Paper 1

Topics: Cross-cultural communication, Intercultural communication, Identity Pages: 3 (1004 words) Published: January 27, 2014
Cody Carter
Comm. 200
Short Paper 2

Breaking Down Identity
When studying communication, seeing examples is often a strong way to learn concepts. In Hollywood entertainment it is hard to have a good story with out a good-sized problem, and more often than not communication issues contribute to problems. This is why watching video clips, short films, and feature films can help students learn concepts of communication. In my term paper I will critically analyze the intercultural communication that occurs in the film Six Degrees Of Separation. An important concept to understand in order to do this will be identity. Specifically, it will be important to understand the components of ascription and avowal, which together form an identity.

Six Degrees of Separation is a 1993 film starring Will Smith as a sharp-witted con artist. Although I have not yet viewed this film, the subject of identity is extremely important to any con artist. For each con a con artist performs, he or she must radically change the way others judge his or her identity, in order to gain the victims’ trust. I predict that the concepts of ascription and avowal, which I will define in this paper, will be central to the plot. Ascription will probably be a major concern for Will Smith’s character since he relies on people seeing him a certain way for successful cons. Likewise, I will be looking out for examples of the differences between his avowed identity and ascribed identity and how this affects him as a whole. Identity does not have a universal interpretation. There are many ways to understand the term, but overall it is the concept of who we are. For example, Martin and Nakayama define identity as statements or terms we use to identify ourselves or others use to identify us (Martin). These identities we hold, or others hold for us, are created in part by our individual personality, in part by the groups we are members of, and in part by the others judging us, or outside...

Cited: Martin and Nakayama. Intercultural Communications in Contexts, 5th edition. Mcgraw Hill:
Boston, 2010.
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