Simple racial explanations are insufficient o Many non-whites perform better than mainstream white NorthAmericans o Non-English home language doesn’t seem problematic o Some non-European backgrounds perform well academically - Only suggestive… complications: o Group labels don’t account for economic, identifying, and cultural differences o “Non-White” is too vague, fallacious o Many groups have within-group differences among who identifies as White and non-White - Direct academic comparisons are often unwarranted o Un-standardized measurements o Confounding variables: social class, etc. o “Average” is relative (average of economic group, social group, or true total?) - Home language o Complicated, depending on how long their family has lived somewhere… Recent immigrants vs. 3 or 4 generation o Oversimplification: dichotomy of English and Non-English - European and Non-European o Good to examine effects of Eurocentrism o Bad because of the ambiguity of European: South European, Eastern inclusion is unclear - Despite poor descriptive power of table, it shows there is no one explanation for differential academic performance. Street Kids Young person who has no fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence - Mostly nonviolent, submissive, and readily approachable (surprisingly) - Difficult to document: 45,000-150,000 in Canada any given day, up to 1.5 million in USA Estimates made with monitoring shelters, drop-in centers, and crisis hotlines, while many street kids avoid contact with formal institutions, so census data is problematic… Recruiting in this manner may not be representative. Distinctions - Throwaways vs. runaways - Family dysfunction o Social services divisions o Residential instability  foster care Lifestyle - Lack of nutritious food - Sleep deprivation - Tattoos, body piercing - Sexual abuse, promiscuity, STDs - Substance misuse  prostitution, panhandling, squeegeeing car windows, drug- dealing, minor theft Composition (expected to be visible minorities from inner city) is mostly White Mainstream North American folk theories (not based on experience) 1. Dropped out for sympathetic reasons (dysfunctional family, mental illness, academic failure)  need a supportive environment meeting basic needs for food, shelter, & drugs while helping them gain a foothold in mainstream society. Assumes poor physical/mental health; that once they get support, these problems will go away. 2. Freely chose to live life on the streets; no interest in engaging in mainstream society, and are happy-go-lucky in rejecting responsibilities and pressures… see one another as a reference group Why included in this book? - Extremely disadvantaged - On the surface, seem to have nothing in common with the other listed ethnic groups - Taylor is convinced that the two folk theories are inaccurate o Street kids are uninterested in reintegrating with mainstream society; never take educational/job/housing stability opportunities o Don’t form tight-knit groups that satisfy basic human need for lasting relationships  Gangs require fierce loyalty in return for provisions  Street kids’relationships are transitory and lack trust  Care for pets: medication, food sharing, kerchiefs, yet pet dogs are often cast away for no apparent reason with no apparent remorse o An ethnic anomaly which he believes has a psychological challenge similar to other severely disadvantaged groups Of Mainstream Women and Men Taylor believes the most disadvantaged groups confront a crisis of collective identity, while mainstreamers presumably do not, or pale in comparison - Mainstreamers accommodate threats to the collective identity… functions: o Make the theory & implications more comprehensible o Better appreciate the challenges faced by extremely disadvantaged groups - Young mainstream men appear to be at a growing risk for ills confronting disadvantaged groups, yet they are often evoked as the standard of ‘advantaged’ against which disadvantaged groups are compared o Ironically, considered to legitimizing the discriminatory treatment of women… o Have always been the privileged group o Women fought an uphill battle (redefine role because/in spite of men), and have made enough gains to disrupt white male comforts o Table 2.4 statistics hint at a growing malaise Problems are manifested by the individual, but they are inescapably associated with problems & group membership; explanations at the intergroup level. Chapter 3 – COLLECTIVE IDENTITY –APerson’s Primary Psychological Blueprint Goal: Lay the foundation for understanding the plight of society’s most disadvantaged groups Focus: Unique human capacity for self-reflection Universal application of the essential functions of the self Organization of this chapter: 1) Functional analysis of the self (defining labels + theorization of the self) 2) Describe a psychologically healthy self + the social conditions promoting a healthy self p.34 – FOUR COMPONENTS OF THE SELF • Without mental concepts (MC), meaningful human behaviour would be impossible • MC are essential guides to behaviour • Serve two different functions; cognitive and emotional 3. Identity: describes “Who am I?” o Reflects the cognitive dimension; our own personal blueprint for actions; guides our thoughts, feelings, actions, etc. in a coherent manner 4. Esteem: forms my evaluation of myself; “Am I worthy?” o Reflects the evaluative overtones associated with the self-concept Others’definition of the Self-concept: Turner (1987) Views the self-concept as involving elements that are “personal”; refer to the unique characteristics of the person  Social aspects of the self-concept involve characteristics shared with all other members of his/her group 5. Personal 6. Collective *By crossing 1&2 with 3&4, we get four aspects of the self-concept: 1) Personal identity (PI): Personal characteristics that describe but don’t evaluate, implied goals, end-states that define who I am, including personal values and attitudes a. Clearly defined PI is necessary for effective and adaptive human functioning 2) Personal (self) esteem (PE): focus on how I evaluate my characteristics (reference point; my own group) a. Positive vs negative evaluation will depend on who my reference group is 3) Collective Identity (CI): descriptive or identity aspects of my collective self- concept a. Characteristics I share with other members of my group Def: Stereotype: consensus among members of one group abt characteristics of another Autostereotype: members attributing the characteristics to their own group  Stereotypes used to have a negative connotation, but they also help us render stimulus complexity and overload manageable, may help us clarify a group’s CI 4) Collective self-esteem (CE): self-esteem that arises from group membership a. Indv compares his/her own group to other groups in an evaluative manner Self-concept comprises four components that become integrated to form the indv’s complete mental image of him/herself P.40 - THE PRIMACY OF CI • CI: most important and psychologically primary component of SC (self-concept) • No CI = no established template to articulate PI or PE • My PI can only be articulated against the backdrop of a clearly defined CI o When CI is compromised, the entire SC is jeopardized P.41 - COLLECTIVE IDENTITY IN THE CONTEXT OF CURRENT THEORIES OF THE SELF Wicklund and Gollwitzer (1982) Symbolic self-completion; when an idv is committed to a particular self- definition, he/she is motivated to achieve completeness Higgins (1987) - There are imp “selves” that serve as essential guides in a person’s life; actual (A), ideal (I) and ought (O) selves - Self-discrepancy theory predicts consequences of discrepancies b/w the selves o A&I = unpleasant, low-arousal emotions (sadness and depression) o A&O = unpleasant, high-arousal emotions (anxiety and anger) - Link b/w Higgins and Taylor; a clearly defined CI provides the shared values allowing a person to internalize I and O selves. Swann (1990) - Self-verification theory; ppl are not only motivated to maintain a favourable view of the self, but are also interested in maintaining a consistent self - Fits with Taylor’s theory; to engage in the process of self-verification, it is necessary to have a clearly defined self Concern with Self-discrepancy, verification and affirmation theories:  Presuppose the existence of a clear definition of the self which might not be valid for disadvantaged groups Claude Steele (1988) - Theory of self-affirmation; SC is an image that provides a sens of overall competence and morality - Ppl worry less abt combating the specific threat and focus on affirming the central component of their self-concept P.43 - CULTUREASASPECIAL CASE OF CI CULTURE is: • Socially defined • Arises when members of a groups come to share same values, attributes, beliefs and behavioural patterns • Not tangible and extremely difficult to define concretely (psychological concept that resides in the minds of individual group members) • Special form of CI; provides ppl with a blueprint for everything RELIGION • If it’s primary in the person’s life; religion can be as pervasive and all-inclusive as CI NATIONAL IDENTITY • If nationality and ethnic groups coincide, national and cultural identity are interchangeable ** Groups with the most favourable social conditions for CI (CI not threatened) have the most difficulty defining their cultural identity LANGUAGE • Taylor’s view; not essential for culture, but extremely important • One of the few tangible manifestations of CI • Exclusive to members of the culture + permits private communication among members of a cultural group o Very hard to attain native-like fluency • Central component of identity for members of groups whose CI is under threat, but less imp for those whose CI is secure o Centrality of language is a function of identity status **Culture is the CI component of the self-concept P. 48 - SELF-ESTEEM:AN OVERUSED CONSTRUCT - High SE may have been an over simplistic antidote to all of society’s ills - Inflated SE = unstable and vulnerable esteem o Penchant for violence - Having a clear notion of what I value, the goals I strive for, what attitudes I espouse, the activities I enjoy and my behavioural style is essential in guiding my life o Allows for effective commerce with my environment - Identity is socially defined; only source of info = other ppl! o Without others, we cannot even engage in the process of building our definition of self - Question is not SHOULD I conform? It’s rather WHOM should I conform to? P.51 – SELF-REGULATION FAILURE • Self-regulation; assumption that individuals confront difficult behavioural choices, otherwise would be no need for each of us to regulate our own behaviour o Self-regulation failure = indv does not act consistently with standards/ideals  Genuine social issues central to CI  When CI is unclear, indv aren’t under great pressure to adopt self- regulated standards/ideals o Source of rampant failure in self-regulation found in disadvantaged communities = lack of clearly defined collective identity saying precisely what behaviours need regulation (so that indv internalize them) CONCLUSION: • Self-concept = pivotal building block for understanding the problems confronted by most of society’s most disadvantaged groups • The ideal self-concept for effective human functioning is one that begins with a clearly defined collective identity and from that base builds a clear personal identity along with a favourable personal and collective esteem CHAPTER 4 - TRADITIONAL EXPLANATIONS FOR GROUP DIFFERENCES : THE USUAL SUSPECTS • Necessary starting point to understand group-based differences: the evolution of theory designed to explain the academic underachievement and social dysfunction represented by our target groups. • 3 discernstble shifts in broad theoretical orientation can be delineated: o 1 theory argued that disadvantaged groups were genetically inferior to more advantaged groups.  The impetus for genetically based theories was the testing movement, which revealed that, with respect to intelligence (IQ) tests in particular, certain minority groups performed consistently less well than mainstream groups. o Cultural “deficit” theories: minority group cultures were inferior to mainstream culture, and these deficits prevented minority students from performing well on IQ tests and form succeeding in school. o Cultural deficit theories gave way to cultural “difference” theories: no one group’s culture is better or worse than any other.  Because formal schooling was designed to be an extension of mainstream culture, other cultures are at a disadvantage o Tracing “genetic” to “deficit” to “difference” theories is an oversimplification. Genetic Theories: • Genetically based theories of intelligence assume that certain minority groups do not possess the appropriate genes for high intellectual performance and as a consequence do poorly in school and are less suited to a progressive society. • Heated charges and countercharges followed the genetic arguments of group- based intelligence by Jensen (1969), Rushton (1988), Herrnstein and Murray (1994). • Their thesis was so provocative that the Board of ScientificAffairs of the American PsychologicalAssociation wrote a report where they established what was known and what was not known about the nature of human intelligence. • IQ tests produce scores that are relatively stable during development and are predictive of school performance and years of education. • The tests correlate with occupational status, social status, income, job performance, and are implicated in socially undesirable social behaviours. • How individuals and groups score on standard intelligence tests must be taken seriously. • Some ethnic groups perform better on IQ tests than others. • WhiteAmericans perform well, certain Hispanic groups do less well, andAfrican Americans perform least well. • Aboriginal people perform consistently worst than White NorthAmericans. • The performance of different ethnic groups in terms of IQ tests does not always correspond to school achievement. AsianAmericans andAboriginal people • Asian Americans: perform at the same level as Whites on IQ tests but at school they excel • Aboriginal people have the lowest level of school performance of any sizable ethnic group. • Neisser (1996): both heredity and the environment contribute to intelligence. There is little direct evidence for a genetic interpretation of ethnic group differences but it is not clear what aspects of the environment offer a compelling alternative explanation. • The possibility for genetic influences must remain open. • If certain groups are genetically inferior, then the problem lies not with society but with those groups and there is no sense addressing the problem. • Genetically based theories for the academic underachievement and social problems associated with certain ethnic groups tens to be opposed by the vast majority of scholars who view such a position as racist and as empirically unfounded. • The persistence of group differences and the lack of a truly compelling alternative explanation ensure that genetically based theories will not be easily put to rest. WhereAre the Environmentalists? • Genetic theorists present their arguments in a methodical and rational manner designed to lend as much scientific credence to their conclusions as possible. • Scientists, who are outraged by the notion of inherited group inferiority, hoping to deconstruct the genetic argument, respond immediately and emotionally which only serves to weaken their argument. • What is lacking are competing cultural, or more broadly, environmental theories to counteract the genetic position. • Deconstructing genetic theory is half the mission; the other bigger half is constructing an environmental theory with hard data. • All deconstructing does is drive genetic theorists back to the laboratory to counteract criticism. • First criticism: IQ tests were culturally biased in favor of Whites. Genetic theorists argued that if the tests were biased, we would expect low-scoring whites to get difficult items on the test wrong, but low-scoringAfricanAmerican should get a different constellation of items wrong because it is notAfricanAmerican students lack of ability but lack of cultural knowledge that produces poor performance • Results: items that whites found easy,AfricanAmericans also found easy, and both groups had difficulty with the same items. • Perhaps African American students did less well on IQ tests because they were simply less motivated to perform well. • Genetic theorists noted that while whites outperformAfricanAmericans on tests generally, there are nevertheless a few items whereAfricanAmericans not only equal but actually outperform whites. • Environmentalists keep pointing to the weaknesses, which only drives genetic theorists to do more research to address the criticisms. • Current forms of genetic explanations for group-based differences appear far less racist becauseAsians>White>AfricanAmerican • Jared Diamond (1997): arguemt for an environmentalist interpretation of group differences in development o Peoples of Eurasian origin dominate the world in wealth and power. o Other peoples such as the aboriginal inhabitants ofAustralia, the Americas, and southernmostAfrica are no longer even masters of their own lands but have been decimated, subjugated, and in some cases even exterminated by European colonialists. o Diamond wants to know whyAboriginalAmericans,Africans and AboriginalAustralians did not come to dominate the world. o Simple genetic answer: the most intelligent groups advanced o Diamond’s proactive environmental argument begins with what he calls “farmer power”. o Farming means the social unit lives in one place allowing for more children to be born, thereby leading to larger social units. o Overproduction allows for role specification. Such farming groups will have superior power and come to dominate those groups that remain nomadic. o Why did some groups evolve into farmers quicker than others? o Diamond’s thesis: it was strictly a favorable environment that allowed one group to domesticate plants and animals quicker than another. o He explains why aboriginal peoples in northAmerica faced very different ecological challenges from those elsewhere, leading to a clear prediction in terms of social evolution. Cultural Deficit Theory: • Discomfort with genetically based theories soon gave way to what appeared on the surface to be a more socially appropriate explanation of group differences: cultural deficit theory • Idea: groups were equal in terms of inherited intelligence, but certain groups performed poorly in school specifically and in its associated benefits generally because their cultural did not provide an environment that was supportive of academic performance. • It was argues that certain cultures are not merely different but negligent. • The deficit attributed to poor families was that they did not expose their children to an environment that sufficiently rich in stimulation. (which is nonsense) • Stimulus deprivation gave way to deficits about books and reading and supervised instruction and discipline and one-on-one attention. • Initially it was thought that cultural deficit explanation was socially constructive. • If a deficient culture was the enemy, then at least groups could be convinced or compelled to change their culture in “appropriate” ways and thereby raise the academic achievement levels of students. • Responsibility was placed squarely on the shoulders of minority groups, absolving mainstream society of any role in the problem. • The presumption is that Euro-NorthAmerican culture and language (English and French) represents the high-status ideal. • Requiring groups whose members bear the burden of a deficient culture and language to assimilate to this ideal was deemed to be a generous offering to minority group members. Cultural Difference Theory: • Cultural deficit theories have given way to a more egalitarian view that emphasizes cultural relativity or cultural “discontinuity”. • For minority students there is a discontinuity between the culture of home (heritage culture) and the culture of school (mainstream culture). • The discontinuity argument still focuses on cultural differences, but the emphasis has shifted from cultural “deficit” to cultural “difference”. • The cultural difference explanation for the academic underachievement of minority students is appealing in two important respects: o It appears to be egalitarian in terms of culture, crises of identity for minority students arise out of genuine competition between two very different cultures that are respected equally  no one is to blame for the underachievement o Second appeal: it appears to give minority communities some control • Cultural difference theories are predicated on the assumption that it is possible to articulate the essential v
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