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Culture, Cultural Identity, and Cultural Influence


Culture, cultural identity, and cultural influence form the fundamental elements through which human beings interact and behave. They are considered the society’s binding that regulates the behaviors of the individuals within the society. Culture shapes behavior and relationships by determining how individuals express creativity within the public. Each community has its cultural perception based on cuisine, language, beliefs, and values. Learning about the culture and its integration, cultural sharing, and symbols determine people’s well-being and behavior.

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Cultural interaction determines the well-being and behavior of society members. Individuals within the same culture share aspects of religion and language, which change with time (Kashima et al., 2019). For instance, in the Arab culture, most individuals are Muslims, and faith will determine their culture as they are discouraged from pork and alcohol consumption (Syafril & Hadziq, 2021). These cultural beliefs about not eating pork may make people have a negative attitude towards those who consume it. Symbolic interaction theorists claim culture is created and maintained through the ways people interact within society (Chairul & Umanailo, 2019). In cultural ceremonies, individuals can effectively interact and share their cultures. People from other communities can be invited to these cultural ceremonies and strengthen cultural exchange. Individuals learn behaviors from different cultures in these contexts, as each culture has its unique value. People learn about the appreciable values within their society and thus develop self-confidence to be identified with a specific cultural background.

Scholars base the community’s culture and identity on symbols that can alter the way people behave. Each society has unique symbols, such as money, minerals, and animals, that they strongly believe in (Tamariz, 2019). Cultural symbols support the fluid operation that exists within the population. Communities that value cattle herding will have better interactions when they meet, as they have one thing in common. These communities establish themselves with the symbols and thus easily socialize to improve their cattle herding. Functional theorists believe that culture is an important component that determines the effective operation of society (Matsumoto & Hwang, 2019). Societies that value polygamy will find it easier to converse as they share common stands on issues in the community. The Arabs will easily interact as their religion encourages polygamy; thus, they will have better well-being in their interaction. Christianity forbids polygamy, and thus a Muslim may find it hard to interact with other religions that discourage the practice. Therefore, violence can quickly arise in such discussions due to disagreements between the two parties.

Learning a culture determines how people act to identify themselves with their culture. No person inherits the culture during birth but understands it as they grow and develop. (Matsumoto & Hwang, 2019) During development, individuals learn to determine how they interact with other people through the cultural behaviors they copy. People copy their cultures from families, peers, media, and various institutions. An individual brought up in a family that has adopted the culture of traditional circumcision in the community they live in will carry the norm to adulthood and even instill it in his children. People learn culture from others, hoping to fit perfectly in a given community and interact with community members. Society expects its members to behave according to to set cultural standards to be effectively recognized as members of that particular community. Individuals have different needs, such as food, sex, and health, and individuals learn how to behave on the cultural set norms to fulfill these needs.

Integration of culture determines how an individual reacts to different events in society. Culture is dynamic, which compels new community members to behave in specific cultural standards to improve their well-being in society (Matsumoto & Hwang, 2019). It may compel a person who moves to a new area and lives there for a prolonged period to change his culture to perfectly fit within the current community. Such an individual integrate into the culture of the community and even identify themselves as members of the community. They behave according to the new set standards and even alienate their unique cultures. A Christian who stays in Arab countries for a long will probably adopt the Muslim culture. Marriage can make a couple change their behaviors to match the behavior of the new culture. It is intended to make them be accepted within society and interact effectively with society members.

Culture, Cultural Identity, and Cultural Influence Among Djab Wurrung

Relevant Perspectives of the Culture

Cultural competency entails the development of meaningful relationships with individuals from different cultural backgrounds. Djab Wurrung people have a deep cultural value tied to the tree being planned to be removed by the authority to pave the way for the Western Highway upgrade (Bell, 2020). Through the Minister for Transport Infrastructure, the administrative authority had not sought the consent of the community 12 families that were making up the community. Thus, a source of conflict between the group and the police ensued.

Functionalist theorists view society as integrated parts which work together to create an entire community. Based on the culture, the functionalists study the culture in terms of values. Religious culture and political administration are important aspects of the community that needs collaboration to provide a functional and peaceful society. The community believes that the tree is more important than the highway construction, while the police and the administration believe in converse. Education is one way the two parties can enhance cultural competence to agree on the best route to take (Keane & Provident, 2017). Using police in arresting protestors is not the right channel, as it is against the professional standards that dictate social justice, dignity, and integrity (American Psychological Association, 2017). The people have the right to protect their culture, and the finest way to enhance cultural competence is through peaceful dialogue rather than arraigning them in court. A neutral arbitrator should be availed to deliberate over the matter so that the solution can be found to maintain a good relationship between the society members and the administration (Lo, 2018). A social worker must develop ethical professional standards such as social justice when handling the case in such scenarios.

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Cultural Identity

The Djab Wurrung people have a strong cultural identity linked to the “Fiddleback Tree.” They believed that the tree was sacred with a placenta planted by their ancestors, and they planned to do everything to protect it. The police arrested around 50 people, including 40 people who had refused to leave the site (Bell, 2020). They arrested ten other individuals due to links obstructing the police at the tree’s site (Bell, 2020). The community members had found the tree to be culturally significant to them. The authority wanted to construct to upgrade the road to save the lives of the individuals, as the previously existing road was risky to the population.

The Djab Wurrung community was aware of their culture and strived to avoid being alienated. Cultural identity affects cultural competence, increasing people’s resistance to adopting the desired change (Matsumoto & Hwang, 2019). The community had identified the tree to be culturally significant to them, and thus they were resisting any form of change. Conflict theorists view that culture is based on reinforcing issues depending on class, race, and sex (Sundararajan, 2019). Inequalities exist in the community, and some cultural norms may benefit some individuals but hurt others. The government’s authority thinks they are hurt by the community’s identity of the tree, and thus they opt to use force on the members of the society to construct the road. On the contrary, the community thinks that the tree benefits them more than the road construction.

Professional work ethics in psychology regarding relations discourage unfair harassment of individuals. It encourages avoiding harm to individuals while solving any conflict. The general principles encourage integrity, justice, and respect for the people’s rights and dignity (American Psychological Association, 2017). In aiming at achieving cultural competence, the Djab Wurrung members, and the police must avoid the unfair harassment of the individuals. Peaceful dialogues should help decide the road construction and removal of the sacred tree (Jarden et al., 2019). There should be no force to decide the course to take, but the parties need to identify the best way to agree. This has a positive course on psychologists’ careers as it helps them develop into competent, ethical professionals.

Cultural Influence

Cultural competence entails being aware of cultural differences and negotiating cultural differences. The “Fiddleback Tree” strongly influenced the Djab Wurrung culture, believing it connected them to their ancestors (Bell, 2020). The members regarded protecting the sacred tree at all costs as it had significantly determined their culture. The authority had cut the tree to prepare for the road expansion, which provoked society members. The protestors had regarded the tree as religious, but the government was in dispute over the claims by these people. The federal government had rejected the application entitled to protect the fallen tree.

The psychologist’s ethical principles encourage them to develop and maintain cultural competence. The ethical principles encourage informed consent of each party during decision-making. Thus the authority did not consider the opinion of the Djab Wurrung families during the decision to cut down the trees (American Psychological Association, 2017). Failure of consent in decision-making discourages cultural competence. The principles also encourage cooperation between two parties in conflict to find a solution. The government had to cooperate with Djab Wurrung to identify the best solution that would lead to peace within the society. These ethical principles help a psychologist become culturally competent in solving culturally influenced individuals.

Cooperation with Protestors and Other Professionals

Cooperation with professionals and protestors is essential to solving the existing conflict. I would use dialogues and cautiously listen to the claims presented by each party and avoid any form of bias to issue justice (Hailes et al., 2020). Employment of ethical principles would be key in finding out the appropriate decision for the members of the society. I would offer psychological help to the members adversely affected by the event. My goal would be to ensure a fair judgment of the involved parties in the context.


American Psychological Association. (2017). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct. American Psychological Association. Web.

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Bell, S. J. (2020). 50 arrests as emotions run high over felling of Djab Wurrung tree to make way for highway upgrade. Web.

Chairul, M., & Umanailo, B. (2019). Structure of Social Change in Industrial Society. Web.

Hailes, H. P., Ceccolini, C. J., Gutowski, E., & Liang, B. (2020). Ethical guidelines for social justice in psychology. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice. Web.

Jarden, A., Rashid, T., Roache, A., & Lomas, T. (2019). Ethical guidelines for positive psychology practice. International Journal of Wellbeing, 9(3), 1–30. Web.

Kashima, Y., Bain, P. G., & Perfors, A. (2019). The psychology of cultural dynamics: What is it, what do we know, and what is yet to be known? Annual Review of Psychology, 70(1), 499–529. Web.

Keane, E., & Provident, I. (2017). Combining online education with international service learning to increase cultural competence. Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice, 15(13). Web.

Lo, K. (2018). Education Without Representation: Cultural Fluency, Diversity, and Dispute Resolution in the Canadian Context. Web.

Matsumoto, D. R., & Hwang, H. S. (2019). The handbook of culture and psychology. Oxford University Press.

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Sundararajan, L. (2019). Whither indigenous psychology? Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, 39(2), 81–89. Web.

Syafril, S., & Hadziq, M. F. (2021). Islamic principles in marketing: An overview of islamic marketing mix in social-media campaign. El-Qish: Journal of Islamic Economics, 1(1), 69–82. Web.

Tamariz, M. (2019). Replication and emergence in cultural transmission. Physics of Life Reviews, 30, 47–71. Web.

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