Reflective discussion of concepts Essay Example

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Reflective Discussion of Concepts 7


Reflective Discussion of Concepts

Culture is complex in its entirety; it encompasses morals, beliefs, law, knowledge, art, customs and habits that members of society acquire with time (Hooks, 1990). Cultural studies have complex relationships from where societal information is derived from. Cultural studies offer multi-dimensional factors of the society that are influenced by inter and intra-relationships of man as a member of the society (Hooks, 1990).

Personal Story

During the summer holiday, I decided to take a vacation in the upcountry where I was born and brought up as a native complete with the norms and ways of life of the natives. I had left the capital from where I went to school and spent time with my relatives on short holidays and non-school days. “You have completely changed.” A native once told me when I arrived in the upcountry. We exchanged pleasantries with my siblings as we continued towards my home. “The ways of the people in the capital is not our way of life,” the native relative continued. “You seem to have adopted that new way of life.” He spoke with anger as it had registered throughout his face and voice.

As we approached our home, I enquired of why he thought that I had changed from the ways of our native norms. He then, on a more polite tone, told me of how I was dressed in short and revealing clothes: I had worn a mini skirt instead of a full dress. “That is not our culture; you have adopted a culture of the people in the capital.” He told me. I was perplexed; I wondered how my dressing would be tied to culture. I simply dressed to be smart and feel good. I had no intentions whatsoever of representing any new culture or deviating from the cultural norms of my natives in the upcountry. It emerged to me that the native relative was a senior member of the native’s council.

Identity and Difference

There are several characteristics that can define an individual’s identity. These can either be social that is, sexual orientation, occupation, sex or age. It can also be defined in terms of physical appearance. That is, hair color, color of eyes, height or physical disabilities. Notwithstanding, personality can also be used to define the element of identity. This can be described as, lively, quiet or shy. It can as well be described in terms of occupation, family relationships, religion, and nationality (Bennet, 2005). It should be noted that none of all this is watertight. The above might not fully describe the identity of an individual. An individual might not be well captured by these characteristics. They represent the external characteristics. They do not portray a true individual’s inner self. Ostensibly, the real self exists in independent-state and prior to the characteristics mentioned above.

It is important to distinguish between identity and the individual consciousness. Individual consciousness is a combination of feelings, perceptions and ideas. All of which are internalized. It is acquired in a social context. On the other hand, identity may be pursued by individuals or be bestowed by others (Giles & Middleton, 2008).

Depending on the individual’s different conditions and circumstances, different identities are recognized within these individuals as part of their experiences of work, their sexuality, leisure, family and culture (Williams, 1976). Personally, I am identified with art and culture.

Personal Story

During my formative years, I spent my days in the upcountry village. At the age of 5, I was already enrolled in school, from where my long journey on education and learning process started. When I grew older and passed my examinations, my mentor advised me to consider making an application to a school in the city.

Before long, I received my admission letter and that required me to report with immediate effect or else I lose my chance. I arrived in the city and immediately went straight to my cousin’s place from where I was accommodated during my short and long holidays.

When I got to school on the following morning, I was escorted to the office where I met a warm hearted and kind gentleman with golden hair. He was the school director. He gave me the admission number and a set of uniforms together with 2 pairs of shoes. As I waited for further direction, a certain lady approached me and congratulated me for having qualified to be admitted in the school and in arriving earlier than any other student. “You are a native” she told me. As we continued to chart, an idea struck my mind. I asked her how she concluded that I was a native. “Your accent” she replied. Instead I told her that I came from one of the best schools from a different town. I was puzzled by all these. “There is no difference. You are still a remote native”. She concluded.

I later learned that the lady was a senior teacher of the school. She was in charge of the languages department and the panel of teachers who would interview students for prefects. I was surprised to know that my accent had a correlation with being brought up in upcountry. I was perplexed. I dint speak to express my identity, I was only concerned with acquiring knowledge that is assumed to be that the meaning of identity and depends on the other. Identities cannot be mixed. Difference and identity is about exclusion and inclusion. If you are girl, you cannot be boy; if you are black you cannot be white. Identities have been identified to be contingent and not fixed permanently. They largely depend on what they are related to at that time. This is bound to change over time. This elicits different meanings depending on time and place. For example, the senior teacher used accent, to differentiate from other town students. If it would be in my hometown, the best identity would have been my village.

Relations of Power

From the professor’s conversation, her naming signifies power. She is named from her position as senior teacher within the language department. This is also demonstrated by the senior native council member.

Through this knowledge and logic, individuals have defined and devised mechanisms through which they can think about who they are. For example, the exposed are not described as non-primitive.

Personal Story

During my short holidays from school, I would spend time with my relatives who lived within the capital. After attending to my assignments and school homework, I would help around the house in carrying out the chores and manuals. One evening when my relatives were expecting a visit from a family friend within the capital, we were all assigned roles to perform in order to make the visitors more comfortable during their visit in our house. Given that I like cooking, I took the roles mostly around the kitchen and food preparation. My relative asked to get a different role that would not directly affect the visitors, which could include cleaning the house but not preparing meals for the visitors. This is because I had come from upcountry and therefore, not exposed enough to better ways of preparing delicious meals. This meant that I was primitive and unexposed.

In school, boarding students are rarely described as non-day scholars. But the term day scholars are commonly used to describe students who commute to school daily from home. The difference is in where they stay.

Identity can as well operate in both material and social conditions (Halls, 1992). The markers of difference do have a great impact on the people in their lives. A good example is the way the blacks were treated by the whites in the 19th century. The blacks were inferior to the whites. This was their mark of difference

Reference List

Bennett, T 2005, ‘culture’, in New Keywords: a revised vocabulary of culture and society,

Durie, J 2003, ‘Speaking the silence of whiteness’,
Blackwell, Malden, MA, pp. 63-9Journal of Australian Studies, no. 79, pp.

Giles, J & Middleton, T 2008, ‘Identity and Difference’, in studying culture: a practical

Hall, S 1990, ‘Cultural Identity and Diaspora’, in J Rutherford (ed), Identity: community,
introduction, Blackwell pub., Malden, MA, pp. 31-61

Hall, S 1992, ‘Introduction: identity in question’, in S Hall, D Held & T McGrew (eds),
culture, difference, Lawrence & Wishart, London, pp. 222-37

Hooks, B 1990, ‘Marginality as site of resistance’, in R Ferguson, M Gever, TT Minh-ha &C
Modernity and its futures, Polity Press, Cambridge, pp. 274-325

West (Eds), Out there: marginalization and contemporary cultures, New Museum of

Williams, R 1976, ‘Culture’, in Keywords: a vocabulary of culture and society, Fontana/Croom
Contemporary Art, New York, pp. 341-3

Helm, London, pp. 76-82