Sociocultural Tradition: All About You

As my first graduate class Comm 601 is coming to a close, we are asked to revisit the seven communication traditions (Semiotic, Sociopsychological, Sociocultural, Rhetorical, Critical, Phenomenological and Cybernetic) and to choose the one that makes the most sense to us. At the start of the course, I was drawn to the Sociopsychological tradition then I applied my final paper to the Phenomenological tradition but now I would have to say the Sociocultural tradition is the one that I understand the best as well as the most applicable to my life and my career goal.

The Sociocultural Tradition focuses mainly on the study of an individual being and how identities are established through interaction in social groups and cultures. The theories of sociocultural tradition focus mainly on social behavior, individual effects, and personalities and traits, perception and cognition. ( Littlejohn & Foss, 2011)

The theories in the Sociocultural tradition that appeal to me are the Theory of Identity and Identity Negotiation theories.

The Theory of Identity is associated with who you are and how you express yourself. The personal layer of identity is your sense of self in a social situation, the enactment layer is other’s insights based on what you do and how you act, relational layer is who you are in relation to other individuals and the communal layer is the attached to a larger culture.(Littlejohn &  Foss, 2011)

-My personal layer of identity: How I act and communicate with my friends is different than how I act and communicate at school or work.

-Relational layer: I am a daughter, granddaughter, sister, aunt and friend.

From left to right: Me, mom, and sister
From left to right: Me,  my mom, and my sister
My dad and I
My nephew and I
My best friends
My best friends 

-Communal layer: My ethnicity and religion could be a part of my communal layer.

The Identity Negotiation Theory is how identity is negotiated among others across cultures. I will explain my identity as it relates to this theory.

-Personal identity: Female

-Social identity: Student of Queens University of Charlotte, Alumni of Michigan State University, employee of Verizon Wireless

Queens University of Charlotte
Queens University of Charlotte
Michigan State University
Michigan State University

-Cultural identity: Christian

-Ethnic identity: African American

As I am still  in a growing stage of my life, certain parts of my  identity are still changing, like how I just became a student of Queens University of Charlotte last month. I still have more to add to my identity that I look forward to such as becoming a mother, wife, and a member of different organizations that support my profession / education.

Once I complete my Masters course, I wish to obtain a career in Social Media, or Media Relations. The social media field is related to the Sociocultural tradition because it is associated to the way people communicate in society and how one’s identity plays a part in how they connect with people on a social networking platform. Also one’s identity could influence what social network platform is most representative of that person. For example: LinkedIn appeals to the working individual and not so much the high school teen where as Facebook or Instagram would and Pinterest appeals more to women than men. I am excited to learn more about the sociocultural tradition as I continue my academic journey throughout the communications field.

Littlejohn, Stephen W. & Foss, Karen A. (2011). Theories of Human Communication. Long Grove, Illinois: Waveland Press, Inc.


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