Social Identity and Society

Social Identity and Society

By Leah Caldwell

The study if culture is of the active relationship between social identity and society, the formation of what is identical about a group of humans and the unique and distinguishing differences shared in everyday life. One way to grasp this notion is to analyse various meanings throughout thought patterns and practices, also known as ‘cultural artefacts’ to gain a perception of the behaviour and dynamics of power structures in various cultures.
This essay will be discussing cultural politics, history and measurements of such structures of society and the journey of Australia’s national identity. Kate Grenville expressed such cultural diversity and change in her novel ‘Joan Makes History’, which portrays the role of women throughout various historic times and the cultural impact of their contribution. A textual analysis of the third chapter of this novel demonstrates an insight into the role of an indigenous woman and how she confronts foreigners on her native soil. It gives an interesting viewpoint of how life may have been for women during that time in Australia. Grenville wrote this novel for the bicentennial year in commemoration of 200 years of Australian history and culture and it gives an insightful examination of some of the significant cultural identity changes of the nation.

There are several methods of approaching the study of culture, one of which is anthropology, this is scientific based and uses the humanitarian historical and comparative methodology. The American anthropologist Clifford Geertz adopted this style of analysis in his method and defined culture as being a made up of ever-changing power structures consisting of ‘plans, recipes, rules, instructions’ ultimately controlling behaviour and is becomes that which completes us as humans .

With this viewpoint, Geertz argued that human behaviour and thought comprised within both ‘social and public’ spheres, demonstrating how humans have the ability to differentiate and...

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