KYARA as an identity concept for linking socio-cultural theory with individual/personal psychology

[Speaker] Hosaka, Yuko:1
1:University of Hyogo (Japan)

I start off from two basic dichotomies in identity theorizing: (a) identity as something stable (like a resource) versus as performed in-vivo and in-situ, and as such ever changing; (b) identity as socially prescribed (and again, as such more fixed) versus identity as at the command of individuals' agency and desire (and as such more open and fluid). Borrowing and building on the Japanese concept of "KYARA," I will suggest that the concept of cultural mediation in cultural-historical activity theory can play a role to overcome these dichotomies. I will develop "KYARA" (which translates broadly as "character") as a cultural mediational tool, which mediates a sense of self between something that is given as a communal property, but at the same time as claimed by its owner. I will explicate this approach in more detail and explore its potential for identity research within the realm of learner/student identity practices.
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