Technology is progressing to the point where we can interact with many different nations and cultures; is it possible to show that the bitsphere is not only aiding this progression but accelerating the rate at which it is occurring? Global interactions are expanding and becoming richer and fuller but these interactions can also become impersonal and dangerous. Can cultural assimilations in the hopes of forming global villages, pose dangers such as loss of individual identity? Within this, can identity also be expanded to an individual's culture or personality?
As we culturally assimilate in the hopes of forming global villages do we face the danger of losing our personal identity and individual cultural identity or even our personality?
As part of our research required a qualitative approach, we chose to have our media piece featured not as the solution, but as a lens into our individual, subjective and contextual viewpoints on culture, and the technological impact on this. It was through this exploration that we were then truly able to explore the inevitability of cultural hybridization through assimilation. The idea of “hyphenated” culture was also oft brought up within these pure reflections, and we believe that this will help others better understand our approach on research/ exploration. Our solution still holds true in its unconventional text format; and the culture exploration videos assist to set the theme for the other sections of our work.
What is Culture?
Before we address our problem we wanted to create a definition for culture. We hypothesized that having a better understanding of what culture is would help us identify a solution to the possible loss of individual identity and culture.
As we explored a possible definition for culture we discovered that all of us have our own ideas of what culture means. It was clear that we all had a uniquely different perspective on the definition of culture. To help us understand each other better and to get a true meaning of the word culture we decided that we would all define what culture means to us.
By expressing our own cultural definitions it would provide us with a better understanding of how technology could impact our identity. Below are 5 videos created by each of the group members. Please enjoy each of our definitions of culture, and any potential associated impact of technology.
Culture has a deep meaning for all of us, it is rich in diversity and in many ways we are already linked by our shared interests. Each of our cultures are uniquely defined by our history, our experiences and our connection to a digital culture. We will explore in more details our identities, global communities, the digital culture, the Bitsphere and finally the impact of ICT on cultural survival.
How Does Identity (even Cultural) tie into our Individuality?
“New ideas and understandings about how to interpret the world around us … mean a greater understanding of one's own place in the world and of oneself, one's desires, and one's capacities - in other words, one's identity” (Stanley, 2006). After collectively defining what culture meant to all five members, we were able to determine the outliers that could be impacted. Culture(s) could be identified by an individual’s heritage, spirituality/ spiritual beliefs, language(s), behaviours, norms and values, dietary choices, music and (fine) arts, fashion, history and tradition(s), and more.
These are also the same things, just as we had hypothesized, that can also define the individuality of a person. However, some of the other things raised included losing one’s sense of identity...not simply through naturalization, and assimilation, but through no longer ‘belonging’. By leaving behind a ‘homeland’ can cause some, especially immigrants to be foreigners with a sense of no-man’s land syndrome. And as much as personal identity ties into culture through a sense of community, and group identity, it loses its initial strengths when exposed to less and less of it’s origins, as it starts to manifest all the classifications of foreign cultures that one’s then predominantly exposed to. This is especially evident when the shift occurs from an individualist to a collectivist culture, (and presumably vice versa) (Hopper, 2015).
Further research reflects the idea that, “Loss of individualism and group identity occur when globalization encourages a 'Western ideal of individualism'” (Gibson, 2007). So ideally the path to idyllic cultural citizenship, comes with steps to higher forms of civic cohesion.
Global Communities & Technology
In order to understand how our identities and cultures fit into a global community we should look at an organization that embodies the meaning of a global community. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), is an organization that brings cultures together to find unity and equality. UNESCO was formed in 1945 and has 195 members (countries), and 10 associate members from all over the world, including Canada who became a member in 1946.