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When we talk about the common culture. here between ethnic groups. it is the way we learn to become members of a society. accepting the social norms and behaviors of society. People’s earliest interactions with others. especially in particular places and particular times. especially . it is a dynamic concept . Socialization is a key concept in understanding our identity in the society we live in today. are seen as more important than others. Woodward (1997) states that “Identity are marked by differences but it seems some differences. the most fundamental form of identity is the identity of ethnicity of an individual. it is manifested by shared language. created the pathway to discover and establish their identity as individuals as well as members of groups. Hence. It is important to note at this juncture that all of these elements need to be shared for people to identity with a specific group. In another word. history. geography and physical characteristics (1997A). and may vary depending on the environment to which the sense of ethnicity is being applied. which entails the understanding of one’s membership in society. Woodward (1997) states that “Culture shapes identity through giving meaning to experience.Introduction It is a very important part of human development to inquire about our personal and social identity. which has a common culture.”.” And that’s is why I am always fascinated by how culture shapes an individual giving one an identity in society. Besides social and cultural identity.

which is different from mine in Singapore. I will be discussing this relationship and the reasons as to why he believes that they are important.when I observe my wife and her family members belonging to the Indian community of a different ethnic group in a multicultural society. . to school on a regular school day. identity and cultural differences. an Indian and an Educator by profession . allowing its members to gain meaning from the objects and ideas around them. Howitt and Julian (2002) states that “Culture generally refers to the values. dress. technology. my wife. has never worn an Indian traditional costume – the Saree. work and even think. who belongs to a specific caste of the Indian community. Although we are individuals living in Singapore and seen as belonging to the minority of the Indian community. he claims that there is an interrelationship between language. And further suggests that it as “ways of thinking. In Stuart Hall’s articles (1997).2). I base my writing on reality checks of our lives in Singapore -a multi racial society. I am married to my wife. Living in a multiracial society. we have learnt to blend in harmoniously in the way we portray ourselves – the way we speak. arts. And In my review on his paper. For instance. feeling and behaving are connected to the shared knowledge of a society. laws and beliefs that bond a society” (p. Till date Anthropologists and other scholars are constantly debating the definition of culture till today. our difference in ethnicity various quite to an extend.

one of the issues that they face is a set of beliefs that marked themselves in behaviors that differ from their own. As Stuart Hall’s states “our cultural identities reflect the common historical experiences and shared cultural codes which provides us as “one people”…” (1997). This is her first identity as an individual. As individuals come across a culture which is different from their own culture. It may be because of the fear of being stereotyped and the need to be accepted.Although. how the values of society that they believed to be right were taught to her. Being brought up in a traditional Indian family. Making adjustments here and there to blend in a multiracial country like . although we embrace the Indian culture close to our heart. According to Hall(1997B). she has been greatly influenced by the values and history of Indian culture in which she was born and bred at home. As such. This was the foundation of her identity on whom she really is today. that she chooses to go with the crowd. Her future depended upon how they brought her up. it doesn’t suit the environment and to the profession. it is quite acceptable in a multi-racial country like Singapore. I observed that she sees herself as a Singaporean first. However. besides being a woman. it should be noted that they are the circumstances within which people operate and make sense of the world. She was solely influenced by her family. an individual’s own culture is most of the time invisible to the individual himself or herself. we are influenced by the culture where we live in. who taught the basics of the society and culture she was to grow up in.

We can evaluate culture as constitute of values. This helps them to be rooted to their origin and their ancestral beginnings. beliefs. daughter. yet not loosing our very own innate identity at the same time of “what we are “. wife. The cultural environment brings out another one of her multiplicity within her.Singapore . always in process” (1997B). and identified to be. Not so much the status attached to the caste she comes from but the pride of who she is and her origin. Indians. . The cultural influence has brought about yet another identity of a woman within her. To add further. Hall has clearly stated in his literature that “identity is a production which is never complete. This has a greater impact on who they are. they undergo constant transformation” (1997B). are further influenced by the caste system. My wife takes every opportunity to dress up in the traditional costume on occasions like wedding functions. This is an innate quality that I see in almost all Indian women in Singapore. “like everything which is historical. She comes from a dominant Indian ethnic group – “Telugu” and is often conscious in terms of their caste system. which is not seen in her daily routines as an employee. family gatherings and of course religious meetings. we are all always learning and making fine adjustments which is a process itself. mother etc. A strong career-minded woman is now a soft feminine and very elegant in the way she carries herself in her saree. ideas about appropriate behavior and socially constructed truths. whether in Singapore or any parts of the world. and “what we have become”.

these identities are not fixed or static.To further elaborate. All peoples have unique identities that have been developed within their specified cultures. and complements both a small or fuller frame. I would like to discuss on the traditional outfit of Indian women which has never failed to amaze me on how they shape up the identity and the unspoken language. The sari is extremely graceful and looks flattering. • Distinctive identity . The subtle look. • Saree – the shared meaning of femininity and elegance in Indian Society Saree is the most popular and beautiful outfit of women for Indians. Individual cultural identity poses yet another layer of complexity.the quality of sarees and its status representation in society. its auspicious looks and rich quality gives the woman a royal and special feeling. the feel of dignity and elegance makes it a treasured collection among women of all ages. Even members of the same culture vary significantly in their beliefs and actions. “Kanchipuram” sarees represent Indian ethnic fashion and can easily replace designer wedding dresses. . However. While draping this outfit.

Wearing a Kanchipuram saree on a special occasion is a symbol of affluence and status for a woman. Language . musical notes. ideas and feelings.There are sarees. Language. In the Indian Culture. it doesn’t show the status and thus shows the identity of the individual wearing it and stereotyped as lacking in taste and reveals their cultural influence and worse. made of cotton and synthetic costing as low as $30. wearing a silk kancheepuram saree depicts status. even objects – to represent to other people their concepts. can only be shared by means of the people’s common access to language. Although it gives the same elegance. is the “privileged medium” where people make sense of things. written words. As for Hall(1997A). in addition. in relation to culture. In language. Advertisement in . culture is all about “shared meanings”. at times their caste. These culture of beliefs and ideas have produced to the dynamic nature of culture. in which meaning is produced and exchanged. people use signs and symbols – may be sounds. The stunning texture and color of kanchipuram sarees reflects the glamour and high status of the wearer.representational system Language works in a representational system. Meanings. electronically produced images. which is regarded as the prime repertory of cultural values and meanings. language is considered to be the heart of meaning and culture. Therefore.

especially in cultural studies has a tendency of highlight on the significance of meaning when defining “culture”. in today’s society speaks the status in the shared ethnic community. music –the “high culture” of an age. Hence. which are represented in the works of literature. culture has been traditionally defined as to “embody the best that has been taught and said” in a society”.1997). Kanchipuram sarees are usually at the high end ranging from $300 to $1500 which are advertised in media and technology. .1997A). concepts and feelings are represented in a culture. it should be noted that the representation through language is fundamental to the processes by which meaning is produced. Culture is also said to be one of the most complicated concepts in the field of human and social sciences. magazines.magazines and TV further has continued to enhance the century. and “ the identities positioned within and by representational systems are closely interconnected” (Hall. Kanchipuram sarees is one of the world famous varieties of premier Indian sarees. paintings but seen as a process which involves a set practices. Language is actually one of the media through which beliefs. art and paintings. “Media can be seen as providing us with the information which it tells us what it feels like to occupy a particular subject position” (Hall. and the type of quality the wearer chooses.old tradition of wearing sarees. The term “cultural turn”. fiction. Culture is often argued that it is not a set of things like news. However.

there will always be a fair amount of varieties in meanings of any topic. According to Hall (1997A). Those who come from a lower caste or of lower social status do not see it the same way as one who is from a higher social status on the quality of saree one chooses to wear. wearing a traditional kancheepuram saree is often means status to those who share the meanings of it representation in the same way. it should be noted that culture depends on its members who translates the meanings of happenings around them in a reflective manner and making sense of the world in ways that are similar. that is the giving and taking of meanings. attachment and emotions. culture is associated with the production and exchange of meanings. Culture deals with feelings. as well as in any. As mentioned earlier. as well as many ways of representing it. So her choice is intertwined with her feelings and attachment towards what has been taught to . In Indian culture. it means that both these individuals understand their surroundings in the similar ways and feelings and can easily express themselves. their thoughts and feelings that will be understood by both. My wife always wants to uphold the tradition and cultural beliefs that her parents have left behind. When we say that the two individuals belonging to the same culture.In a nutshell. between the members of the group or society who share the same meanings. This concentration on “shared meanings” sometimes makes culture too unitary and cognitive.

The Indian community perceives one of belonging to higher social status and traditional background in Singapore. based on you’re the way are dressed .her. Cultural meanings are not only in the way they think. but they are processed from the stage of organizing and standardizing social practices. is a representation of who she is – her identity: what she is feeling. that relatives and friends of our Indian community who attend our immediate family functions got eh extra mile to be dressed in their best Kancipuram sarees as compared to the other functions they attend. it is essential to focus on cultural practices as well.her emotions: as well as which group she feels she belongs to – her attachment. which can be interpreted by others in her community. They want to be accepted in the whole and blend in the social context of the community and got through the process of change with time. things she was exposed in her growing years. When we talk about culture.for instance. identity and language. objects and events. along with concepts and ideas she strongly beliefs to be hers and this definitely defines her identity. The members of a specific culture are the ones to give meaning on people. I’ve noticed over these years being married to my wife . when attending a wedding ceremony. Even if you are holding a good position in . How my wife carries herself in her traditional costume in a particular place at a particular time. thus influencing the conduct of others which in turn gives rise to practical implications.

It is the individual use of things and what they say. It can be understood that it is by this framework of interpretations that people bring meaning to objects. think and feel about them. your identity is usually represented by your tradition and cultural upbringing. As per my example. people and events. “The circuit of culture” (p. So it has become very important in our society with whom we interact on the values they place on us as well as the way they classify and conceptualize us. in other words how people represent them that people give meaning to them.2). It is the people’s perception that gives meanings and these meanings are dynamic. it is true to some extend that people give meaning to things with regards to how they incorporate such things into their lives.your professional life. .

such as international communication by the use technologies. which is responsible for passing meanings between different cultures on an escalating scale. Meanings are constantly produced and exchanged in every interaction. it is to be noted that in all circumstances. Meanings as given in my example are also produced in different mode of media. In my example. Representation Identity Regulation Production Consumption The circuit of culture proposes that meanings are produced at different sites and passed through set of processes and practices. language spoken or unspoken continues to the media throughout to circulate meaning which is . People incorporate the meanings that are produced in different ways into their day to day activities. both personal and social.

It is in the culture of Indian to acknowledge elders and bow to them as a mark of respect. It is evident that culture and language connects to identity of an individual on the question on “What am I. identity and language in the field of social sciences has helped us to understand various meanings and their shared meanings of things.1998. p. Conclusion I have discussed with the examples of Indian culture on costume and hospitality to show the interrelationship of culture. Therefore people regard language as a “symbol of their social identity” (Kramch. who am I etc’.produced. acquired from their culture. events and actions.3). It is in every Indian. we may be able comprehend fully how meanings have been produced and transmitted as well as how they relate to one’s identity and culture in our society. And it is through culture that one forms his or her identity. They are to be invited into the house and offer a drink putting aside their animosity. The relevance of interrelationship between culture. to serve even an enemy if they were to call at your doorstep. . This culture of hospitality expressed by Indians give us an identity throughout which has been communicated and transmitted through shared meanings which is “language” in itself. identity and language. Drawing on Stuart Hall’s idea of interconnection.

(ed. pp.References Hall. S. Howwit.2-54. K.) Identity and Difference. In Woodward. Australia:Heinemann Society and Culture. pp. (1997) Introduction. (1997) Cultural identity and diaspora.8-21. . S. (2002). Hall.) Identity and Difference. pp.3-14. R. (ed. pp. C. London: SAGE Publication. Woodward. In Woodward. In Language and Culture. London: SAGE Publication. K. Oxford: oxford university Press. (1997) Intoduction in Hall. (ed.) Representation:Cultural representations and signifying practices. Society and Culture.51-59. (1998) The relationship of language and culture. S. B. K. pp1-11. & Julian. Kramsch. London:Sage.