Influence of Culture on Self-Concept
According to Warder, Culture refers to the behavior and belief characteristics of a particular society, community or ethnic group. Culture matters to the extent that it is normal for different experiences to be felt by the individuals in a given society. It is worth noting here that the perspectives in cultural matters usually provide a new insight into the psychological processes. The experiences we go through in life are facilitated by the culture we live in, because culture provides or is the environment which allows all these experiences to take place (Warder, 1996).
Self concept refers to all understanding and knowledge of oneself. The components of self concepts include: psychological, physical and social attitudes, ideas and beliefs that one has. The most influence in terms of self concept is family’s history, basically referring to the culture one has been brought up in, and the experiences he or she has undergone.
Our notions of who-we-are are constant and are quite properly referred to as individual theories that we revise and test according to our own experiences. The implicit theories of oneself may differ from each other systematically between the cultures and times period, which also differ in the roles, socially, and in the experiences provided for an individual. It follows that there may be differences in consumer cross-cultural and cross temporal behavior that occur as a result of differential concepts of oneself (Wendt 1994).
Various studies have been carried out concerning the impact culture may have towards self concept. One such study was carried out by Erdman (2006) using American and Chinese students, requesting them to recall memories and events of their early years of childhood. In his study, Erdman found out that early childhood memories were a big part of self concept. The findings demonstrated that different cultural memories are brought about by early childhood years and persists into adulthood. The differences are formed both in the extended cultural contexts which defines the meaning of the self and the immediate family environment.
In conclusion, culture has such a greater influence on an individual’s life contributing majorly to the self concept of an individual. The influence might either be negative or positive depending on the type of culture that one has been brought up in. It is important that individuals study and appreciate their culture and its contribution in shaping their individual personalities.
Erdman (2006) Study of bisexual identity formation.
Warder, A. (1996) Consumption identity formation and uncertainty sociology. Manchester: Manchester University Press
Wendt (1994) Collective Identity formation and the intersexual state. New York: Rutledge
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