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Culture and Relationships

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1 Culture and Relationships
Theory & Research in Intercultural Communication—COM 372 John R. Baldwin—Illinois State University

2 A systems explanation

3 A systems explanation Output: Input: Process (Throughput): Stability
Satisfaction Family adjustment Increased society tolerance “Third” (family/rel) culture” Input: Motives/Goals Definitions of relationship Cultures of origin Cultural values, communication Family cultures Process (Throughput): Communication patterns: Conflict Self-disclosure Power negotiation, etc.

4 More on Systems Approach
Environment Open/closed systems Input/Throughput/Output Homeostasis/Dynamic Equilibrium Feedback Positive: Change the system! Negative: Keep the system the same! First/Second-order system change! The problem may not be that there is no feedback but that the rules the system is following do not work! Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose…

5 Input: Questions What are some “input” factors that might impact intercultural, intergroup, or other sorts of relationships? How might the input factors change between: International couples Intergroup couples (religious, ethnicity, etc.) Stigmatized couples

6 Input: Motives Lampe (1981, 1982):
What are the main reasons that people date interethnically? What are the main reasons people do not? Do people date & marry for the same reasons? (Brazil example)

7 Input: Differences (issues) (Romano, 1988)
Values In-laws Food and drink Sex Male/females roles Time Place of residence Politics Dealing w/stress Friends Illness/suffering Religion Food & drink Social class Language/Comm Raising children Ethnocentrism

8 Process: Issues (Markoff, 1977)
Problems in communication (verbal, NV differences) Difference in values The concept of marriage (e.g., Char, Collier) Individual behavior and practices (not cultural) Prejudices and stereotypes (yes, even in marriage!) The surrounding family (distance --> greater success!)

9 Process Issues What are some “process” issues intercultural couples might face? What leads (IC) relationships to develop? What are some ways IC couples might resolve cultural differences?

10 Process: Issues (Graham, Moeai, & Shizuru, 1985)
The Romeo & Juliet Effect “Internal” versus “External” problems individual living habits interference with extended family children different cultural customs time with friends language difficulties financial problems

11 Process: IR Dating/Marriage
Are the issues the same in interracial dating and marriage as in “intercultural” dating and marriage? What about “interfaith” marriage?

12 Process: Solutions Tseng’s 5 Patterns of ICM Adjustment
One-Way Adjustment: One partner gives in to the culture of the other Alternative Adjustment: The couple alternates between cultural Simultaneous Adjustment: Elements of both cultures are adopted at the same time. Mixing: Within a given culture or time, the couple uses aspects of one culture or the other. Tseng uses an example like "enchiladas tonight, sushi tomorrow night." = Compromise (as opposed to submission, consensus, or obliteration). Creative Adjustment: The couple adopts elements of neither culture, but finds their "own" way

13 Intercultural Relationships
Some explanations of relational growth Propinquity: Shared spaces interaction potential Similarity-Attraction Hypothesis: It’s similarity that makes relationships grow URT: No…it’s your ability to predict and explain the other or (AUM) to reduce your anxiety Social Penetration Theory: : Self-disclosure Depth & breadth of SD 4 stages of relationships Dialectical approach: Tensions… Turning points: Key moments…

14 Evaluating a theory Does it make sense with everyday life? (e.g., by working through a single example) Are there enough counterexamples to expand the theory? Does it fit prior research? Does it meet goals of type of theory? How does it address theory evaluation standards? How does it compare to other theories?

15 Theory evaluation standards
Scope, boundaries: How broad is it? Is what it covers clear? Logical consistency: Does it hold together well? Parsimony: Is it appropriately simple? Testability (if scientific): Can the propositions be measured and tested? Predictive ability (if scientific): Can we make good predictions with the variables provided? Heurism: Does it lead to new study or theory? Does it stand the “test of time”? Explanatory power: Does it explain most cases, or are there classes of cases it does not explain? Utility: Is it useful in everyday life?

16 Anxiety-Uncertainty Management
Background: URT Concepts: Stranger Anxiety and Uncertainty (not =!) Effectiveness (and adaptation) Mindfulness vs. Scripts Thresholds Management

17 AUM: Refining the structure
A list of variables Knowledge, Motivation, Skills Hofstede’s Dimensions Current structure Proximal factors Distal (secondary) factors Order and direction of influence

18 AUM Application: My Big Fat Greek Wedding Evaluation:
(3.57) (3.25) Evaluation:

19 International Marriaegs in Japan (Quasha & Quasha, 2012)
Method Concepts specific to Japanese relationships? What are some specific aspects of the relationships the authors describe that illustrate the role of culture in relationship? What are some other specific aspects of relationships you recall from the readings?

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