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CHAPTER 12 The Potential for Intercultural Competence

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1 CHAPTER 12 The Potential for Intercultural Competence
CHAPTER OBJECTIVES (1) To discuss some of the ethical dilemmas in intercultural communication. (2) To explore the impact of national and international events – including the events of September 11, 2001 – on intercultural communication (3) To consider the powerful international forces that cause cultures to come together or be pulled apart (4) To offer some concluding remarks about the development of intercultural communication competence.

2 I. The Ethics of Intercultural Communication
A. When in Rome . . . 1. Places responsibility for adaptation on newcomer. 2. How far should people go in adapting their behavior to another culture? 3. At what point do people lose their own cultural identities?

3 B. Are cultural values relative or universal?
1. Cultural relativism is the belief that because each culture has its own values, judgments can only be made within each cultural context. 2. Kale’s two universal values: a. to protect the worth and dignity of the human spirit b. to strive for a world at peace

4 C. Do the ends justify the means?
1. Should all intercultural contacts be encouraged? 2. Is it ethical to go to another country unprepared for cultural contact? 3. Should those who are prejudiced seek out intercultural contact?

5 D. Ethics—your choices 1. Address people with mutual respect. 2. Describe the world as you perceive it. 3. Encourage people to express themselves in their own ways. 4. Strive to identify with people of other cultures.

6 II. The perils and prospects for intercultural competence
A. Impact of national and international events on intercultural communication Certain events create a shared and indelible memory for all who experienced them. Such events include the day the stock market crashed in 1929, the day John Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, the date Martin Luther King, Jr. died in 1968, and the day the World Trade Center was destroyed by terrorists in 2001. What are your important dates?

7 Continued Such events alter the basic and often unquestioned understandings that people have of their world. 3. Such events shape an entire generation’s understanding of the world and are also referenced when influencing subsequent generations.

8 B. Forces that pull us together and apart
1. Forces that pull people together have been variously called globalism and secularism. a. Mass media, entertainment, and global interdependence all make people seem more homogenized. b. The speed of transportation and technology means that messages are instantly global.

9 2. Forces that pull people apart have been variously called nationalism and tribalism.
a. Cultures try to protect what seems threatened: their language, religion, values, and way of life. b. Cultures also try to protect their members from the harmful effects of messages from outside the culture.

10 3. Missing from discussions of these two opposing forces is the effects of culture on communication.
a. Cultures use their own cultural patterns to interpret the meanings of messages. b. Similar messages may be interpreted very differently across cultures. c. One’s culture provides the “filter,” or the meaning systems, through which all messages are experienced and interpreted.

11 Day two: INSTRUCTIONAL ACTIVITY Activity 12.1: The Albatross Society

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