Our cultural roles

“Who are you?
And if so, how many?”

This is the title of a well-known German philosophy book on identity by Richard David Precht and it fits perfectly for this article!

As mentioned in my previous article, we should stop thinking in terms of countries and national cultures when we talk about culture. You will most probably not define yourself as “typically Mexican” or “typically German” or “typically ______” (fill the blank!) – in all countries, no matter how small, there are pronounced regional differences from North to South, from East to West. The highlands, the lowlands, the coast, cities, rural areas, etc. Also, think in terms of interests or professions. An Indonesian artist might have more in common with a Finnish artist than with an Indonesian engineer. Within a company you will find that in the Marketing department there is a completely different culture than in Finance. The better you get to know a new country, the more you become aware of the nuances and the subcultures.

We belong to different subcultures at the same time. And we have different roles and behaviors in each. For example, when I talk to my tax consultant I am in a different role than when I talk to my kids. I adapt my communication accordingly. Or, I use less slang/curse words when talking to my parents, this is how I show respect and automatically adapt to my original family culture and daughter role.

In the image above you can see some examples of the subcultures I belong to and what my roles are in these. This template is for you to download and fill in yourself:

Become aware of your cultural roles. And keep in mind that culture is a fluid concept, it keeps changing and evolving, just like your roles.

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