CULTURAL IDENTITY, COLLECTIVE SELF-IMAGE AND RELIGIOUS CONSCIOUSNESS IN ECUADOR
Diana P. Petkova
ABSTRACT - The study of the Ecuadorian cultural identity, presented in this paper, is based on interviews of 1000 people in the coastal area of Ecuador. The results of the interviews show that the Ecuadorian people ground their national pride predominantly on the uniqueness of the Ecuadorian nature. Thus, the paper discusses the main constituents of the Ecuadorian cultural identity, which contribute to its specificity and uniqueness and which differentiate it from the other Latin American identities. Also, the research is focused on the level of ethnocentric consumerism in Ecuador and on its relation to the Ecuadorian national identity. An important finding of this paper is that the Ecuadorian people are rather religious and that religiousness has a special importance in both the Ecuadorian private lives and in the public sphere. This is why also the paper claims that religious feelings form the core of the Ecuadorian cultural identity, although not all the individuals might be aware of this fact. Finally, the paper discusses the relationship between national and civilizational identities in the Ecuadorian case, or between the 'Ecuadorianness' and the 'Latin Americanness" of the Ecuadorian people. In most of the cases the two identities are seen as a pair, where each one of the two compliments the other, rather than suppressing or competing with it. Thus, on the basis of the interviews a model of the Ecuadorian cultural identity is outlined.
Keywords: cultural identity, Ecuador, Latin American culture, religiousness, self-image, self-perceptions