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Intercultural Communication Chapter 2 Culture and Intercultural Communication
What is Culture? A learned set of shared interpretations about beliefs, values, norms, and social practices, which affect the behaviors of a relatively large group of people.
What is Culture? Learned through: – Interactions with parents, guardians, siblings, friends, etc. – Expectations received from the natural human events around us. Also provide the filters that help make sense of messages.
What is Culture? Set of shared interpretations that exist in the minds of people. When these symbolic ideas are shared with others, they form the basis of culture. A culture can form only if symbolic ideas are shared with a relatively large group of people.
What is Culture? Culture involves the sharing of beliefs, values, norms, and social practices. – Beliefs what the world is like or what is T/F. – Values what is good and bad or important. – Norms what is appropriate and expected. – Social practices are the predictable behaviors. Taken together, they form a “way of life.”
What is Culture? Culture affects behaviors. – Shared interpretations affect large groups. – Provide guidelines for meaning, importance, and what should or should not be done. – Provides predictability in human interactions. But, not a complete explanation for all behaviors.
What is Culture? Culture involves large groups of people. – Small groups of people are not a “culture.” – The term culture describes large, societal levels of organization. – Similar to ethnicity, but not the same.
What culture is not Nation – A political term – Culture and nation are not equivalent terms. – Nations regulate the political behaviors. – Cultures exist within the boundaries of a nation-state and influence the regulations that a nation develops. – Many unique cultures can exist within the political boundaries nations.
What culture is not Race – Incorrectly used to refer to a genetic or biologically-based differences. – Race is a political, legal, and social distinction. – More encompassing than culture or nation. – Can create visible and important distinctions and sometimes plays a part in establishing separate groups. – Often forms the basis for prejudice.
What culture is not Ethnicity – Refers to a wide variety of groups that share a common language, religious traditions, nation-state, cultural system, and historical origins. – People may share ethnic beliefs but may be members of different cultures.
What culture is not. Subculture and coculture – Subculture exist in the midst of larger cultures. – Coculture used to hide the implication of a hierarchical relationship. – Both subculture and coculture are redundant and imprecise terms. – Reference cultural groups in their own right.
Why Cultures Differ There are six forces that help generate cultural differences. – Unique history – Ecology – Technology – Biology – Institutional networks – Interpersonal communication patterns
Why Cultures Differ Unique history – Descriptions of historical events transmitted across generations form the shared knowledge that guides a culture’s collective action. – You have to know what people have gone through to understand what they want and don’t want.
Why Cultures Differ Ecology – Conditions affect formation and functioning. – Often hidden because the climate and environment are pervasive and constant. – Availability of water and land contour. – Largely overlooked in the study of cultural differences.
Why Cultures Differ Technology – Changes in available technology can radically alter a culture’s survival. – Media effects communicate across time and distance. – Minimizes geographic distances – Also influences how people perceive other cultures.
Why Cultures Differ Biology – More variation within races than between races. – Based primarily political and social roles. – Distinctions often include or exclude others. – Cannot explain differences among cultures. – Most differences result from cultural learning or environmental causes.
Why Cultures Differ Biology – Race is an imperfect term for categorizing human populations. – Visible cultural differences can be affected by climate and other external constraints. – Most humans have the same genetic origin. – The United Nations and scholars generally agree that there is no scientific basis for race.
Why Cultures Differ Biology – Race should be understood as a social, political, and personal term that is used to refer to those who are believed by themselves or by others to constitute a group of people who share common physical attributes. – Again, race can form the basis for prejudicial communication that can be a major obstacle to intercultural communication.
Why Cultures Differ Institutional networks – Include government, educational systems, religious organizations, etc. – New media allows easier creation of institutional networks. – Religion binds people and helps maintain cultural bonds. In Christianity and Judaism people belong to a particular church or synagogue. Hindus visit any temple throughout India.
Why Cultures Differ Interpersonal communication patterns – Verbal communication systems. – Nonverbal communication systems. – Intercultural communication from one generation to another. – Cultures assign and organize importance to their interpersonal communication patterns.
Why Cultures Differ Interrelatedness of cultural forces – Each cultural force works in conjunction with and is influenced by the others. – Adaptations and accommodations are rarely made consciously. – Cultures adjust to the world by altering cultural assumptions. – Changes to institutions or traditions cause members to alter behaviors which can result in changes to institutions or traditions.
Related terms – Intracultural communication – Interethnic or Interracial communication – Cross-cultural communication – International communication