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What is the role of gender, class, race and ethnicity in the cultural construction of one's identity - Essay Example

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Culture is a complex term that has several dimensions. Due to its multiple fields and branches, it has especially become difficult to define culture in respect to a specific idea…
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What is the role of gender, class, race and ethnicity in the cultural construction of ones identity
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What is the role of gender, class, race and ethnicity in the cultural construction of one's identity

Download file to see previous pages... Culture is a complex term that has several dimensions. Due to its multiple fields and branches, it has especially become difficult to define culture in respect to a specific idea. The definition that is accepted by many disciplines of Anthropology is one proposed by British Anthropologist Edward Tylor according to whom, “complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society” (McCleonon, 1998, p.528). Although vague in definition, the broad patterns of culture are observed within the makeup and function of societies. These pattern configurations are the basis of cultural differences that distinguishes and authenticates particular groups of individuals. A pioneer of American anthropology, Alfred Kroeber asserts that these patterns within culture are simply arrangements of interdependent systems of internal relationships which serve to give any culture its coherent definition and are what seem to be the most productive in terms of distinguishing and formulating culture. What distinguish culture from society as a whole are the learned and shared concepts of culture found in its concept of customs and beliefs (Kroeber, 1952, p. 3-11).At a reductionist level of culture lie the individuals who give meaning to culture and whose identity in turn is built upon the cultural constructionism of these cultural patterns...
According to Urdy (1994), gender can be described as a term that indicates towards a borderline between males and females, which is characterized with the support of distinctive features. Recognition of gender, sexuality, societal appearance and other types of distinctive features, all come under the title of gender as a term. Although the gender manifestation of sex does have biological significance, gender in its full definition is a social construct much like race. Upton (2011) explains that every society has its own characteristics and a gender defines the roles of people in a society. Male and female have different roles, their physical features can be comprehended and utilized diversely, their functions are different and their relationships are different, all the features need to be understood with clarity. In light of its social construction and fluidity, gender has become an element that individuals continue to use in order to determine their identity and in which they categorize others as a way of coming to terms with their respected cultures. This process of self-identification varies among cultures. In her inspirational case study termed “Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies” (1935), Margaret Mead is able to find out that culture plays a major role in settling on the temperamental diversities between males and females and describes that the differences are not internal but externally defined by means of culture. Mead discovered differing patterns of male and female behavior among three distinct New Guinea cultures that were Arapesh, Biwat and Mundugmor and her findings show that all deviated from the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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