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Identity: Runner Example

Running Vs. Being a Runner
- You can participate in an activity without:
- Identifying with it - Saying/Knowing you do it

- Running, the act that runners do, could be part of another activity
- Soccer players vs. runners
- Intersectionality: Intersection of identities (in this case soccer and runner)
- Relationship between performance, identification, and connection to other activities


Intersectionality Example: Audre Lorde

"I am a black feminist lesbian poet, and I identify myself as such because if there is one other black feminist lesbian poet in isolation somewhere within the reach of my voice, I want her to know she is not alone." - Audre Lorde


What is Identity?

- Identities are social rather than individual constructions
- Heavily influenced by social interaction

- Identity is no longer seen as a single, stable, fixed entity
- "It is a shifting, temporary construction" (Foucault)

- Identity is a performative
- "The act that one does, the act that one performs, is, in a sense, an act that has been going on before one arrived on the scene. Hence, gender and race are acts which have been rehearsed, much as a script survives the particular actors who make use of it, but which requires individual actors in order to be actualized and reproduced as reality once again" (Butler, Gender Trouble)


Identity According to James Gee

- At a given time and place, a person engages in what Gee calls a "combination"

- Combination: Some specific way of combining the following things:
Speaking (or writing in a certain way)

Acting and interacting in a certain way

Using one's face and body in a certain way

Dressing in a certain way

Feeling, believing, and valuing in a certain way

Using objects, tools, or technologies (i.e. "things") in a certain way


Which Identity

- Sex
- Race
- Ethnicity
- Class
- Sexuality
- Gender
- (Dis)Ability
- Age
- Religion
- National Identity
- Regional Identity
- Cyber Identities
- Parental Status
- Interests
- Education
- Jobs
- Professional
- Majors
- Friends
- Family
- Choices
- Values
- Survivor
- Many more


Why Categorize?

- Our social world is very complex and thus presents us with too much information

- Since our capacity to process information is limited, our social world needs to be simplified

- One way to avoid this information overload is through social categorization

- The information is used in social categorization is stereotypes


Stereotype Formation

- Stereotypes: Are schemas about groups of people; Set of characteristics believed to be shared by all members of a social category

- Social categorization simplifies processing


Sociocultural views on stereotypes

- Stereotypes are a salient part of our social and cultural environment

- We learn them through daily interactions, conversations and through the media

- Stereotypes are simplified mental images which act as templates to help interpret the social world

- Stereotyping is an automatic cognitive process


Stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination

- Stereotype: Belief that certain attributes are characteristic of members of particular groups (Cognition)

- Prejudice: A negative (or positive) attitude toward a certain group that is applied to its individual members (Emotion)

- Discrimination: Denial of equal treatment and opportunity of members of a particular group based on their membership in that group (Behavior)


Stereotypes, Prejudice and Discrimination Example

- Stereotype: People in racial group are all bad/stupid/lazy/smart/athletic/rich

- Prejudice: I don't like people in racial group, so I don't like Bob because he is a member of this group

- Discrimination: Bob applied for a job in my company, but I won't hire him, because he's in Racial Group


Social Identity Theory

- Social Identity: Our self-concepts formed by being members of various social groups
- Based on intergroup behaviors rather than interpersonal ones (can have many)


Minimal Group Paradigm

- Assigned randomly to meaningless groups

- Assigned points to anonymous members of both their own and other group

- Even the most minimal conditions were sufficient to encourage ingroup favoritism


Why does identity matter?

- Stereotype threat: Situational predicament in which people are or feel themselves to be at risk of confirming negative stereotypes about their social group


Gender stereotype threat

- Only happens when: You say that gender is important to the task
- The women in question are high identifiers as 'women'

- Seems to be due to effects on working memory
- We are not consciously aware of the effects of stereotype threat
- Thinking about stereotypes others hold of us uses up cognitive resources


When does Identity matter?

- Identity salience: The likelihood the identity will be invoked in diverse situations

- Context matters!


Code Switching

- Code-switching: Occur when a speaker alternates between 2 or more ways of speaking in the context of a single conversation


Revisting Adichie and Identity: Danger

- "That when we reject the single story, when we realize that there is never a single story about any place, we regain a kind paradise"

- Stereotype threat: Situational predicament in which people are or feel themselves to be at risk of confirming negative stereotypes about their social group


The Danger of Multiple Stories

- Stereotype Exception-to-the-Rule: When people see or interact with a person that doesn't conform to a particular stereotype, they make an exception for that particular person


Culture Defined: Geertz, Swindler, Nasir

- Geertz: Culture is a set of public symbolic forms that people can use to express meaning

- Swindler: Culture consists of such symbolic vehicles of meaning, including beliefs, ritual practices, art forms, and ceremonies, as well as informal cultural practices such as language, gossip, stories and rituals of daily life

- Nasir: Constellations of practices historically developed and dynamically shaped by communities in order to accomplish the purposes they value


Culture (General Definition)

- The knowledge, values and traditions that guide the behavior of a group of people and allow them to solve the problems of living in their environment


Starting to connect back

People who share a commonality (those from the same social class, those with a shared history) generate different solution to those problems including
- Different norms
- Rules
- Rituals
- Values such as collectivism
- Social hierarchies
- Roles

All of which collectively define the culture


Cultural Capital

- Refers to the non-financial social assets that promote social mobility beyond economic means
- Education, style of speech, dress, physical appearance
- Linked to status in society


Example of Cultural Capital in Action

- Research Question: What are some of the differences that occur between different upbringings

- Based on Ethnographies looking at the differences in how parents ask their children questions


Role of Questioning

- Middle-class, white parents predominantly ask "known-answer" questions, where the interrogator has the information being requested
- Follows the IRE pattern of Initiate - Response - Evaluate
- Ex: "What is this? A teddy bear! Correct"

- More identification or answering questions to display and practice their knowledge

- Very common pattern in US schools

- Questions may serve a different function and style in homes with working-class African-American children
- Common question forms may include analogy, story-starting, and accusatory questions
- "What's that like?" or "What's he acting like?" rather than "What's that/"

- Assumes children can identify the likeness in things and initiate their own stories

- More metaphorical thinking and narrative exposition


Cultural Capital in action

- Neither approach is deficient, but IRE matches more activities that predominate in elementary school classrooms


Cultural Capital???

The problem isn't that we recognize difference or account for indentity/cultural histories, the problem occurs when we place value on different histories or presume all people of one identity/culture are the same


Implications for Teaching

- Key issue is the idea of essentializing:
- "Matching individual learning style to a particular ethnic group may encourage the idea that patterns of performance derive from the essence of an individual or a group"
- Treating these differences as individual traits encourages overgeneralization


Culturally Relevant Pedagogy (Gloria Ladson-Billings)

Proposes that education should encourage academic success, cultural competence and identification/critique of current social inequities in the community


No single thing called Identity/Culture: Making connections

(Quote from Roeser, Peck and Nasir,2006)

" Social psychological studies of social, or group, identity argue that there is no single thing called identity but rather that psychological representations of the self and the world (e.x., beliefs, values, and schemas related to country of orgin, skin color, cultural norms and practices, sex, age, ability) are encoded in memory as the result of personal and vicarious experiences with those groups, as well as through the process of self-reflection articulated to groupness"