An Exploration Of Ethnic Cultural Identity Essay

An Exploration Of Ethnic Cultural Identity Essay

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An Exploration of Ethnic Cultural Identity

Description of an Individual and their Cultural Context

Keith was born before World War 2 and grew up in London during the bombing and the food shortages. He was too young to appreciate the danger but was scared by the noise of anti-aircraft guns. He recalls going to the garden shelter during the night when searchlights crisscrossed the sky and the sirens wailed their ominous warning. Keith 's family was poor but not destitute, food was cheap but rationed.

Keith 's family was not religious and never went to church though his mother was nominally Catholic being of Irish descent. During the 1950s Keith was drafted into the army, which was a life style he hated. Keith had hoped to be based in the UK but found himself, first in Germany where the local people were resentful of the occupation. It took some time before most Germans realized that the dreams of the Third Reich were over. He was next sent as part of an Anglo-French invasion force to re-take the Suez Canal from the Egyptians. Fortunately Keith 's landing craft arrived late and Egyptian resistance was weak. The marines had landed first and when he floundered ashore apart from burning buildings and swaying palm trees there were no enemy in sight. A truce was declared and then the unit embarked to Cyprus.

Cyprus was interesting to Keith because the island was at war with itself being 70% of Greek ethnicity and 30% Turkish. Having lived alongside each other peacefully for centuries, neighbours now sought to violently dispossess those of a different ethnicity. Keith 's unit was responsible for keeping the peace. This was impossible and they soon found themselves fighting a Greek insurgency. Soon after they left, the Island was divide...


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...93) reminds that some degree of ethnocentrism is inevitable, and even functional for the protection of distinct ethnic groups.

On the other hand, individuals may progress on from ethnocentrism, to ethnorelativistism. The Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (Bennett and Bennett, 2004) compromises an assessment charting individuals’ progress towards ethnorelativism. The model posits stages of denial, defence, minimisation, acceptance, adaptation and integration. At the final stage, integration, individuals at this stage begin to move away from their own ethnic cultures. Keith 's actions in being open to worldwide travel, visiting places he would have once regarded as too far away or 'pointless ' places to visit define his reformed identity since moving to New Zealand and has allowed him to evaluate his actions in terms of multiple cultural perspectives.

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