Multilayered cultural identity and the perception of the self
OppiaineIntercultural Communication (maisteriohjelma)Master's Degree Programme in Intercultural Communication
This qualitative study examines the reciprocal relationship between a person’s multilayered cultural identity (MCI) and the concept of self (CoS), that is presented purely on a theoretical level and encompasses various theories. Nowadays, in an increasingly globalising world, it is not enough to merely look at a national, ethnic or other type of identity. It is important to realise that there are different layers in an identity that one can view themselves through. The ways an individual perceives themselves through their multicultural background can also be different. This thesis helps identify the ways a person can see themselves. The thesis also attempts to explain the varied nature of one’s self-perception, and the ways in which multilayered cultural identity can be manifested through self-perceiving. The way the literature review was conducted was through a partial approach to scope literature available on the topic for this study. In the process of examining the phenomenon, views of various authors have been presented on this subject. As a result of the comparison and analysis of different theories, it appears the term ‘multilayered cultural identity’ does not, in fact, exist in the modern literature. Instead, it is often used as ‘multicultural identity’ (MI). Nevertheless, this study would like to emphasise the structure, i.e. the layered nature of a cultural identity (CI) (identity’s capacity to be built layer-by-layer). Regardless the absence of the MCI in the modern literature, the focal constituting components of the concept (namely, culture and identity) have been described and discussed in various sources. Therefore, this thesis takes a look at each of the concept’s components separately and presents a mutual interplay between them with regards to the CoS. Since the field of intercultural communication is interdisciplinary, the scope of theories applied in describing and explaining the phenomenon is broad. It covers such fields as psychology, intercultural communication, and culture and gender studies. As a result of applying the theories, it has been found that there are at least four different ways of one’s self-perception; when an individual’s perceptions appear to be loyal; as possessing a situational identity; as an absence of the multilayered perception and; as split and doubled perceptions. There are correlations between self-esteem and the way an individual perceives themselves. A ‘group’ and the ‘other’ play an important role in the majority of perceptions.
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