ERIC Number: ED336690
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Apr
Adolescents' Conceptualization of Self/Culture in the Wake of Bi-Culturalism: An Exploratory Cross-Cultural Study.
Historically, the definition of culture has been a much debated issue for anthropologists. While some anthropologists define culture as being invisible to the subject, others have conceptualized culture as knowledge and symbol. This study explores the ways in which culture reveals itself to another culture. Subjects (N=24) were first generation immigrant children and immigrant children living in the borough of Queens in New York City. Subjects, who were ages 13-15, were interviewed regarding their experiences of being bicultural in the United States. The interviews were structured to enable the subjects to define and reflect on their intuitive understanding of a variety of abstract relationships: self/other, self/culture, own culture/alien culture, and so on. Analyses of the interviews indicated that individuals locate themselves in a cultural matrix and have an understanding, at varying conceptual levels, that the basis for their behavior, thought, and thought processes is cultural. In the wake of biculturalism one observes the changing self, and recognizes the cultural ramifications. As a result self/culture are tightly intertwined; understanding of one leads to an understanding of the other. Such an understanding is triggered by facing the otherness, being seen and understood by the other. The narratives of the subjects also indicated that one understands self with varying degrees of differentiation and hierarchic integration, as a cultural being, connected to and determined by various cultural institutions. Such an awareness of cultural ramifications may be unique, if not exclusive to their experiences in their adopted land. (LLL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (Seattle, WA, April 18-21, 1991).