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Ch.6 - Identity and Perception

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Samuel Sloan

on 28 July 2016

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Transcript of Ch.6 - Identity and Perception

Comm. Chapter 6
Identity & Perception
Not all aspects of identity would be apparent from just looking
Self
can be
multiple
and
fragmented
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
And so,
Identity
Influences
Perception
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
Identity
and
Perception
are
intertwined
through intra and interpersonal communication.
Perception
: 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.
Identity
Communication
Perception
Identity
and
Perception
form a
co-constitutive relationship
, meaning each aspect makes the other possible, as mediated through
communication:
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
collective
verbal and nonverbal communication.
Who we "are" changes with
context
(Teacher-me, Student-me, Home-me, Around-parents-me, Party-me, Dancer-me, Son-me, Partner-me, etc.)
In this way,
Identity
is
fragmented:
in different
situations,
who I am means different things
Three Comm. Paradigms:
1) Social Construction:
The
self is the product of the messages
it has encountered over
past interactions
.
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:
George
Herbert
Mead
Erving
Goffman
We literally
build
an
impression
of ourselves
for
ourselves and others.
Front Stage
Behaviors:
Articulation
posture
tone of voice
proper gesturing
how you hold your body
Back Stage
Behaviors:
Clothing selection
Hygiene (brush teeth/shower, etc.)
Warming up before performing
But above all, in a socially constructed world, there is...

Agency
:
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:
Positionality
,

Standpoint theory
, and the
Mythical Norm
.
2nd Paradigm:
Cultural Location
the idea that our identity and ability to perceive the world are
culturally
seated
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
Positionality:
Where we stand in relationship to categories of difference
Takes positionality one step further, in order to look at
power.
In the center of a web of relations, is what society would deem as default,
"normal,"
natural or expected - those closer to the center often have more
privilege
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
marginalized standpoints
allow one to see the
complexity
and
inequity
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.
Standpoint Theory
:
Where we stand in relation to one another within systems of power.
Need to be careful of
Stereotyping:
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)
2) These
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
Rituals
: 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
socially disciplined
into behaving things like performing gender "properly")
5) Our identities are always in a process of
Becoming
(not fixed, but changing over time. You are becoming-student, becoming-speakers, becoming-college-graduates, etc.)
3rd Paradigm:
Performance
A
performance
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
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.
Privilege Walk?
Optional Activity:
The Mythical Norm
Audre
Lorde
Metaphor for those who occupy
positions of power
in society
to see someone in the
center
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.
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