К содержанию номера журнала: Вестник КАСУ №2 - 2011
Автор: Богоченко Оксана Владимировна
situation in the modern world is characterized by significant expansion of political,
cultural and economical contacts between different states so that a personality,
which is still in the process of development, is in a very difficult situation,
because it is influenced by variety of norms and values of other cultures,
different cultural forms, styles and directions. In the network of these
processes we feel widening of interaction, interdependence and interpenetration
of cultures and nations. It is far to say that the impact of globalization in
the cultural sphere can lead to blending of cultures and disappearance of their
cultural and ethnic diversity, unique customs and traditions. Typically, it has
been associated with the destruction of cultural identities, victims of the
accelerating encroachment of a homogenized, westernized, consumer culture.
Those people who are studying foreign languages and cultural peculiarities of
English-speaking countries sometimes people treat their own culture, language,
customs, and norms of behavior scornfully. A personality can get lost among the
other cultures’ priorities. That’s why the problem of tolerant attitude towards
different cultures and at the same time keeping your own cultural identity is
the most important socio-cultural objective of our society, especially taking
into consideration a wide range of nationalities living in Kazakhstan, this
question is of more value for us.
into the world community and the process of construction of the Democratic
society poses for the Kazakhstan educational system a new purpose, that of
educating students capable to identify themselves not only as the
representatives of their national culture living in the concrete country, but
also as citizens of the world participating in the dialogue of cultures and
realizing their role, importance and responsibility in global universal
processes. This problem is especially actual for preparation of skilled
pedagogical personnel which by nature of professional work should be able to
act as subjects of cultures’ dialogue. This is the reason why the question of
cultural identity is becoming more and more important, and we are to solve it
as on a global level of the state, so on the level of every educational
institution, especially speaking about cultural identity of students of linguistic
and pedagogical universities.
notion “cultural identity” has relatively recently appeared in pedagogical
literature in 90-s of the XXth century, and very often it’s replaced by a
variety of close, but not identical meanings. Before trying to determine this
term, we are to understand what the term culture means. Many scientists define
culture as an environment where cultural identity is formed.
“Philosophical dictionary” culture means the system of historically developing
programs of human’s activity, behavior and communication, as the condition of
reproduction and change of social life [1; p. 271].
to M. Collier and M. Thomas culture is the historically transmitted system of
symbols, meanings and norms [2; p. 99-122]. It means that every group of
people, which claims to be a culture, should stick to some concrete rules.
There are lots of different types of cultures even within one country. They
could be formed by a range of indicators, according to: their professions or
occupations (ex.: the culture of teachers, journalists or workers), their
geographical position (citizens of Ust-Kamenogorsk, Astana, or rural and urban
residents), religion (Muslims, Christians, atheists), origins (immigrants,
immigrants in the second generation, “oralmans”), social status (elite, middle
class, unemployed), political views (liberals, democrats and etc), ethnicity
(Asian, European). Thereby we can associate every individual in line with all
there is no straightforward relationship between cultural identity and social
concepts such as Religion, Family and Gender. Our identities are embedded in a Web
of Identity , which is a visual representation of the intersection between
identity and society (picture 1).
1. Web of Identity (Livesey, 2004)
The Web of
Identity illustrates that the interaction between identity and social structure
is complex and multi-layered. Individuals are surrounded by large social
forces; they live out their lives, making decisions and choices but have
limited options available to them. Our identity is for the most part influenced
by our social surroundings, as the forces of the social collective are much
greater than the will of the individual to construct his or her own identity.
The number of
elements forming cultural identity is variable, that’s why every person can
simultaneously be associated with many groups. Thus we distinguish collective
and individual cultural identity. The greater experience of multicultural
communication and broader a socio-cultural position of a person (ex: I’m – a
student, I’m – a citizen of Kazakhstan, I’m – a citizen of the whole world),
the better he or she understands his/her role, place, significance and
responsibility in global universal processes.
In this context
cultural identity of students is very important because the principles of their
life are affected by processes of commercialization and entrepreneurship, that
causes various problems: a person loses the stability of his inner world, his
spiritual and moral values. In such conditions cultural identity helps students
to realize and defend their position, to accept universal values, and to pose
educational and creative goals, contributory to their spiritual progress, to
realize the importance of all subjects studied at the university in
personality with rather steady moral position can realize his activity in the
dialogue of cultures, due to which happens the formation of a moral man of
culture. The influence of cultural factors on a person is not one-sided
process, because a person isn’t an object, but a subject of activity and his
interaction with cultural facts is dialogic [4; p.64].
There is a variety
of definitions on “cultural identity” given by Kazakh, Russian and American
authors, let’s consider the most popular and current thinking on this issue.
Grigoriev “cultural identity of adolescent can be understood as his cultivation
and nurture of himself in the field of cultural circumstances of his life” [5;
p. 1-4]. This researcher applies the notion of cultural identity in the process
of pedagogical support of development of tolerance of senior-schoolchildren.
For this purpose he uses texts of everyday life culture, firstly these are the
texts of arts (literature, music, cinema), secondly, mass-media texts (TV,
newspapers, magazines etc.), thirdly, texts of youth subcultures.
describes the cultural identity as “certain traits of a group, represented in a
concrete situation and thereby putting an individual into the group’s members,
also the recognition of the person’s place in the spectrum of cultures and the
activity, aimed at adding oneself on one or another group’s membership”. He
suggests that to identify oneself culturally means to realize oneself as a
subject of native and studying foreign cultures [6; p. 1]. He also advocates cultural
identity as one of the components of bilingual socio-cultural competences [6;
regards that cultural identity is “a process of realization and creations of
individual’s view-system in cultural area about his place and cultural content
of communication in this area” [7; p. 56]
identity”, according to Stuart Hall can be viewed through two different ways.
The first position views cultural identity in terms of one shared culture,
reflecting typical historical experiences and shared cultural codes. Further,
these cultural codes and mutual historical experiences “provide us, “as one
people”, with stable, unchanging and continuous frames of reference and
meaning” [8, p.393]. The second point of view relies mostly on the individual’s
experience of their culture. Through this view, culture is always changing, it
is not static as claimed by the first definition. “Far from being eternally
fixed in some essentialised past, they are subject to the continuous ‘play’ of
history, culture and power” [8, p. 394]. We all write and speak from a particular
place and time, from a history and a culture that is specific to us, in other
words from a “position of enunciation”. The ‘black experience’ which Hall
refers to as a commonly shared history and ideology, pendant on color, is in
reality something which relies heavily on individual experience, and each
experience in this case is context positioned. For example, the black
experience of a Jamaican and an African living in Britain will be different
even though they are both black. Hall talks about the synthesis of cultures, of
having an original culture that is dominated by a colonizing culture and the
result being an integration of the two into something completely new. This
mixture is the essence of what makes up-to-date Jamaica. People can’t return to
the mystical origins of an idealized time in history and ignore the influences
of the colonial invasion.
On the assumption
of all the definitions of cultural identity given above, we can approach the
cultural identity as the process and the result of a personal choice and
appropriation of values system, providing a person’s readiness for
intercultural dialogue of cultures and acknowledgement of his/her cultural identity
[6; p. 2].
We are exploring
the process of student’s cultural identity in a broader scale: in the network
of native culture and the culture of studying language countries. Because language
– is a cultural phenomenon, and the culture is transmitted from generation to
generation by means of a language. That’s why we can state that there is a
natural link between the language of representatives of a certain social class
and their culture and cultural identity. With the help of pronunciation,
accent, vocabulary, word choice, using of grammatical structures, topics of
discussions, points of view and etc we can determine the person’s belonging to
different social, political, ethnic groups. For example, using the words like
cool = excellent, good deal; sucks = bad; to be geeked = to be really excited
about something, etc. in speech can characterize young people, as it’s the
youth slang. Therefore a language factor will take a great part in the process
of bilingual education of students. Jugging by language, participants of
intercultural communication will form their attitude towards cultural identity
of an interlocutor [9; p. 44]. For this reason studying the culture of a
multicultural society, such as American, European or Asian, we should pay
attention towards the spectrum of cultures, and studying the ways and strategies
of self-determination of cultural groups and interaction with their representatives.
It promotes their better understanding of foreign cultures and forming the
tolerance towards the participants of communication. And it’s very important
for such countries as Kazakhstan, where about 130 nationalities exist
peacefully, to maintain the state’s stability and the development of
multicultural person which is stated at the “Conception of ethno cultural
education” and appears to be the key-purpose in our pedagogy today.
consideration the fact that cultural identity is one of the results of multicultural
education, it makes especially favorable conditions for cultural identity of
students of linguistic pedagogical professions if it is organized on the model
of education which: takes account of socio-cultural peculiarities of co-learned
languages and cultures and the cognitive aspect of mastering the foreign
country’s culture by means of native and foreign languages; uses
problematically-oriented model of educational process where different types of
communicative and problem-solving tasks dominate, including tasks on multicultural
development of students.
in the process of language multicultural education means the ability of students
themselves as the subjects in native environment;
• understand that
group belonging changes depending on the context of communication;
• reveal cultural
similarities between representatives of cultural groups;
• determine their
own place, role, significance and responsibility in global universal processes;
• initiate and
take an active part against cultural aggression, discrimination and vandalism.
Sysoyev offers six
conceptual points of identity . It consists of cognitive, reflective, behavioral
and moral components; it can be individual and group; it’s multidimensional and
multifaceted; dynamic; can be natural or artificial, conscious unconscious; it
regulates variants of acceptability and variety.
In the theory and
methodology of teaching foreign languages these conceptual points and frames of
cultural identity can be used for:
• development of
modeling of universal thinking;
• choosing of
didactic material for ELT programs;
• choosing topics
• development of
problem-solving tasks contributing to student’s cultural identity on the basis
• introduction of
problem-solving tasks aimed at writing and oral opinions about oneself;
• introduction of
problem-solving tasks aimed at giving students some ideas on cultural diversity
as a norm of coexistence of cultures in the modern multicultural world.
The process of
cultural identity of students by means of foreign language doesn’t mean that
they should change their cultural or group identity. By the moment of teaching
some types of identity, such as gender or ethnic, will have been formed. It’s
important that students come to recognition of belonging to a concrete cultural
group and know what kinds of expectations the society has towards representatives
of these groups. A foreign language gives unique conditions for a secondary socialization
of learners, and it’ll play a specific role for their awareness of all existing
variants of behavior according to every type of the culture in a co-studying of
native and foreign cultures. Here, in Kazakhstan, we have at least three major
cultures: Kazakh, Russian and English obligatory studying at every school, so
we are to think carefully about didactical content of programs for English
language classes, which influences on forming their cultural identity.
can act as an approach to foreign language teaching and its main goal as an
approach will be to provide students with knowledge about major cultural groups
of foreign countries, their own cultural identity and technologies of changing
their own cultural identity in the dialogue of cultures.
Teaching a foreign
language culture would be more efficient for formation of cultural identity if
it starts with closer types of foreign cultures for students, and only then
passes to more distant types, thereby teaching them to appreciate their peers
form foreign countries not as representatives of “different” or “alien”
countries, but as contemporary and citizens of one world, united by mutual
values, interests, occupations, problems and solutions. It will be of great
interest to represent the culture of political organizations, social layers of
population, such as workers, doctors, teachers, etc., but it will help students
in creating a real portrait of studying culture and broaden out their knowledge
about all existing cultures. But Sysoyev notes in his article [9; p.46], that
all the comparisons are to be held not on the principle of “good” and “bad”,
but according to the presence and absence of some facts in a foreign and native
cultures. Here, the main role of a teacher will be to explain the tendencies in
behavior of major social groups and to study with the students norms and values
of these cultures, trying to analyze their representative’s behavior, form the
position of this group’s cultural identity. This analysis will favor students’
intercultural competences development.
approach, students will be able to be active participants of the dialogue of
cultures and be aware of what and where is acceptable in communication, it
means that cultural identity approach could help to overcome a communicational
barrier, and students won’t be fear of using something odd while talking to a
phenomenon of cultural identity we have come to a conclusion that it’s the
process continuing during the whole life. By the way, this process is more
effective at youth. It’s the result of a person’s studying different cultures,
understanding their values; cultural identity is shown in the person’s behavior
towards his place in a multicultural society. Cultural identity is applicable
as a mini-approach towards teaching languages of intercultural communication,
such as English, intended for formation of multicultural competences and
tolerance towards participants of the dialogue of cultures and skills, needed
for successful communication. Evidently it’s one of the various approaches for
the increase of the dialogue of cultures and multicultural communication
effectiveness. So, we hope that this area will be further developed, as it is
really necessary for such a multicultural state as Kazakhstan to provide
stability and mutual understanding of different cultures.
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Passov, E.I. Communicative foreign education. Conception of development of individual
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senior school-children, www.1september.ru.
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К содержанию номера журнала: Вестник КАСУ №2 - 2011