Arzu Arda Kosar

Geography of Behavior
Sept 2010


Different aspects of social identity are explicitly reflected in our video that documents an individual in four decidedly different contexts.

In the first video, the worker identity involves a task orientation, relates to goal attainment and performance outcomes, and defines ones’ power, status, and competence in video.

In general, social interactions are formal, non-intimate, and individuals see themselves as distinct entities because of competing interests and hierarchical relationships. The family or friend identity, on the other hand, involves a more expressive, emotional, intimate relationship which encompasses acceptance, care and concern in video 2 and 3.

The focus is on cooperation rather than competition, personalities rather than performances, similarities rather than status distinctions. Perhaps, the parental identity involves a more unconditional acceptance, love, support and trust, whereas the friend identity involves more self-disclosure, and sharing.

Social identities may become more or less salient depending on the situation. When orthogonal multiple identities, such as gender and religion, become salient, people either share group membership in both categories, share one of the two categories, or share none. This paradigm is also known as crossed categorization in social psychology. For example, in my collaborative video art project with Gul and Arzu a non-religious girl shares a group membership with a religious girl with respect to gender, but not with respect to religion. A friend identity may then take different forms depending on the context. For example, in a women rights meeting, gender becomes salient, and religion is irrelevant. In this situation, religious and non-religious girls who share a common identity with respect to gender may be considered in-group members, or even friends in video 3 & 4.

In Video 4, a non-religious girl is emphatic towards a religious girl who suffered from discrimination at her school, and had no choice but to drop out of college. However, the same non-religious girl, in a situation where religious identity is more salient (in Video 5, a group of liberal students are discussing whether turban (Islamic head cover of women) should be legalized) may act very differently in video 4.

In these series of video clips, multiple social identities of a young female Istanbullite, are reflected in different contexts. In this art project, the multiple social identities model, as well as crossed categorization, rooted in social psychology theories are delved, bridging across multiple disciplines. This project is part of the Coming of Age project, developed by Gul and Arzu to examine youth in Istanbul, a city that provides a most diverse, often contradictory and dynamic range of social contexts to shape the coming of age process.

Nurcan Ensari, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Marshall Goldsmith School of Management
Alliant International University, Los Angeles

Alternate Views

  • Geography of Behavior

  • Geography of Behavior

  • Geography of Behavior