This paper advances the concept of 'cultural identity' to account for the nexus between structure and practice in technological negotiations. It describes how the formation of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), and that group's subsequent discourse and nonverbal actions, both reproduced the established identities of group members and contributed to negotiations that reconstituted those identities. In particular, UCS claims about emergency core-cooling systems in nuclear plants were congruent with the combination of a shared ideology, the social interests of Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty, and established principles of engineering design. The cultural analysis of identity reproduction shows the opposition between cognitive and social phenomena to be a significant distinction framing action in Western culture. The analysis also suggests that new attention be given to the relationship between the constitutive and reproductive functions of discourse and nonverbal action.