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Ch.6 - Identity and Perception
Transcript of Ch.6 - Identity and Perception
Identity & Perception
Not all aspects of identity would be apparent from just looking
Identity answers the "Who am I?" question:
who am I to myself and who am I to others?
Identity: A compilation of your experiences as influenced by the social, political, and cultural factors that frame and mark those experiences
Perception is always mediated through personal experience
e.g. Your particular access to religion might give you a singular worldview, alongside a universe of possibilities
through intra and interpersonal communication.
: How one sees the world as influenced by social, political, cultural experiences that frame him or her (or ze).
We experience the world through communication events.
, meaning each aspect makes the other possible, as mediated through
the stories we tell about ourselves and others.
The idea that
our social reality emerges through our actions
, with our world being created through our
verbal and nonverbal communication.
Who we "are" changes with
(Teacher-me, Student-me, Home-me, Around-parents-me, Party-me, Dancer-me, Son-me, Partner-me, etc.)
In this way,
who I am means different things
Three Comm. Paradigms:
1) Social Construction:
self is the product of the messages
it has encountered over
This theory believes that WE are not the source of our identities, rather,
identity is a symbolic exchange
e.g. Fashion and Health mags give us images that the media tells us are "ideal bodies"- we can choose to accept that big muscles and tight abs are "good" symbols of masculinity or we can refuse or change that view.
Whether you identify with a symbol in the world or not, this theory says that
you get your ideas about what things can and cannot be from cultural symbols in the world.
Two main theories about Social Constructionism:
1. Symbolic Interactionism:
2. Impression Management:
ourselves and others.
tone of voice
how you hold your body
Hygiene (brush teeth/shower, etc.)
Warming up before performing
But above all, in a socially constructed world, there is...
the ability to reproduce or resist social systems
The question becomes on a day-to-day level:
"Will you reproduce stereotypes, make new ones, or resist them?
Three theories or ideas to associate with this:
, and the
the idea that our identity and ability to perceive the world are
Lines above represent cultural categories, places where your various identity markers might intersect.
What does it mean to have an intersectional identity that's poor, white, female, and Southern, versus one where a person is affluent, male, Asian, with a disability, versus being African American, female, Baptist, and from the Midwest?
These positions give us different access to power and culture
Where we stand in relationship to categories of difference
Takes positionality one step further, in order to look at
In the center of a web of relations, is what society would deem as default,
natural or expected - those closer to the center often have more
than those on the outside
For instance, gay and lesbian folks in most states are still fighting for the basic rights that even a civil union would entail, women still do not make as much as men (even though many women also have what's known as a "second shift," and African Americans still disproportionately make up prison populations.
From the outside, one's
allow one to see the
of the systems of power, something that many in the absolute center have a hard time grasping
E.g. If you work your way through college, you're going to respect it a whole hell of a lot more than if you were simply given money for school.
Where we stand in relation to one another within systems of power.
Need to be careful of
identity influences but does not totally define who we are.
E.g. Just because you're white doesn't mean you can't dance, or enjoy country music
1) Who we are is the result of
repeated actions over time
(e.g. gender performances, how you wear your hair, clothing choices, word choices)
Actions are Patterned
(culturally sanctioned acts, our performances are not just individual acts, but exist in a vast cultural matrix (think about the color coding in the US of girl-pink, and boy-blue toys)
3) Performances are
: repeated patterns of human actions (as such, performances have a history--we perform and re-perform holidays of historical significance and rituals like religious services that slowly make us into the people we are with each iteration)
4) We are
Socially Produced Selves
(our identities are built in relationship to each other through labeling and ascription--just as we are
into behaving things like performing gender "properly")
5) Our identities are always in a process of
(not fixed, but changing over time. You are becoming-student, becoming-speakers, becoming-college-graduates, etc.)
is a singular communicative action.
(Ex. Wearing a video game t-shirt one day, deciding to put on makeup one day (or not), or if I was to wear a dress one day while teaching the class)
Performance VS Performativity
is the identity that is formed through repeated individual performances of self. (Ex. If I wore anime shirts every day, I'd have the performativity of an Otaku-or-Having the performativity of a parent, if someone performed as a parent everyday by packing lunch, dropping their kid off at school, helping them with homework, etc.
The Mythical Norm
Metaphor for those who occupy
positions of power
to see someone in the
as the "norm" or "average" (or as desirable)
isn't necessarily or universally true
- it's a myth
Not everyone wants a white picket fence with 2.5 kids and a mortgage - that may have been the fantasy of middle class white baby boomers, but is not the case for many people
These can be broken, as we've seen Obama break the myth that the president had to be a rich white man (though he is still relatively wealthy).
In disability studies, the term "TAB" is used in order to mess with the perceptions of the mythical norm that ableness is a given, standard way of being.