Rapid globalization has heightened intercultural exposure and diversity of societies. As an adaptation to globalization, many individuals are acquiring identities that pertain to more than one regional and/or national culture. To understand the formation, maintenance, and impact of multicultural identity, researchers study it at multiple levels of analysis. To this end, this chapter will review the literature on multicultural identities at the levels of intrapersonal processes, interpersonal processes, and organizational and societal influences. The review shows that the concept of multicultural identity has evolved over time, from being seen as maladaptive to an embodiment of creativity and open-mindedness. This chapter demonstrates how the study of multicultural identities has gained prominence in recent decades and will be even more urgent as the mobility of individuals and social groups becomes the “new normal.” That is, with the exponential rate of intercultural contacts and mixing, being or becoming multicultural seems more normative than being monocultural. Monoculturalism may soon be a rare case and, as such, described as a thing of the past. It is ever more pressing to understand how people navigate among cultures, form bi- or multicultural identities, and adapt to new cultural environments cognitively and biologically and the challenges and barriers they face in the era of globalized world.
Keywords: globalization, multiculturalism, identity, identity threat, acculturation, bicultural identity integration, multicultural personality, cultural frame switching, lay theories of race, cultural priming, essentialism, interculturalism, intergroup processes
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