Cultural Identity Paper Assignment




Requirements: six to eight pages, essay format, conforming to the Assignments: policy in the course syllabus.

This paper is about how our various cultural identities shape us, our behavior, and our communication.


It will require you to examine:


§         The cultural patterns (Kohl’s and Hofstede’s) that reflect your communal identity’s general beliefs and values


§         The beliefs, values, and norms that you have been taught as a member of your communal identity and social groups (all the components of your “tribe’s” worldview)


§         Hall’s three levels of identity (Communal, Social/Relational, Personal) as they apply to you


This is not to be an autobiography or the story of your family’s history.


Think of this paper as an ethnography of a culture and its members in which you describe and interpret the attributes and members’ behavior to those who are not familiar with them. The twist is that the subject culture/s is your own, and the attitudes, values, beliefs, and behavior you are examining are your own.

Since you’ll be writing about your specific Communal  Identity (essentially, the kids you grew up with who share your gender, ethnicity and location), no citations from our textbook or other sources can be used. No one has written about your specific Communal Identity before, therefore any cites or scores from our text book or other sources will be inaccurate as they deal only with national identities.


The elements of culture and identity that are required to be examined are:




I.                 COMMUNAL IDENTITY

Your culture’s or your co-culture’s beliefs, values, and norms; not just yours! 
Communal means “shared,” so you’ll share these beliefs, values and norms with those who share your communal identity. This is not about Americans in general. The textbook has already done that group. This first section is about your specific communal identity, which you can determine by filling in the five identities below:


1.    Your communal identity (generally, the kids you grew up around)  = The five categories you were born, or brought into, in the other four identities below (Ch. 7)


1)      The name of your culture – *Please define, in your opinion, what this and each of the other four identities below means.

2)      ethnicity or co-culture

3)      gender

4)      generation

5)      region         


2.      Kohls’ Values Americans Live By (Ch. 6)

What are these for your communal identity and how do they show up for those who share your communal identity?

*(remember to list these as contrasts, e.g. Personal Control over the Environment vs. Fate:  knowing the opposite value will help keep you on track in using accurate examples for your Communal ID’s values)

3.      Hofstede’s Indices (Ch. 6)

What are these for your communal identity and how are they apparent for those who share your communal identity?



The specific organizations and groups that have shaped you and how they have shaped you (Ch. 7)


 Identify each of the groups you belong to, or have belonged to, and what effects they have had on your behavior and your communication.

1.                family

2.                religion

3.                schools

4.                jobs

5.                clubs, interest groups

6.                sports, etc.




Just you…what makes you unique? (Personal introspection and evaluation required)


 How your own individual:

1.      experiences,

2.      attributes, and abilities shape and influence your own personal/individual identity;

3.    these will have helped shape your own

a.     personal beliefs,

b.     values,

c.     norms,

e.     perceptions about life, the universe, and other people and groups.

4.    These effects will also be evident in how and with whom you are willing to communicate. Discuss this.




Paper Evaluation Criteria



Your paper will be graded on the following four criteria (weighted as shown):

1.     Communal Identity 50% (how well you identify these shared aspects of your communal identity’s Worldview)

2.     Social/Relational Identities - 20% (how well you develop these identities and their attributes and effects upon you)

3.     Personal Identities - 20% (how well you develop these influences and their effects upon you)

4.     Writing Quality 10% (how well you write, format, proofread, and express yourself as a 200-level college student)