Academic journal article The European Journal of Counselling Psychology

Motivational and Adaptation Experiences of Returnees and Migrants to Cyprus: A Grounded Theory Study with Counselling Psychology Application and Practice Implications in Europe

Academic journal article The European Journal of Counselling Psychology

Motivational and Adaptation Experiences of Returnees and Migrants to Cyprus: A Grounded Theory Study with Counselling Psychology Application and Practice Implications in Europe

Article excerpt

Introduction

Culture is a concept that appears to be as a contemporary one for the last century of the western world. In fact it was even discussed in the 19th century of English and German romanticism, with Bastian describing culture as "the psychic unity of mankind" (1860, as cited in "Today in Science History," 2009, p. 342) depicting what Matthew Arnold (1869/n.d.) later described as being a "pursuit of our total perfection by means of getting to know, on all the matters which most concern us, the best which has been thought and said in the world". Culture, following the paths of this notion, became a contemporary concept in Europe after the establishment of the Treaty of Maastricht on the 1st November 1993, when 27 member states, mainly located in the European continent committed to regional integration forming the European Union that got its most recent form after the Treaty of Lisbon in 2009. This form of European Union enabled populations to move to a different country (state) and live, work, engage and practice professionally and politically (with limitations) with the same rights as the native population. "The meeting of cultures and the resulting changes are what collectively has come to be known as acculturation" (Sam & Berry, 2006, p. 1). More and more people appear to be moving within the European Union using this right according to regulation No 1612/68 (The European Parliament, 2004) and recent data suggest that there is a population change within the European Union with net migration being equal to all changes in total population that cannot be attributed to births and deaths (European Commission eurostat, 2009). This move puts culture on the map, as its connection with the use of ethnic diversity and mechanisms of ethnic integration through constituted identities such as professional identity is evident in recent literature (Filippopoulos, 2009).

Axelson (1993) argued that all groups of people who identify themselves or have connections to each other based on some shared aims, needs, or the similarity of background, belong to the same culture. UNESCO (1982) in a recent world conference provided a description of the concept:

"In its widest sense culture may now be said to be the whole complex of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features that characterise a society or group. It includes not only the arts and letters, but also modes of life, the fundamental rights of human beings, value systems, traditions and beliefs."

Characteristics of culture can include ideas that culture is learned, shared and integrated. At the same time it can easily be confused with ethnicity and ethnic groups. Ethnic origin refers to memberships of a group of people that are defined on grounds of common history, traditions, culture or cultural background, language, geographical origin and so forth and ethnic group that is any group of people who set themselves apart and are set apart from other groups with whom they interact or coexist in terms of some distinctive criterion or criteria which may be linguistic, racial or cultural. Culture appears as a subcategory of ethnicity but this minimalistic characteristic creates a vicious circle of philosophical enquiry equal to the causality dilemma of the chicken or the egg (that funnily enough is evident in many different ethnic groups, cultural groups or languages). In other words culture is a proportion of notion with variance described in different variables like language, ethnicity, history etc and at the same time each of these variables constitutes notions of equally big variance defined by variables that are larger proportion of notions. Culture and ethnicity are indivisible parts of the whole, therefore it would be difficult to ascertain where the individualistic culture starts and where the collective culture ends and vice versa.

The present study explored the lived experience of people who are subject to a cultural transition, exposing what appeared to be their individualistic and collective agreement of cultures (living in a society for many years and being fully integrated with it) to a new society with a different ethnic identity such as Cyprus. …

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