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Revista Psicologia e Saúde

On-line version ISSN 2177-093X


GROH, Arnold. Cultural identity and the body. Rev. Psicol. Saúde [online]. 2019, vol.11, n.2, pp. 3-22. ISSN 2177-093X.

Human beings define their identity primarily by the way they present, design and style their bodies. In doing so, individuals make statements about their affiliation to a social context. Globalisation implies a change of identity among the members of less industrialised cultures, as they are exposed to effects of cultural dominance. For the individual, this exposure can be the stronger, the more autonomous his or her culture of origin used to be before the confrontation. There is a bias of cultural elements that are being transferred, so that the industrialised culture has a strong impact on other cultures. Global consent with regard to behaviour patterns, especially to bodily self-presentation and the related cognitive styles, leads to the obliteration of traditional knowledge, which is interwoven with the behaviour upon which identity had been defined previously. The cultural elements transferred are being used for the construction of globally standardised personal identities, whereat elements concerning the visual design of the human body are of major relevance for defining the self. The loss of variegated identities in favour of belonging to the global society brings about a number of problems, which can be demonstrated in functional models. These models, in turn, may support the planning of interventional strategies and rescue work. In this article, the role of the body within the destabilising effects of cultural change are analysed, and chances for intervention are discussed.

Keywords : globalisation; body; identity; culture; indigenous; nudity; clothes; dominance.

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