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date: 27 June 2017

Abstract and Keywords

The notion of culture, while vast, is often conceptualized through an examination of gender, race, and ethnicity; class and economics; religion; sexual orientation; and even age. Culture can be temporal when, for example, gender norms or ethnic patterns evolve with each new generation. Likewise, the formation of a person’s identity (or identities) is largely influenced by culture. The ways in which an individual exhibits meaning and expression through culture can become the building blocks for identity and behavior. Social work assessments and related interventions rest on a fundamental understanding of a client’s history, environment, and current conditions. This entry provides an examination of how particular sociocultural influences and identity development shape behavior and how social work practitioners, whether at the micro, mezzo, or macro level, use this understanding to effect change in individuals or environments.

Keywords: age, culture, gender norms, identity development, race and ethnicity, sexual orientation, sociocultural influences

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