Over among the Wyrmstone developers, we're looking seriously at "ethnic" Specialties, which would allow a character to embrace a region or nation's archetypical flavor in a way that doesn't interrupt racial Talents. Is that the sort of thing you're talking about, Puma?
After typing the post late last night and sleeping on it, I realized that the Regional feats for Pathfinder could be construed as Specialties for us. Since it is basically D&D3.75, non-humans & demi-humans do not get a racial feat but do get a 1st level feat, a Regional feat, and possibly a 3rd feat if a Fighter or certain classes grant a specific feat -- looking at Metamagics here. If human, tack on a 4th feat as well. This allows them to end up with 2-4 feats.
This is similar to the following for us: Specialty (and depending upon this choice some races may not get it), 1st level, and Class granted feat whether a Soldier or Martial Artist or more specific like the Faceman getting Flawless Identity.
As for helping to establish identity within a setting, I was looking at it as something beyond just a Cultures focus. One of my alternative thoughts was granting, in addition to their Cultures' focus, an additional Drive & Profession focus. However, these are all temporary ideas dependent on what is in FC as well.