AIS101: Intercultural Communication

AIS101: Intercultural Communication

Introduction to culture and intercultural praxis 

Introduction

Welcome to AIS101: Intercultural Communication.

In this first week we begin by acknowledging the Wathaurong people in Geelong, and the Wurundjeri in Melbourne as traditional owners of the land on which Deakin has its Burwood and Geelong campuses. These acknowledgments will be the starting point for our discussions this trimester about communicating with people whose culture is different from our own.

This week our focus is on introducing the concepts of culture and of intercultural praxis. Thinking about these as concepts will be new to many of you and so this week you will gain a general understanding of these, in preparation for next week’s in-depth work. The week will be a combination of meaningful discussions about acknowledgments of country, your responses to the new concepts and your experiences and challenges with intercultural communication thus far in your lives. There is not a text book for this unit, rather, you will use the readings list but of course are encouraged to do wider research if you wish.

Learning objectives:

By the end of this week you should be able to:

  • Explain what an acknowledgment of country is, and debate what purposes it can serve
  • Identify key features of your own identity, and reflect upon how they impact on your approach to cultural diversity.
  • Explain the ideas of culture and intercultural praxis.

Key concepts:

  • country
  • culture
  • the self and the other
  • intercultural praxis

Mandatory preparation

Before you come to the first class (lecture), make sure you read the article ‘Welcome to Country’ by Emma Kowal (below). Please download it, save it in a folder you will build up for this class, print it out (or put on a reading device) and bring with you to class. As you read it, think about the following questions:

  1. Have you attended a Welcome to Country ceremony? What were your initial reactions to the idea of a Welcome to Country ceremony? Why do you think you feel that way?
  2. Why do you think we have Welcome to Country ceremonies at non-Aboriginal events? What purpose does it serve? What can these ceremonies achieve?
  3. What does it mean when people call Welcome to Country ceremonies ‘tokenistic’? What do you think about that notion?

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Read Kowal, E. “Welcome To Country.” Meanjin 69, no. 2 (2010): 15-17 (follow the link, enter your Deakin username and password, and download the ‘full text PDF’)

Understanding Culture

Culture is a system of constructed meaning and people who hold similar beliefs, ideals and ways of living share a system based on meanings. Geertz (1973), an anthropologist, claimed that culture is also about shared meanings. Groups and societies construct their culture from shared values and meanings.  Kathryn Sorrells, a language and communication researcher, whose work has particular relevance to this unit’s focus, describes culture, from an anthropological perspective as:

“a system of shared meanings that are passed from generation to generation through symbols that allow human beings to communicate, maintain, and develop an approach and understanding of life. In other words, culture allows us to make sense of, express and give meaning to our lives.” (Sorrells 2013 p4)

Have a look at Figure 1 to see how culture has many parts. That is, some are easily visible, others less so. Hall (1976) defines the various elements that make up a culture and highlights those that help identify members of a culture which share certain attributes or meanings. There are other elements that although invisible, have shared meanings which members of a culture may recognise as equally important and meaningful. These are the areas that make intercultural communication more complex.

Figure 1. Source : Association Internationale des Étudiants en Sciences Économiques et Commerciales. (AIESEC) 2018

A good introduction to the different ways culture is understood comes from Sorrells (2013), again. As you read, take notes on elements you believe you have experienced.

Read Sorrells, K 2013, Intercultural communication: globalization and social justice, Sage, Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore and Washington D.C., Definitions of Culture pp.3-15 Sorrells 2013

Understanding the cultural Self

At the heart of good intercultural communication is an understanding of oneself. Many of us, especially those of us who fit pretty neatly into the dominant racial, cultural and linguistic community in Melbourne, take for granted that our ways of being, communicating and knowing are ‘normal’. Others around us behave in similar ways, and we don’t often feel unsure of what to do, or uncomfortable. We know all the unspoken rules about what is expected of us in different situations – at school, at uni, at home, in social situations, in the workplace. Even if we’re not quite sure, we can read social cues and most of the time work it out. However, those of you who have travelled or lived in a culture different to your home culture – either you grew up somewhere else and have moved to Melbourne, or you grew up here and have gone overseas – will know that this sense of being sure of what is ‘normal’ and how to behave can vanish when you change the environment you’re in. Sometimes you don’t even have to travel far for that to happen – just into the home of a family that doesn’t fit the dominant culture.

Finally, there is an understanding that what we consider to be ‘normal’, and all the unspoken and often unacknowledged norms and rules around how to behave, are culturally constructed. To be a good intercultural communicator it is important to recognise yourself as a person who ‘has culture’. Once we recognise ourselves as having a culture, it is easier to recognise the differences between ourselves and others.

Your Task

FILL IN the Cultural Self-Assessment Cultural Self Assessment and consider which of these questions highlighted for you something you had not thought much about before?

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Others

Othering is a process whereby we, usually subconsciously, think about other people as different and treat them differently, often in ways that will make people feel uncomfortable. By being more conscious of who we are as selves, we can see others more clearly, and recognise that everyone has their own ways of being in the world. Being conscious of our own selves leads to less ‘Othering’. In this short excerpt of three pages, Sorrells talks about construction and Othering.

Mandatory reading: Sorrells, Kathryn. 2013 Intercultural communication: Globalization and social justice. pp. 57-60. Sorrells 2013

As you read Sorrells, make some notes for discussion on the board or in your seminars in response to the following questions:

  • What does she mean by the term ‘Other’?
  • What is Sorrells’ point about cultural hierarchies?
  • According to Sorrells, how are cultural hierarchies constructed? What kinds of examples does she give of practices that contribute to the construction of cultural or racial hierarchies?
  • According to Sorrells, what are some of the effects of cultural hierarchies? What examples does she give?

Introduction to Intercultural praxis

The word ‘praxis’ refers to the real-life application of a theory or idea. In this case, intercultural praxis refers to the act of engaging interculturally, informed by deep thinking. This takes place not only in the context of direct or indirect communication between individuals or groups, but also more generally in the way we interpret and respond to cultural diversity, be it through the media, our readings of popular culture, our study and so on. Communication is only one element of intercultural praxis. Read Sorrell’s introduction to positive intercultural communication practice and how globalisation has impacted cultures and intercultural encounters. Next week we will explore, in depth, the six entry points to successful intercultural praxis. These are:

  • Inquiry,
  • Framing,
  • Positioning,
  • Dialogue,
  • Reflection and
  • Action.

For now though, you have read Sorrells’ introduction to intercultural communication and the lecture this week will explain these terms. Next week we will consider these entry points in depth.

Finally,  watch a short clip about meanings, of a particular item, that are different for various cultures. Watch the Flying Kicks and note the wide range of ideas about meaning. The Flying Kicks 

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Mandatory reading / viewing / listening  

Kowal, E. “Welcome To Country.” Meanjin 69, no. 2 (2010): 15-17

Sorrells, K 2013, Intercultural communication: globalization and social justice, Sage, Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore and Washington D.C., Definitions of Culture pp.3-15, 57-60

Watch the full flying kicks clip: ‘The mystery of the flying kicks’ (14 minutes)  A short film about one symbol with many meanings. The Flying Kicks

Optional further readings

For all optional readings you will need to go to the library site and search for these. We want you to develop your research skills. After you have completed the library how to module you will be fine. If you have any difficulty locating these, then contact the Library directly and they will help you find the article.

The Economist 2005, ‘Australians old and new’, The Economist, vol. 375, no. 8425, pp. 13-5.

Jandt, FE 2013, ‘Introduction’, An introduction to intercultural communication, 7th edn, Sage, Thousand Oaks CA, .

Leeds-Hurwitz, W 1990, ‘Notes in the history of intercultural communication: the Foreign Service institute and the mandate for intercultural training’, Quarterly Journal of Speech, vol. 76, no. 3, pp. 262-81.

McDaniel, ER, Samovar, LA & Porter, RE 2009, ‘Understanding intercultural communication: the working principles’, in LA Samovar, RE Porter & ER McDaniel (eds), Intercultural communication: a reader, Wadsworth Cengage Learning, Boston, MA.

Piller, I 2011, Intercultural communication: a critical introduction, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, Ch. 2.

References

Geertz, C 1973, The Interpretation of Cultures, Basic Books, New York.

Hall. E 1977, Beyond Culture, Anchor Press/Doubleday, New York USA NB this is an extract from another publication.

Topic Two

Developing intercultural praxis and a brief history of cultural and intercultural encounters

Introduction

This week we will cover two elements of our work for this unit. Firstly, we will develop a solid understanding of the intercultural praxis framework, to which you were introduced last week. This is the way you will be able to analyse and understand intercultural communication practice. You will be able to use this to think about how historical cultural encounters were shaped by the colonisers’ approach to interactions with local peoples.

Thinking about intercultural praxis emphasizes your subjectivity and the need for you to come to your own personal decisions about how you want to engage in intercultural encounters. We focus on six points of entry for thinking through these issues:

Inquiry ~ Framing ~ Positioning ~ Dialogue ~ Reflection ~ Action

These six points of entry highlight the importance of recognising your own cultural identity, and understanding how it impacts on your relationships with others.

Secondly, we will consider a brief history of intercultural encounters. The purpose of this exploration is to equip you with an historical understanding of the ways in which culture has related to power and inequality. Colonisation occurred throughout many centuries and involved the conquest of people as empires sought to expand their territories. Some resulted in genocide and others took the civilising mission approach. We will discuss, this week, the impacts and outcomes of these. Such an understanding will help you position yourself, with your own unique heritage and culture, within a broader context of intercultural relations. Your main task this week is to do the mandatory readings and viewings, get your head around the key concepts, and reflect on how the six points of entry can help you, personally, think about and improve your intercultural praxis and think about the history of intercultural encounters has been impacted by, perhaps, a lack of such praxis.

Learning objectives

By the end of this week students should be able to:

  • Understand and explain the six points of entry to intercultural praxis
  • Reflect on and describe how the six points of entry to intercultural praxis can be applied to different situations of cultural diversity
  • Analyse and evaluate the global history of intercultural encounters, particularly through colonialism and how this shapes contemporary intercultural encounters
  • Reflect on how the student’s own personal heritage and history positions him or her in intercultural encounters.

Key concepts:

  • Entry points to intercultural praxis:
    Inquiry, framing, positioning, dialogue, reflection, action
  • Colonialism and its legacy

Six points of entry to intercultural praxis

Having reflected on who you are, where you come from, and how you relate to others who are different, now read Sorrells’ six-point framework for approaching intercultural communication. She calls it praxis because it involves both thought and action. Action without thought, or thought without action are problematic. She outlines six different points of entry into intercultural praxis. They don’t necessarily go in order. That is, they are not a series of steps. Rather, each of these points of entry become important at different times. This framework encourages us to think not only about what is different about the other, but what is different about ourselves. As you read, take some brief notes about inquiry, framing, positioning, dialogue, reflection and action. What is meant by each of these terms? 

READ: Sorrells, K 2013, Intercultural Communication: Globalization and Social Justice, Sage, Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore and Washington D.C., pp. 15-20 Sorrells 2013

History of intercultural encounters, a brief review

Now that you have the conceptual work under control, we are going to apply it. Considering historical intercultural encounters must begin with a consideration of colonialism. That is, the way in which European cultures took over the lands and resources and people of other cultures. In this brief section, think, as you read, of the ways the six points of entry were or were not used as some nations sought to rule others. The English, French, Italian, German, Belgian, Spanish and Portuguese were the main players. Their cultures are now entrenched parts of Africa, the Americas and Asia. What justification was there for such transposition? As you read, consider the impacts on the cultures of those colonised and occupied. Read this exciting theorisation of the hierarchy imposed on the colonised.

Peruvian sociologist Anibal Quijano belongs to a school of thought we call the ‘decoloniality’ school.Scholars like Quijano argue that the hierarchies that were first established between different cultures during the colonial period (from 1492 in the Americas, to the mid twentieth century when Africa and Asia were formerly decolonised) persist today. He develops a theory of modernity/rationality to explain how this works. Modernity, here, means the period of time encompassing colonisation, where ideas of secularism and progress dominated thinking, and rationality refers to the ways in which we reason with each-other. In other words, Quijano argues that the ways we think, and the ways we reason with and talk with each other, prop up those old hierarchies between cultures.

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Mandatory Reading
READ: Quijano, Aníbal. (2007). 
Coloniality and modernity / rationality Cultural Studies, 21(2), 168-170. to find this text, go to the library website and either a) find the journal (Cultural Studies) and navigate to the issues (volume 21, issue 2), or b) try typing in the title and see if you can find it. As you read this article, note down:

What is your understanding of Quijano’s argument, in your own words?
What are some of the terms Quijano uses that you don’t understand?
What are some of the ideas you find most interesting in Quijano’s work? We will discuss these in the seminars.

Now, some stories to illustrate the ways in which hierarchies between different cultures played out in real people’s lives, in real places.  Throughout this unit we will examine different examples of the impact of colonisation on present day intercultural encounters and communication.This is a book of short stories about historical encounters between different cultures. As you read part of the introduction (pages 5 – 7), make some notes in the margins of the pages (print it or use a device) to identify the positive, negative and ambiguous effects of intercultural encounters in history. When you’re finished, jot down a few thoughts about the overall point that Wilson is trying to make in this introduction. Then choose just one or two stories to read.

  • Please read: Wilson, Samuel M. The Emperor’s Giraffe and other stories of cultures in contact. Boulder, CO.: Westview Press, 2000. pp 5-7
    1. The Introduction pp. 5-7
    2. And just one or two of the following short stories from the book:

Trickster Treats

A Texas Powwow

Reburying Hatchets

Cricket and Colonialism

Caribbean Diasporas

Saint George and Juncanoo

Disney Dissonance

Vikings and Eskimos

Tripitaka’s Journey to the West

Coffee, Tea or Opium?

Pilgrim’s Paradox

Garcilaso de la Veda, El Inca

That unmanned, wild country

The matter of smallpox

Pandora’s Bite

Mandatory viewing and reading

Finally, we consider how, in Australia, the impacts of the colonisation years are still being felt today. Government policy in the 19th and 20th century was to ‘smooth the pillow’. That is, it was assumed the Aboriginal people would die out and the best help they could be offered was for Aboriginal children to be taken from their parents and brought up in white society. We have come to realise the error of these actions.
Now watch the formal  Apology to the Stolen Generation in 2008 (3 minutes).

  • Here’s the transcript Sorry……….
  • More articles about the National Apology are available below.

Mandatory reading

Sorrells, K 2013, Intercultural Communication: Globalization and Social Justice, Sage, Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore and Washington D.C., pp. 15-20

Quijano, Aníbal. (2007). Coloniality and modernity / rationality Cultural Studies, 21(2), 168-170.

Wilson, Samuel M. The Emperor’s Giraffe and other stories of cultures in contact. Boulder, CO.: Westview Press, 2000. pp 5-7

Optional further readings

Ten things you should know about the National Apology” (SBS, 2017),

What good was the apology to Stolen Generations with limited reparations, more kids taken?” (ABC, 2018) and

Rudd’s apology, 10 years on: the elusive hope of a ‘breakthrough’ moment” (The Guardian, 2018).

References

Appadurai, A 1988, ‘Putting Hierarchy in Its Place’, Cultural Anthropology, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 36-49.

Baker, L 2010, Anthropology and the Racial Politics of Culture, Duke University Press, Durham, NC.

Boas, W 1911, The Mind of Primitive Man, MacMillan Company, New York.

Clifford, J 1998, The predicament of culture, Harvard University Press, Cambridge MA.

Foucault, M 1971, L’Ordre du discours, Gallimard, Paris.

Geertz, C 1973, The interpretation of cultures : selected essays by Clifford Geertz, Basic Books, New York.

Gramsci, A 1930-32/1971, The Prison Notebooks, International Publishers, New York.

Hall, S 1997, ‘Introduction’, in S Hall (ed.), Representation: Cultural representations and signifying practices, Sage, London, pp. 1-11.

Tylor, EB 1871, Primitive Culture, J.P. Putnam & Sons, New York.

Young, IM 1990, Justice and The Politics of Difference, Princeton University Press, Princeton.

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Topic 3 Dimensions of culture and cultural patterns

This week we will explore and compare understandings of national cultures and values using the concepts cultural dimensions and patterns. We will look at the ways cultures are classified according to anthropologists Edward T. Hall and Geert Hofstede. It is important to understand our own cultural attributes with regard to communication practices as well as those with whom we study, work and live. We will discuss examples of these differences and consider the possible implications for effective intercultural communication.

Learning objectives

By the end of this week students should be able to describe:

  • Cultural dimensions according Hall (1977) and Hofstede (2001)
  • Cultural patterns and differences of their own and one other culture

Key concepts:

  • high and low context cultures,
  • relationship to time,
  • high and low power distance
  • strong and weak uncertainty avoidance
  • individualism and collectivism
  • masculinity and femininity
  • long-term and short-term orientation

Why is understanding culture important?

Understanding cultural norms and differences is crucial for successful work practice as well as social and familial encounters. National identities are strongly linked to the concept of culture and with the migration patterns broadening as a result of globalisation and conflict (Hayes, Lundy and Hayward 2016), it is important to understand ways in which communication styles differ. The claim of Geert Hofstede (2001) that understanding culture is important because we are group animals is valid. The Hofstede website (2018)   highlights this by suggesting

“The unwritten rules of how we do these things differ from one human group to another. “Culture” is how we call these unwritten rules about how to be a good member of the group”.

The Cultural Dimensions from the works of Hall (1997) and Hofstede (2001)

High and low context culture patterns differ in the ways they indicate understanding, comfort or agreement (or disagreement) with the ideas, directions or values of the person with whom they are communicating.

How people structure their use of time depends on whether they view actions as being performed sequentially and with some degree of completeness before being able to tackle another task. This is known as a linear relationship to time. Others see time as being on a continuum, enabling several tasks to be completed simultaneously.

High and low power distance is most obvious in the differences. Some cultures have a high level of respect for and reserve with people in positions of authority or power. Others do not regard such as important, even when they acknowledge the need for authority or power.

Strong and weak uncertainty avoidance is demonstrated by a culture or individual’s willingness to accept fluid situations or relationships. Time is important for those who like to avoid uncertainty.

Individualism and collectivism is based around the society’s focus on their own or the group’s well-being. Eastern and Western societies are good examples of the differences.

Masculinity and femininity are concepts, in culture, which do not relate to gender. Rather, they are evidence of how likely intuition, caring or aggression are employed by a culture.

Long-term and short-term orientation refers to the way in which a culture acknowledges the importance of the past and future or focuses more on the present.

Indulgence and restraint make up the final dimension. These indicate how much or how likely it is that a culture seeks to enjoy life and satisfy desires or places little emphasis on this in the present, preferring to prioritise other matters.

Now, read clear definitions of these, considering your own preferences. Later we will look at national cultures and the prevailing dimensions within your own and others.

Mandatory readings

Cultural Dimensions according to Edward T. Hall and Geert Hofstede in  Managing Cultural Diversity, Culture and Cultural Dimensions. Berninghausen, J and Minshawi, B. 2009. Kellner Publishing House, St.-Pauli-Deich 3, 28199 Bremen, Germany. pp 30 -36

You will be able to access this soon on line when the reading list is updated. In the meantime it is attached here. Cultural Dimensions: Hall and Hofstede

Your task whilst reading is to jot down the answers to these:

  1. What are the defining features of a low context culture? Of a high context culture?
  2. Which, do you believe, is your own country’s context? Which is your contrast country’s context?
  3. Why do we need to be aware of whether a culture is long term or short term oriented?
  4. How do your national cultural norms and values affect how you interact with your fellow students?

Now, have a look at Hofstede’s model and see what it says about your national culture. Be careful not to spend too much time on this because it is very easy to become engrossed and at this stage you only need an overview. You can revisit the site when you are on holidays!

The Hofstede website (2018) Hofstede website  link here Go to Culture then to  6D model of national culture. You will be able to look at other nationalities too and how Hofstede has analysed their cultural attributes. Remember that this is only an indication of what you are likely to experience in other cultures. Individual traits come into play too of course.

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Optional further readings

Underlined sections indicate particularly relevant sections of a book. Where no particular section is suggested, the whole book is relevant.

Geertz, C 1973, The Interpretation of Cultures, Basic Books, New York.

Inglis, F 2004, ‘Birth of a concept’, Culture, Key Concepts, Polity, Cambridge.

Jandt, FE & Tanno, DV 2001, ‘Decoding Domination, Encoding Self-Determination: Intercultural Communication Research Processes’, Howard Journal of Communications, vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 119-35.

Rockhill, G & Gomez-Muller, A (eds) 2011, ‘Introduction’, Politics of Culture and the Spirit of Critique: Dialogues, Columbia University Press, New York.

Said, E 1994, ‘Introduction’, Culture and Imperialism, Vintage, London.

Sorrells, K 2013, Intercultural Communication: Globalization and Social Justice, Sage, Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore and Washington D.C., pp. 3-11, 25–50.

Tomlinson, J 1991, Cultural Imperialism, Continuum, London & New York.

Helpful web-based overviews of the idea of culture:

http://www.jesperasp.dk/tekster/kulturteoriopgave.pdf

http://cscs.res.in/courses_folder/undergraduate-courses/papers.2008-02-05.9798782311/1.-the-concept-of-culture

http://www.geerthofstede.com/culture

http://monthlyreview.org/1999/02/01/reflections-on-the-politics-of-culture

References

 

 

 

 

 

Topic 4 Understanding Stereotyping and biases

Introduction

Prejudice, stereotyping, biases and discrimination, based on essentialist ideas about people attached to arbitrary characteristics, are among the most common ways to cause offense or conflict in intercultural praxis. You all know that! But, in our intellectual appreciation for the damage these behaviours can cause, and in our self-identification as people who are not prejudiced, we can sometimes slip into ways of thinking and behaving that are not as innocent of these harms as we think they are. This week we explore difficult, personal questions around prejudice. Are we prejudiced if we have pejorative thoughts about someone based on an arbitrary characteristic, but don’t say it out loud or act on it? Do we have hidden prejudices against, say Americans, or other groups whom it is trendy to hate? Are we prejudiced against groups we ourselves belong to? Do we have stereotypical ideas about other people and their cultures? What can we do about addressing our own prejudices?

Although logically we know that stereotypes are abstractions, particularly in group settings, stereotypes about others can be influential on our perceptions of other people and their behaviour. As well as considering the power of stereotypes and their contextual nature, we will also reflect on ways to challenge stereotypes and ensure that our perceptions are not skewed by reliance on unchecked stereotypes.

Learning objectives:

By the end of this week students should be able to:

  • Understand and explain the concepts of prejudice, stereotyping, biases and discrimination
  • Reflect on, identify and describe the student’s own prejudices and understandings of others
  • Describe how an understanding of the concepts of prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination can improve intercultural praxis by applying the concepts to different situations of cultural diversity.

Key concepts:

  • Prejudice
  • Stereotyping
  • Discrimination

Mandatory reading:

This week’s reading is designed to help you get a grip on the key concepts, and the way in which they have developed over the last few decades. Next week we’ll apply them to race, but this week your key task in approaching this reading is to make sure you understand the definitions. Dovidio et al come from the academic discipline of social psychology. This is a bit of a departure from the perspective we’ve taken so far, which has been more historical, social and political in nature. If you think of the first weeks of trimester as laying the groundwork for understanding the context, the remaining weeks are when we learn the tools for negotiation the context.

This book chapter provides an excellent summary definition of the three key concepts, and it provides an explanation of the notion of ‘bias’ and how it works. The purpose of reading this chapter is to equip yourself with the basic nuts and bolts of the concepts. Many of you will feel like these are concepts that you already understand, but note that this class is requiring you to go beyond just your intuitive understanding of the concepts. You will need to be able to define them and understand and explain the processes through which they work. In other words, we’re aiming here for a higher level of understanding than what you might have talked about at school or with friends and family.

READ: Dovidio, J. et al. 2010, ‘Prejudice, stereotyping and discrimination: theoretical and empirical overview’, in J Dovidio, M Hewstone, P Glick & V Esses (eds), The Sage handbook of prejudice, stereotyping and discrimination, Sage, London, pp.3-28. (Available here – normally you will need to look for resources in the library, but this one has been a bit pesky so please just click on the link)

As you read this chapter, fill out one of the reading summary sheets, making sure you take notes on the following:

  • definitions of the three key terms
  • bias – what is it? how does it link the three concepts together? What is the difference between implicit and explicit bias?
  • what are the four main processes through which bias operates? How do they work?
  • what have been the ‘three waves of research’ on prejudice, stereotyping and discrimination?

Bring the reading summary to the seminar, having made a note of which questions you most want to discuss.
(TIP: It’s worth highlighting for yourself any of the references in this article that might help you in your assessment tasks!)

Mandatory viewing / listening / fiction:

Now that you have the basic concepts under control, and a sense of the processes through which prejudice, stereotyping and discrimination are developed and deployed, we will apply them to some real world examples.

Please watch An analysis of the portrayal of race in Disney heroines (09:28)

Next, there are two options here, both from popular culture, and both telling different stories about cultural difference. You should choose one that interests you and view or listen to it, aiming to understand how you might apply your now more advanced understanding of the key concepts to these contexts.

Choose one of the following options:

1) Watch Planet B-Boy, a documentary film (99 minuts) by Benson Lee about B-boy teams from France, South Korea, Japan and the USA battling it out to win the Battle of the Year. This is a tale of many cultures coming into contact with each-other. It portrays the cultures individually, and aims to understand what motivates the different B-Boy teams, and how their cultura impacts on that. It then moves to a portrayal of what happens when they all come together, and this is where you will mostly find the biases playing out, but there is also evidence of them in the case-by-case profiles of the teams. As you watch the documentary, take some notes on the following:

  • what cultures are represented here? (think beyond nationalities!)
  • what prejudices and stereotypes do you observe between the B-boy teams? Where do you think they come from?
  • do you notice any discrimination in this film? If so, what form does it take? If not, why do you think there is no discrimination? what contributes to a discrimination-free environment?

2) Listen to the short story ‘Movin’ On Up‘ from This American Life (12 minutes – feel free to listen to the rest of the episode as well). This is a reading of some stories from a popular colum in an Israeli newspaper. Sayed Kashua writes very frank, entertaining stories about his day-to-day life. A few years ago, he moved his family from East Jerusalem (where most of the Arabs in the city live) to West Jerusalem (where it’s almost all Jews, not Arabs) and that kind of blew people’s minds, his included. As you listen to the stories, make some notes about the following:

  • what stereotypes about Jews and Arabs does Sayed talk about?
  • what forms of discrimination does Sayed identify? What examples does he use? How do they fit the definition of discrimination outlined by Dovidio in this week’s reading?
  • what prejudices does Sayed observe?
  • thinking back to when we talked about the role of history in shaping today’s intercultural encounters, what do you know about the history of the relationship between Jews and Arabs that is relevant to Sayed’s stories? (Students studying Middle East politics should be able to say something here).

Your task 

Post up or bring to the seminars, your answers to the questions above and also think about
1. What are stereotypes?
2. What reasons can you think of for Western stereotypes of immigrants?
3. What differences between the stereotype and the reality have you observed in your own experience?
4. What are prejudices?
5. What are the dangers of stereotypes and prejudices when working inter-culturally?

Mandatory readings and viewing

Dovidio, J. et al. 2010, ‘Prejudice, stereotyping and discrimination: theoretical and empirical overview’, in J Dovidio, M Hewstone, P Glick & V Esses (eds), The Sage handbook of prejudice, stereotyping and discrimination, Sage, London, pp.3-28.

An analysis of the portrayal of race in Disney heroines (09:28)

Watch Planet B-Boy, a documentary film (99 minuts) by Benson Lee about B-boy teams

OR

Listen to the short story ‘Movin’ On Up‘ from This American Life (12 minutes

Optional further reading

Underlined sections indicate particularly relevant sections of a book. Where no particular section is suggested, the whole book is relevant. You need to go to the library site and look these up. We trust you have attended one of the library information sessions by now? If not, make sure you do so and ask a librarian for help if you have any difficulty.

Abrams, ZI 2002, ‘Surfing to Cross-Cultural Awareness: Using Internet-Mediated Projects to Explore Cultural Stereotypes’, Foreign Language Annals, vol. 35, no. 2, pp. 141-61.

Allport, GW 1954, The nature of prejudice, Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA., pp. 3-16.

Burns, P, Myers, A & Kakabadse, A 1995, ‘Are National Stereotypes Discriminating?’, European Management Journal, vol. 13, no. 2, pp. 212-7.

Haslam, N, Rothschild, L & Ernst, D 2002, ‘Are essentialist beliefs associated with prejudice?’, British Journal of Social Psychology, vol. 41, pp. 87-100.

Harvey, M, Novicevic, MM, Buckley, MR & Fung, H 2005, ‘Reducing inpatriate managers’ ‘Liability of Foreignness’ by addressing stigmatization and stereotype threats’, Journal of World Business, no. 40, pp. 267-80.

Jussim, L, Cain, TR, Crawford, JT & Nelson, TD 2009, ‘The Unbearable Accuracy of Stereotypes’, in The Handbook of Prejudice, Stereotyping, and Discrimination, Psychology Press.

Stangor, C & Schaller, M 1996, ‘Stereotypes as individual and collective representations’, in CN Macrae, C Stangor & M Hewstone (eds), Stereotypes and stereotyping, The Guilford Press, New York.

Czopp, AM & Monteith, MJ 2006, ‘Thinking Well of African Americans: Measuring Complimentary Stereotypes and Negative Prejudice’, Basic and Applied Social Psychology, vol. 28, no. 3, pp. 233-50.

Stuber, J, Meyer, I & Link, B 2008, ‘Stigma, prejudice, discrimination and health’, Social Science and Medicine, vol. 67, no. 3, pp. 351-7.

Stephan, WG & Stephan, CW 1996, ‘Predicting prejudice’, International Journal of Intercultural Relations, vol. 20, no. 3-4, pp. 409-26.

Wright, SC & Taylor, DM 2007, ‘The social psychology of cultural diversity: social stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination’, in MA Hogg & J Cooper (eds), The SAGE Handbook of Social Psychology: Concise Student Edition, Sage, London, Thousand Oaks, New Delhi and Singapore.

Optional further viewing / listening / fiction:

To Kill a Mockingbird, novel by Harper Lee

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Topic 5 Developing Intercultural Communication Competence

Introduction

This week we explore developing intercultural competence using some important concepts such as worldview, ethnocentrism and cultural relativism. These concepts give us a vocabulary with which we can describe our approach to our own and different cultures. These concepts also push us to recognize the way in which we relate to other cultures, and people from other cultures, and to reflect upon those approaches. When we relate to others, are we really considering how they see the world, and how that might impact upon they perceive us? Is it possible to really understand a different culture from a point of view other than our own? Should we even try? These are all difficult, perhaps unanswerable questions, but it is nevertheless necessary that we consider them.

 Learning objectives:

By the end of this week students should be able to:

  • Understand and explain the concepts of worldview, ethnocentrism and cultural relativism.
  • Reflect on, identify and describe the student’s own worldview, and explain how it affects the student’s intercultural competence
  • Describe how an understanding of worldview, ethnocentrism and cultural relativism can improve intercultural competence by applying the concepts to different situations of cultural diversity or pluralism.

Key concepts:

  • World view
  • Ethnocentrism
  • Cultural relativism

First up, think about your own worldview. Fill out the Worldview self assessment. This will help you understand what influences there have been in your life and what prompts some of your decisions. Wordview self assessment

READ: Vidal, C. (2008). What is a worldview? In H. Van Belle & J. Van der Veken (Eds.), Nieuwheid denken. De wetenschappen en het creatieve aspect van de werkelijkheid. Leuven: Acco. Pp.3-6 (inclusive)- available online (don’t worry – it’s in English) As you read this short three page excerpt from this article, write out a list of the six dimensions of ‘worldview’. Highlight the ones you understand the least, and write out a short definition for them so we can discuss further in seminars / online discussions.

WATCH: For a very brief introduction to the key concepts, watch this 2  minute clip Hannan 2013

https://www.sophia.org/tutorials/ethnocentrism-and-cultural-relativism–2

For an understanding of relativism, read this:

Swoyer, Chris.  Relativism In Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, edited by Edward N. Zalta. Stanford: Stanford, 2014. Just read the first introductory section, up to the table of contents or the section beginning ‘A framework for relativism’. This will give you a very brief overview of the idea of relativism from a philosophical perspective and a picture of how the idea of relativism fits into different academic disciplines or study areas.

For an understanding of ethnocentrism in relation to relativism and how the terms are used read this: Ethnocentrism and Relativism   , from a Boundless research starter.

A core element of this unit is to encourage your reflective practice. That is, for you to think and reflect on your own ways and methods of thinking about intercultural communication. The tools of intercultural praxis are the key to successful intercultural encounters. This next reading will help you think more about your intercultural competence.

Read only pp 88-91 of Vol . 47, no. 2, 87– 104 in Hagar, T 2018, ‘Role of Reflective Knowledge in the Development of Intercultural Competence’, Journal of Intercultural Communication Research, Available from: 10.1080/17475759.2018.1427615. [23 February 2018].  Skills development: Library practice: For this please go to the Deakin library site and find it there. Contact a librarian if you have difficulty.

Finally, this article is about a really radical encounter between very different cultures which hold entirely different ontologies (understandings) of what a mountain is. READ: de la Cadena, Marisol. (2010). Indigenous Cosmopolitics in the Andes: Conceptual Reflections beyond “Politics”. Cultural Anthropology, 25(2), 334-370. (Read pp.334-341). You will find this in the library – refer back to your work on library skills* if you’re unsure, or ask a librarian.  As you read this article:

Note down the different understandings of the mountain that de la Cadena presents us with?
Which understanding of the mountain is closest to your understanding of what a mountain is?
What does de la Cadena observe about the way in which the different people in her story deal with this massive cultural difference? Are they being ethnocentric?

* have you enrolled in one of the library workshops or completed the study skills module on finding resources?

Optional viewing / listening / fiction:

WATCH Episode 2 of ‘Out There‘ by Stephen Fry (60 minutes)

As you watch this episode, think about the following:

In what ways is Stephen Fry’s behaviour ethnocentric? Can you give examples?
In what ways is he willing to try to understand the perspective of others? Can you give examples?
What does this documentary tell you about ethnocentrism and relativism? Is it always possible or helpful to describe someone as being either ethnocentric or relativist? Or is it a bit more complex than that? If so, how?

READ Jackson, Jane. (2014). Introducing Language and Intercultural Communication: Routledge. Read the brief section ‘Ethnocentrism’ in Chapter 7 (navigate the e-book using the contents page on the left). In the hard copy version of the book, this is pp.160-161. (you will have to find this through the library – refer back to your work in on library skills if you’re unsure, or ask a librarian). As you read this short excerpt, write out a short definition of ethnocentrism using your own words.

 

Topic 6 Language and Communication 

Introduction

This week we consider not only language as a mechanism to exchange ideas but the way it is used to convey cultural meanings. Inferences, directives and humour may be incorporated into conversations but each hold different meanings to different worldviews and cultural norms. We will also consider the way non-verbal communication influences how correctly or acceptably a message is delivered or received.

 Learning objectives:

By the end of this week students should be able to:

  • Understand and explain the concepts of language as one form of communication.
  • Reflect on the value of language as a mechanism for intercultural communication.
  • Describe how an understanding of both verbal and non-verbal communication can be useful in intercultural encounters.

Key concepts:

  • Language
  • Non Verbal Communication

Linguistic approaches to intercultural communication:

In Australia when someone says ‘you’re kidding’, they are not necessarily suggesting you are joking. More often they are saying they do not or cannot believe what they have just heard. “It all depends on the context!” is a familiar comment when a cultural misunderstanding occurs. This is especially true in the case of the reaction of British English speakers when Americans talk about their pants! The word pants has different meanings for each nationality. English is often the lingua franca of intercultural communication, but this is not without its problems. A Keren man (from Burma) was talking with Australian work colleagues about the upcoming football games on the weekend. His English was good and he had worked with these men for many months and felt welcome and comfortable. He gave his opinion about who would win a match and this was discussed excitedly, with one colleague saying that he must be a complete idiot to think that likely. The Keren man was mortified. He felt he had lost face and retreated, thinking he had been admonished. It took some time and effort to convince him that the idea of calling him an idiot was not derogatory, rather, simply, friendly banter. Australians particularly have a unique casualness to conversation. For cultures where formality is important as a sign of respect, Australian familiarity can be offensive.

Used sensitively, humour can be an extremely effective way to create rapport. At the same time, it is also possibly the most dangerous tool in the communicative repertoire, due to its dependence on accurate readings of the context in which it is being deployed. There are many versions of English and it is worth considering the particularities of different versions of English such as that used by the British, American, Australian and Chinese English speakers. An awareness of linguistic differences and cultural preferences for a particular English can ensure that communication isn’t hindered by hidden language barriers.

Transmission of the message via verbal communication

What language does do is provide the means by which we transmit a message, a question or a direction. It is a learned method of communication, not innately formed. However, there are many ways that the message is interpreted, depending on cultural expectations. What, in fact, is language? The following link is to a good overview of the different meanings surrounding the idea of language.
 Mandatory Reading
Charlebois, J 2009,  Language ‘Language, culture and social interaction’, in LA Samovar, RE Porter & ER McDaniel (eds), Intercultural communication: A reader, Wadsworth Cengage Learning, Boston, MA. https://www2.palomar.edu/anthro/language/language_2.htm

Watch these for valuable insights as well as interesting viewing. Watch with others, friends or fellow students and discuss the questions. These are optional and to access these go to the library and practice your research skills. Ask a librarian if you need help.

  1. Lost in Translation (101 minutes), directed by Sophia Coppola.
  2. The Spanish Apartment / L’auberge espagnole, (122 minutes), directed by Cedric Klapisc.

As you watch these films, observe the way in which the main characters respond to intercultural challenges, particularly the language barrier. What strategies do you see for dealing with intercultural encounters within and across the different groups? Can you make sense of, or improve upon, those strategies using the six points of entry into intercultural praxis?

Non-verbal communication

Here we will also consider non-verbal communication which provides another avenue for transmitting a message or engaging in communication. Sometimes, given language difficulties, this can be successful, particularly for those seeking intercultural exchange of ideas.

Body Language

Sociologists find body language and face work very important in understanding how people place themselves in the world, in the relation to others and particularly within workplace encounters. We can consider intercultural encounters as particularly relevant examples when a non-verbal signal holds different meanings for different cultures. Can you think of an example?

Mandatory Reading  How does communication work? Managing Cultural Diversity, Culture and Cultural Dimensions. Berninghausen, J and Minshawi, B. 2009. Kellner Publishing House, St.-Pauli-Deich 3, 28199 Bremen, Germany. pp 65-67. Here’s the PDF Berninghausen and Minshawi 2009 p 65

and pp66-67

However, misunderstanding of non-verbal signals can have two results. Firstly, offence can be caused, or taken, if misinterpretation occurs. Secondly, the verbal message delivery, accompanied by a little understood non-verbal signal can confuse the receiver. For example, some cultures will say yes as they shake their head from side to side. Other cultures see a side to side shake of the head as a no. Eye contact is seen by some cultures as being important to indicate honesty, directness and respect. Other cultures believe it is rude to look someone directly in the eye. Can you think of examples of these differences?

Optional Reading When yes means yes Managing Cultural Diversity, Culture and Cultural Dimensions. Berninghausen, J and Minshawi, B. 2009. Kellner Publishing House, St.-Pauli-Deich 3, 28199 Bremen, Germany. pp 72-73

Active listening is a technique that can be used to help minimise culture clashes. In the reading “When Yes Means Yes” , how could this technique have been used by Mr. Anstar and Mr Amir to avoid misunderstanding each other?

Finally, some other elements of the non-verbal communication involve thinking about how we speak without words in different situations and the importance of similarities between what we say and how we say it. What do particular gestures add to the context? Are there differences between gestures from country to country? Is it important to be able to read other people’s body language and gestures in intercultural settings.

Mandatory Reading  Kirch, Max S. (1979) “Non-Verbal Communication across Cultures” The Modern Language Journal 63(8): 416-423. Now, practice your research skills by going to the library site and looking this up. Ask a librarian for assistance if you are not sure.

When reading this jot down your answers to What gestures are common to some cultures? What is unique to your own culture?

Facework

The understanding of facework centres on the idea of how well or not a culture believes in the avoidance of causing shame or losing face. An outcome of an incident or actions is significant in some cultures that seek to preserve honour, dignity and reputation. Others do not place such significance on what others believe, seeking only to ensure self-image is intact.

Mandatory Reading Sorrells, K 2013 Sorrells 2013 pp205  for a description of Facework in Intercultural communication: globalization and social justice, Sage, Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore and Washington D.C.,

 Mandatory readings

Charlebois, J 2009, ‘Language, culture and social interaction’, in LA Samovar, RE Porter & ER McDaniel (eds), Intercultural communication: A reader, Wadsworth Cengage Learning, Boston, MA. https://www2.palomar.edu/anthro/language/language_2.htm

How does communication work? Managing Cultural Diversity, Culture and Cultural Dimensions. Berninghausen, J and Minshawi, B. 2009. Kellner Publishing House, St.-Pauli-Deich 3, 28199 Bremen, Germany. pp 65-67. (You will find this under resources /readings/topic six once the list is finalised)

Kirch, Max S. (1979) “Non-Verbal Communication across Cultures” The Modern Language Journal 63(8): 416-423. Now, practice your research skills by going to the library site and looking this up. Ask a librarian for assistance if you are not sure.

Sorrells, K 2013 pp.205 for a description of Facework in Intercultural communication: globalization and social justice, Sage, Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore and Washington D.C.,  (You will find this under resources /readings and further resources / e-readings when the list is finalised).

Optional further viewing / listening / fiction:

Watch How to Talk Australians – Episode 1: ‘G’DAY KNACKERS’
Warning – Offensive language used. But it is a funny example of how some cultures view the way Australians use language to build familiarity. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHQRZXM-4xI

Breathing the smells of native-styled English’: a narrativized account of an L2 sojourn JacksonJane LANGUAGE AND INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION; 2016, 16 3, p332-p348, 17p. ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD

When yes means yes Managing Cultural Diversity, Culture and Cultural Dimensions. Berninghausen, J and Minshawi, B. 2009. Kellner Publishing House, St.-Pauli-Deich 3, 28199 Bremen, Germany. pp 72-73. (Will be under resources /readings once the list is finalised)

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Topic 7 Prejudice and discrimination 

Introduction

This week we will take the concepts of prejudice and discrimination and apply them to challenging intercultural encounters. We’re all familiar with the problems associated with racial discrimination. There are not only well-known incidents, but entire historical epochs where racial discrimination, particularly the variety that understands black people to be inferior in various ways, have defined humanity: slavery, colonialism, apartheid.

Though many (though not all) of use are lucky enough to be far away from these terrible crimes, we are not so far from the daily prejudice and discrimination that take place in our own classrooms, workplaces and neighbourhoods. This week we explore the idea of race to ensure you have a good understanding of the basic concept, and we use the concepts from the previous week to develop strategies for how to improve our intercultural praxis in interracial encounters.

Learning objectives:

By the end of this week students should be able to:

  • Understand and explain the concept of race
  • Reflect on, identify and describe the student’s own racial identity, and explain how it affects the student’s intercultural praxis in contexts of racial difference.
  • Describe how an understanding of prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination can improve intercultural praxis in contexts of racial difference.
  • Describe and deploy strategies to be reflective about the student’s own prejudices in relation to race, and strategies for handling contexts where prejudice and discrimination come from others.

Key concepts:

  • Race
  • Prejudice
  • Discrimination

Mandatory reading:

READ: Sorrells, Kathryn. Intercultural communication: Globalization and social justice.  Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore and Washington D.C.: Sage, 2013. pp. 56-61. (This can be found as an e-reading under Resources / e-readings and further resources in the section Topics 5-11)

How does Sorrells define the concept of race?

READ: Fanon, Frantz. (1952/2008). Black Skin, White Masks (C. L. Markmann, Trans.). London: Pluto Press. pp. 82-87. (You will need to find it through the library)

Frantz Fanon was a radical political theorist in the mid twentieth century. He was a black man, born in the Caribbean nation of Martinique, a French colony at the time. He studied pscyhology in France, and worked for many years in Algeria, North Africa. He is one of the most important thinkers in the last 100 years on the issue of race. This book is a classic. In it, Fanon outlines the ways in which, during the colonial era, black people were encouraged by their circumstances to think of themselves as inferior to white people, while white people were encouraged to think of themselves as superior to black people. As a psychologist, and a black man, Fanon was angry about this problem, and Black Skin, White Masks is written in justifiable anger. This was an important text precisely because it revealed the psychological harm associated with racism, from the perspective of someone who experienced that racism.

You might find Fanon’s style of writing hard to get into, and he will mention some other thinkers you might not be familiar with yet (like Hegel), so this is only a short extract. As you read it, you do not necessarily need to understand every line, but try to get the general feeling and ideas. Jot down some notes on the following:

  • What kinds of experiences does Fanon talk about, related to his race?
  • Why is Fanon so angry?
  • At the top of p.87, what does Fanon identify as the solution to the misrecognition of black people as inferior?

Mandatory viewing / listening / fiction:

  1. Play the Everyday Racism App on your smartphone. Over seven days, this app allows you to play either yourself, or someone of a racial minority in Australia to experience racism from their perspective. Keep a short diary about your reactions to the game.

Optional further reading

Underlined sections indicate particularly relevant sections of a book. Where no particular section is suggested, the whole book is relevant. You will be able to decide what interests you most. 

Abrams, J, O’Connor, J & Giles, H 2002, ‘Identity and Intergroup Communication’, in WB Gudykunst & B Mody (eds), Handbook of international and intercultural communication, Sage, Thousand Oaks, London, New Delhi.

Acker, J 2006, ‘Inequality regimes: gender, class, and race in organizations’, Gender and Society, vol. 20, no. 4, pp. 441-64.

Alcoff, LM 2009, ‘What should white people do?’, Hypatia, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 6-26.

Applebaum, B 2003, ‘White privilege, complicity and the social construction of race’, Educational Foundations, vol. 17, no. 4, pp. 5-20.

Desmond, M & Emirbayer, M 2012, ‘To imagine and pursue racial justice’, Race Ethnicity and Education, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 259-89.

Dovidio, J, Gaertner, SL & Kawakami, K 2010, ‘Racism’, in J Dovidio, M Hewstone, P Glick & V Esses (eds), The Sage Handbook of Prejudice, Stereotyping and Discrimination, Sage, London.

Frankenberg, R 1993, White Women, Race Matters: The Social Construction of Whiteness, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MN.

Fredrickson, GM 2002, Racism: A Short History Princeton University Press, Princeton.

Kowal, E, Franklin, H & Paradies, Y 2013, ‘Exploring reflexive antiracism as an approach to diversity training’, Ethnicities, vol. 13 no. 3, pp. 316–37.

Martin, JM & Nakayama, TK 2006, ‘Communication as raced’, in GJ Shepher, J St. John & T Striphas (eds), Communication as …. Perspectives on Theory, Sage, Thousand Oaks, London, New Delhi.

McIntosh, P 1990, ‘White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack’, Independent School, vol. 49 no.2, pp. 31-36.

Piller, I 2011, Intercultural Communication: A Critical Introduction, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh. Ch.9

Solomona, RP, Portelli, JP, Daniel, B-J & Campbell, A 2005, ‘The discourse of denial: how white teacher candidates construct race, racism and “white privilege”‘, Race Ethnicity and Education, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 147-69.

Sorrells, K 2013, Intercultural Communication: Globalization and Social Justice, Sage, Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore and Washington D.C., pp. 99-124

Warren, JT 2009, ‘Living within whiteness: A project aimed at undermining racism’, in LA Samovar, RE Porter & ER McDaniel (eds), Intercultural communication: A reader, 12th edn, Wadsworth Cengage Learning, Boston, MA.

Some non-academic web-based resources on thinking about race:

http://www.understandingrace.org/resources/pdf/disease/smedley.pdf

http://www.aaanet.org/stmts/racepp.htm

http://www.understandingrace.org/resources/pdf/rethinking/thompson.pdf

Walton, Jessica 2014, Not Your Asian Stereotype, The Conversation. [Read the comments as well]

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Topic 8 Understanding Culture clashes and shocks 

An Introduction to Acculturation, Integration and Assimilation

Many of you have already travelled widely in the world, or will do so soon, so you’ll have some sense of what it is like to be thrown in the deep end, surrounded by a culture that is different from your own, where you are the odd one out. It is one of the toughest and most rewarding situations there is. Many studies have been done about how we survive such conditions, how we deal with culture shock, and how we ‘acculturate’, that is, how we change culturally and psychologically when we come into contact with different cultures.

This week we explore the concepts that help us explain acculturation. We contrast assimilation and integration in particular, and reflect on the ways in which these two processes can work in multiple contexts: when we travel and find ourselves the odd one out, but also when others enter our culture. When we talk about acculturation, we often imagine ourselves off in some exotic location, trying to get a grip on our surrounds and making judgments about how much and in what ways we will change. We will also challenge ourselves to look closer to home, and reflect on our interactions with indigenous Australians. We will explore how the concepts of integration and assimilation can make us more aware of the ways in which we interact with people from indigenous cultures at both the interpersonal and the intergroup levels. Inequality, tradition and cultural imperialism all play a part in the relations between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. This week we reflect on our own role in indigenous-non-indigenous relations here in Australia.

 Learning objectives:

By the end of this week students should be able to:

  • Understand and explain the concepts of acculturation, integration, and assimilation
  • Reflect on, identify and describe the student’s own experiences of acculturation, and own preferences for managing intercultural encounters.
  • Describe how an understanding of integration and assimilation can improve intercultural praxis when we move to new cultures, and when others move to ours.
  • Describe and deploy strategies to be reflective about how the student’s behavior requires assimilation or integration of others in the context of home and host cultures.
  • Understand the history of Aboriginal – non-Aboriginal relations in Australia with reference to concepts of assimilation and integration
  • Reflect on, identify and describe the student’s own view of and interactions with indigenous Australians.

Key concepts:

  • Acculturation
  • Integration
  • Assimilation
  • Indigeneity

This week’s primary task is to develop a sophisticated understanding of how we respond to new cultures by acculturating (learning a culture different from our own). in the lecture we will consider the ways culture shock is experienced in different circumstances.

As we know, historically many efforts have been made to assimilate cultures different from the dominant culture. Assimilation is when a person from one culture completely sheds their own culture, and completely adopts a new culture. When Australian Indigenous people were sent from their country to towns to work or their children stolen and sent to boarding schools and city families in order to ‘become white’, that was an active government policy of assimilation.

These days, assimilationist policies are rightly recognised as racist and dominating. However, we still need to find ways to live in contexts of cultural diversity. We need to be able to avoid outright conflict, and to be able to communicate across cultural differences. It is now widely accepted that integration, rather than assimilation is what is called for. Integration is when a person retains many or even most aspects of his or her home culture, while also learning to operate in a new culture. For example, when an Australian goes to India they will often adopt Indian dress and Indian forms of greeting, but don’t shed their own cultural identity altogether. They just learn to operate in a new one. They might even take parts of the new culture and make them a more permanent part of life, for example through adopting a daily yoga practice.

The terms ‘assimilation’ and ‘integration’ thus apply both to policies (for example concerning new migrants or indigenous people), and to our own personal development and our own personal responses to cultural change.

This week’s reading is predominantly about acculturation on an individual level. Like many of our conceptual readings, it is from social psychology and is concerned with how individuals acculturate (learn a new culture). Its aim is to convey how we don’t have to assimilate, but can more creatively and productive integrate into a new culture. In particular, it explores how we can and might deal with cultural differences when those differences entail values that we find confronting, or which really conflict with our own. Your task in reading this week’s piece is to develop your understanding of the concept of integration, how adaptation works, and how integration differs from assimilation.

Mandatory reading:

You must read both of  the following:

1) Holt, L & McKay, B 1999, “Pssst…I wanna be white”,  in Unmasking whiteness: Race relations and reconciliation, The Queensland Study Centre, Griffith University, Nathan, pp. 39-44. Holt and McKay 1999 (Available as an e-reading under Resources / Readings and further resources / Reading list)

This is a personal, not an academic piece of writing. It is written by an indigenous woman about her experiences of her racial identity. As you read this, take some notes on:

  • Holt says that she knew “right from the start” that “not to be white was … well … not quite right.” What made her feel like this? Identify some examples from her writing.
  • How does Holt describe her relationship with white friends in her adult years?
  • On page 43 she uses the word ‘paradox’ to describe how she began to feel about whiteness – what does she mean?
  • Why does she ‘wanna be white’?

2)READ Evanoff, R 2009, ‘Integration in intercultural ethics’, in LA Samovar, RE Porter & ER McDaniel (eds), Intercultural communication: A reader, Wadsworth Cengage Learning, Boston, MA. pp.447-458. Evanoff 2009 (This is available as an e-reading under Resources / Readings and further resources / Reading list)

3) Solonec, Cindy. (2013). Proper mixed-up: miscegenation among Aboriginal Australians. Australian Aboriginal Studies, 2, 76-85. (you will have to find this through the library – refer back to your work on library skills.

As you read this article, take some notes on:

  • What does Solonec argue was the ‘Aboriginal problem’ in the early years of settler Australia?
  • What is the difference between ‘biological’ and ‘cultural’ assimilation?
  • What did you learn from the family stories Solonec presents?
  • What is ‘indigenous standpoint theory’ and why does Solonec use it? What advantages does it have for her article?

Mandatory viewing / listening

When you have done the reading, watch this film:

WATCH Brick Lane (102 minutes), directed by Sarah Gavron (available via streaming – just enter your username and password)

Brick Lane is adapted from a novel about a Bangladeshi woman who migrates to the UK with her husband to make a better life for herself and her family. The film is centred on the main character, but also has a number of other rich characters, mostly migrants to the UK, all of whom handle their culture shock in different ways. Some characters separate themselves from British culture, preferring to hold on almost entirely to their home culture. Others try to completely assimilate and ‘become British’. Most are somewhere inbetween, integrating their home culture and British culture in different ways.

This film will give you some sense of the challenges involved in living in a new culture, and some insight into the real ways in which the concepts of ‘integration’, ‘assimilation’ and ‘acculturation’ work in practice. As you watch the film, make notes on each of the characters and how they fit into a schema of separation (voluntary), marginalisation (involuntary), integration and assimilation.

Optional viewing / listening/ fiction

Insight: Aboriginal or not, Available for free via SBS On Demand (you will have to register for SBS On Demand first).

This episode of Insight is about what makes a person Aboriginal. The host asks some guests and the audience to explain their experiences of self-identifying or being identified by others as indigenous. The discussion raises sensitive questions about the relationship between race and indigeneity (do you have to be visibly dark skinned to be Aboriginal?), the role of Aboriginal communities versus non-Aboriginal Australians in determining who is and isn’t indigenous, and the benefits and disadvantages of identifying as Aboriginal.

  • In Australia, as in many other settler colonies (like Canada or the USA), decisions about who does and doesn’t get to identify relates to the history of assimilation and ongoing efforts at integration in Australia. As you watch this episode, think about the following:
  • Aboriginal people were forced, and later encouraged to assimilate into the white Australian population until the 1970s. What effect has this had on the way in which Aboriginality is defined today?
  • What examples can you identify from the episode of Aboriginal people integrating into the dominant Australian culture? What makes these examples integration, rather than assimilation? (that is, how do these examples represent a blend, hybrid or balancing of dominant cultura and Aboriginal culture?)
  • What have been these Aboriginal peoples’ experiences of integration?
  • Are there examples in this episode of Aboriginal people who reject both assimilation and integration? What are their reasons, or what reasons can you imagine people might reject both assimilation and integration?
  • Optional further reading
  • Ager, A & Strang, A 2008 ‘Understanding Integration: A Conceptual Framework’, Journal of Refugee Studies, vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 166-91.

Balint, P 2013 ‘Against Respecting Each Others’ Differences’, Journal of Applied Philosophy, vol. 30, no. 3, pp. 254-67.

Berman, G & Paradies, Y 2010, ‘Racism, disadvantage and multiculturalism: towards effective anti-racist praxis’, Ethnic & Racial Studies, vol. 33, no. 2, pp. 214-32.

Berry, JW 1997, ‘Immigration, acculturation, and adaptation’, Applied Psychology: An International Review, vol. 46, no. 1, pp. 5-34.

– 2005, ‘Acculturation: Living successfully in two cultures’, International Journal of Intercultural Relations, vol. 29, no. 6, pp. 607-712.

– 2010, ‘Intercultural Relations and Acculturation in the Pacific Region’, Journal of Pacific Rim Psychology, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 95-102.

Berry, JW & Sabatier, C 2009, ‘Acculturation, discrimination, and adaptation among second generation immigrant youth in Montreal and Paris’, International Journal of Intercultural Relations, vol. 34, no. 3, pp. 191-207.

Bertossi, C & Duyvendak, JW 2012, ‘National models of immigrant integration: The costs for comparative research’, Comparative European Politics, vol. 10, pp. 237-47.

Bhabha, H 1994, The location of culture, Routledge, London. [NB: This is a hard but worthwhile read.]

Comaroff, J & Comaroff, J 2001, ‘Naturing the Nation: Aliens, Apocalypse and the Postcolonial State’, Journal of Southern African Studies, vol. 27, no. 3, pp. 627-51.

Ford, RT 2013, ‘Headscarves, accommodation and the problem of joint costs’, Social Identities, vol. 19, no. 6, pp. 704-22.

Garcea, EAA 1998, ‘European Perspectives on Intercultural Communication’, European Journal of Intercultural studies, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 25-40.

Glenn, D, Bouvet, E & Floriani, S (eds) 2011, Imagining home: migrants and the search for a new belonging, Wakefield Press, Kent Town, South Australia. (Read any of the essays)

Karnera, C & Parker, D 2011, ‘Conviviality and Conflict: Pluralism, Resilience and Hope in Inner-City Birmingham ‘, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, vol. 37, no. 3, pp. 355 – 72.

Kunst, J & Sam, D 2013, ‘Relationship between perceived acculturation expectations and Muslim minority youth’s acculturation and adaptation’, International Journal of Intercultural Relations, vol. 37, no. 4, pp. 477-90.

Koopmans, R 2013, ‘Multiculturalism and Immigration: A Contested Field in Cross-National Comparison’, Annual Review of Sociology, vol. 39, pp. 147-69.

Mansouri, F 2013, ‘Transnational practices, social inclusion, and Muslim migrant integration in the West ‘, in N Steiner, R Mason & A Hayes (eds), Migration and insecurity: citizenship and social inclusion in a transnational era, Routledge, London.

Murphy, B 2009, The other Australia : experiences of migration Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Rainbird, S 2013, ‘Negotiating integration: refugees and asylum seekers in Australia and the UK ‘, in N Steiner, R Mason & A Hayes (eds), Migration and insecurity : citizenship and social inclusion in a transnational era, Routledge, London.

Sadat, MH 2008, ‘Hyphenating Afghaniyat (Afghan-ness) in the Afghan Diaspora’, Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, vol. 28, no. 3, pp. 329-42.

Sam, D & Berry, J 2010, ‘Acculturation: When Individuals and Groups of Different Cultural Backgrounds Meet’, Perspectives on Psychological Science, vol. 5, no. 4, pp. 472-81.

Sorrells, K 2013, Intercultural Communication: Globalization and Social Justice, Sage, Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore and Washington D.C., pp.99-124 on migration; and pp.201-226 on conflict.

Squire, V 2011, ‘From Community Cohesion to Mobile Solidarities: The City of Sanctuary Network and the Strangers into Citizens Campaign’, Political Studies, vol. 59, pp. 290-307.

Vedder, P, Sam, DL & Liebkind, K 2007, ‘The Acculturation and Adaptation of Turkish Adolescents in North-Western Europe’, Applied Developmental Science, vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 126-36.

Wagner, U, Christ, O & Heitmeyer, W 2010, ‘Anti-immigration bias’, in J Dovidio, M Hewstone, P Glick & V Esses (eds), The Sage Handbook of Prejudice, Stereotyping and Discrimination, Sage, London.

Ward, C 2013, ‘Probing identity, integration and adaptation: Big questions, little answers’, International Journal of Intercultural Relations, vol. 37, no. 4, pp. 391-404.

Werbner, P & Modood, T (eds) 1997, Debating cultural hybridity, Zed Books, London.

Wills, S 2013, ‘Negotiating migration, sentiment, and insecurity: encounters with sadness and shame in Australia ‘, in N Steiner, R Mason & A Hayes (eds), Migration and insecurity : citizenship and social inclusion in a transnational era, Routledge, London.

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Topic 9 Negotiating Cultural and Communication Differences

Introduction

This week’s work is focussed on addressing conflict and resolving cross-cultural differences. We will extend our discussion of culture clashes to encompass conflict more widely and how a variety of culturally-related factors influence perceptions of conflict and reactions to it. We will then reflect on the implications for effective cross-cultural communication and team-working, before turning our attention to approaches to conflict management and the role of cultural awareness and sensitivity in finding effective solutions to cross-cultural differences. In doing so, we will reflect on the impact of a range of factors that may be important when considering how best to resolve conflicts.

Learning objectives

By the end of this week students should be able to:

  • Understand and explain the ways in which conflict can arise as a result of cross cultural differences.
  • Consider the ways intercultural (and cross cultural) differences can be addressed through sound intercultural praxis.
  • Utilise tools of conflict resolution.

Key concepts:

  • Cultural difference within Australia
  • Conflict resolution and negotiation within intercultural communication practice.

Part of our discussion these last weeks has been to think as much about cultural differences between the Australian Aboriginal people and the dominant culture (white culture) as much as about the cultural differences of those new to Australia and the dominant culture. It is important that the Aboriginal population is not left as a side note to cultural differences. Although numbering only 2.8% (ABS 2018) of the population, the nation’s First People have significant importance to those who recognise diversity as one of the important and distinguishing features of Australia. For more on the statistics gathered in the 2016 census see Australian and Torres Strait Islander People

Then, if you are interested in how Hofstede’s research analysed the Aboriginal Australian dimensions of culture (remember there is criticism that this too is a western construct) read Page 91 of Identifying cultural design requirements for an Australian indigenous website.

Firstly then, how much diversity is evident in the Australian population? What opportunities for cultural biases and for conflict and negotiation skills to be required as a result? For example, here is, from the 2016 census, a couple of images of ancestry which indicates how cultural practices may have been absorbed and observed throughout the population. As a result, the cultural  impacts and differences that require negotiation for positive intercultural communication are vast and varied. You may experience many as a student, worker and community member.

Source of images:
Australian Bureau of Statistics Census of Population 2007.0 – Census of Population and Housing: Consultation on Topics, 2021  Latest ISSUE 03/04/2018

However, we need to ask if looking at only five gives enough depth for thinking about the need for negotiation skills? Below we see that 50% of the population is third generation Australian. Does this denote a dominant culture? How does this 50% communicate with the diverse cultures of the other 50%? What negotiation styles are required? Think back to Hofstede’s work on the dimensions which help us understand difference.

If you have been practicing intercultural praxis (Sorrells 2013) and honing your communication skills then any negotiating you undertake will likely be successful. If you use Sorrells  (2013) entry points when considering conflict, again, you are likely to be successful. Friedrich (2018) suggests that it is important to be mindful of diverse beliefs which influence behaviour when facing conflict or having to negotiate.When working or studying within a different culture from your own, considering worldviews that differ from your own will be critical to how you engage in the discussion. Below are two very helpful sites for when you need to consider the way in which you will engage in conflict resolution or negotiation.  Look at these for help in understanding how conflict can have positive outcomes if handled well.

Two helpful sites:

  1. The Community Tool Box  Community Tool Box: Conflict Resolution

2 The Conflict Resolution Network Conflict is the stuff of life

 Mandatory Reading (s):

LeBaron, Michelle. (2004) “Culture-Based Negotiation Styles.” Beyond Intractability. Eds. Guy Burgess and Heidi Burgess. Conflict Information Consortium, University of Colorado, Boulder. Posted: July 2003 <http://www.beyondintractability.org/essay/culture-negotiation>.

Now listen to Margaret Throsby’s interview with Stan Grant- there is music within this audio that will take some time but you might enjoy the listening of that too! Each piece is not too long and it is interesting to know why he’s chosen each piece. Stan Grant with Margaret Throsby   

Or read the transcript Transcript of interview

(Note that we are trying to track the transcript down – it seems to be removed).

Optional further readings
In 1967 Australian people were asked to consider whether Aboriginal people should be included in the census, taken every four years. The answer was a resounding yes. Read Right Wrongs   for how life was for Aboriginal people at that time. Now, consider the cross-cultural differences experienced by Aboriginal people as they became more included in the wider society and its cultural norms. What did they face, in reality? What conflict and cross-cultural differences were experienced? We will discuss these in the seminars. Do some reading and bring your ideas to the seminars.

 In the next topic we look at understanding power, hierarchy, authority and control appear in various forms…………and how these often create the need for negotiation and conflict resolution……….

 References

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2007.0 – Census of Population and Housing: Consultation on Topics, 2021  Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 03/04/2018    www.abs.gov.au  Retrieved 20/3/2018

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Topic 10 Understanding Power and Hierarchy, Authority and Control 

Introduction

We need now to consider how intercultural communication is impacted by the presence of power or authority, and how these create different types of hierarchy and forms of control. In interpersonal contexts, cultural differences can be mechanisms by which power is asserted and those in a host context can be viewed as holding power. Those who do not hold power, have little control then over how they are perceived or understood. In workplace or social situations this can be dis-empowering and discriminatory.

We will explore the role of power in hierarchies and types of power dynamic and distribution with a view to reflecting on how power-balances can be employed for positive effect. We will also reflect on how authority can be created, enhanced, undermined and lost in a range of cultural settings.

Learning objectives:

By the end of this week students should be able to:

  • Understand and explain the concepts of power and hierarchy, authority and control
  • Describe how an understanding of power can improve intercultural praxis when we move to new cultures, and when others move to ours.

Key concepts:

  • Power and Hierarchy
  • Authority
  • Control

Think back to the earlier concepts of hierarchies and power and control. The fact of cultural, social and national hierarchies is something history has explained and which we, as intercultural communication practitioners can be mindful of and address through employing intercultural awareness and praxis.  The Quijano reading (from Topic 2) argued that the ways we think, and the ways we reason with and talk with each-other, prop up those old hierarchies between cultures. Quijano, Aníbal. (2007). Coloniality and modernity / rationality Cultural Studies, 21(2), 168-178

The Wilson reading from earlier also described the effects of cultural hierarchies. Wilson, Samuel M. The Emperor’s Giraffe and other stories of cultures in contact. Boulder, CO.: Westview Press, 2000.  These stories bring to life the ways in which hierarchies between different cultures played out in real people’s lives, in real places

  • Mandatory viewing / preparation

Now we will consider how these historical influences play out currently. The film ‘Babel’, tells three stories about intercultural encounters, all of which involve conflict, misunderstanding or catastrophe.Example from Babel set in Tazarine Morocco. Before you come to the class (lecture), make sure you  WATCH Babel (143 minutes), film directed by directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, 2006. (Find this via the link http://deakin.kanopy.com/video/babel library. You may need to enter your Deakin username and password). As you watch this film, think about the following:

  • Jot down a few thoughts about the relationships of power you see between different characters in this film.
  • How many ‘cultures’ are represented? Think beyond merely national terms.
  • What power, control, hierarchies and authority are exhibited?
  • Pick one or two characters you find interesting and your thoughts on their cultural identity – how do they define themselves? How are they seen by others? Do you think they practice any of Sorrells’ six entry points to intercultural praxis? Think about how they could have, should have, applied inquiry, framing, positioning, dialogue, reflection, action …we’ll talk about this in the seminars.

Understanding Power and Hierarchy

The Wilson readings demonstrated how the ways in which hierarchies between different cultures played out in real people’s lives, in real places. It is important to consider the concept of power that comes from being higher up the chain of influence as much as it is important to consider what those without such power experience. The following reading from Piller (2011) illustrates how effects of hegemonic language ideologies create avenues of inequality. Read from halfway at page 161 to end of page 162. This is about the experience of Indigenous Australians and the book has examples of other cultures if you would like to explore further. It is available as an e-book in the Deakin library.

Mandatory reading: Piller, Ingrid 2011 pp 161-162 Intercultural Communication : A Critical Introduction, Edinburgh : Edinburgh University Press. Piller

World view, personal and socio-cultural values and national culture-related power dynamics affect intercultural communication. Understanding ways in which culture relates to power and resultant inequality in communication encounters is crucial to likely success of intercultural encounters The values, beliefs and attitudes that are held by those seeking to communicate directly impact on intercultural communication. The attitudes or cultural biases we have discussed in other topics come into play and it is prudent to identify any that may be inherent in our own communication methods.  An example is that it is not only what is said but the way it is said that can create environments of power:

Bernighausen and Minshawi (2009 p 60) focus on the concept that “In some cultures loud conversation is quickly considered aggressive and soft talking is sometimes interpreted as insecurity. The raising and lowering of voices results in different interpretations.” As such, knowledge of the way a culture approaches communication is important and you will find knowledge of Halls’ high and low context helpful in this regard. So too, this next reading which focusses on active listening and adapting communication styles to balance power inequalities.

Mandatory reading:  Brinkmann, U, & Weerdenburg, O, 2014, Intercultural readiness : four competences for working across cultures, [Basingstoke] : Palgrave Macmillan, pp 43-45 Intercultural Readiness

Understanding Authority and Control

The ways in which culture creates power dynamics which in turn can lead to inequality is a particular topic of interest to those working inter-culturally. In fact, where hierarchies can result in inequality of power, power can result in control. This can be an even more powerful, dangerous and distressing element which, in the hands of those disinterested in fairness, equality and harmony create racist and discriminatory practices. Again, why should intercultural communicators focus on such terms?  Because, for students studying or working overseas, understanding who has authority and who has control can make the difference between a successful engagement or one which flounders.

Witte (1993) identified key behaviour influences that (can) determine control of an engagement. These include non-verbal expressiveness,
perceptions of similarities, confidence, perceived communication effectiveness and a willingness to embrace intercultural adaptation. By considering the interaction dynamics resulting from these, an intercultural communication encounter is more likely to succeed.

Finally, Lieberman and Gamst (2015) identified that within successful approaches to intercultural communication competence (ICC) there are three trends emerging. These include intercultural competence in learning about other cultures, the degree to which ICC is adopted and linkages between multicultural competence/social justice initiatives and ICC. To read more on this Optional reading

  • References

Brauer, M. and Chaurand, N. 2010. Descriptive norms, prescriptive norms, and social control: An intercultural comparison of people’s reactions to uncivil behaviors European Journal of Social Psychology Eur. J. Soc. Psychol. 40, 490–499 (2010)

Brinkmann, U, & Weerdenburg, O, 2014, Intercultural readiness : four competences for working across cultures, [Basingstoke] : Palgrave Macmillan, pp 43-45

Gudykunst, W.B and Hammer, M.R. 1988. Strangers and hosts: An uncertainty reduction based theory of intercultural adaptation. In Y. Y. Kim & W. B. Gudykunst (Eds.), Cross-Cultural Adaptation: Current Approaches (pp. 106-139). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Piller, I. 2011, Intercultural Communication : A Critical Introduction, n.p.: Edinburgh : Edinburgh University Press.

Samovar, LA, Porter, RE, & McDaniel, ER 2009, Intercultural communication : a reader, Boston, MA : Wadsworth Cengage Learning, c2009.

Witte K 1993. A theory of cognition and negative affect: Extending Gudykunst and Hammer’s theory of uncertainty and anxiety reduction. International Journal of Intercultural Relations. Vol 17, pp. 197-215.

van der Zee, K.I. and van Oudenhoven, J P. 2000.  The multicultural personality questionnaire: A multidimensional instrument of multicultural effectiveness European Journal of Personality, 14 (2000), pp. 291-309

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Topic 11 Intercultural Communication as Critical Reflective Practice

Introduction

In this session we will look back at the topics covered in the course and reflect on how your understandings of intercultural awareness have developed. We will also consider the relationships between the individual’s personality and values and intercultural communication and awareness with a view to discussing how best to further develop these skills in oneself and others. We will conclude with an exploration of what it means to be inter-culturally competent in relation to one’s professional development and career in the global business environment.

We will also review the key concepts from the course, and bring them all together to reflect on what we have learned about intercultural praxis and this mechanism for fostering positive intercultural communication.

Learning objectives:

By the end of this week students should be able to:

  • Recall, understand and explain the key concepts covered in all previous weeks
  • Use key principles of intercultural communication in analysis and evaluation of how world view, personal and socio-cultural values and power dynamics affect intercultural communication.
  • Apply principles of intercultural communication to reflect on how the student’s own culture affects him or her as an intercultural communicator and global citizen
  • Effectively reflect on and describe the intercultural skills and strategies for effective intercultural communication developed during the course, and explain their applicability in situations of cultural diversity, with particular reference to how these skills and strategies allow the student to communicate effectively, to avoid miscommunication (including offense, embarrassment and confusion), and to handle conflict effectively in contexts of personal relationships, study and work.

(Yes, these are the learning objectives of the unit as a whole!)

 Key features (principles) of Intercultural Communication

Here are the main ideas we have canvassed during the unit:

1 An understanding and use of intercultural praxis (Sorrells 2013). This is a principle which refers to the act of engaging inter-culturally, informed by deep thinking. There are six entry points to applying this principle successfully. These are, in no particular order, inquiry, framing, positioning, dialogue, reflection and action.

2 At the heart of good intercultural communication is an understanding of oneself. Note here – you need to have done the cultural self-assessment task and also the world view self-assessment. I have attached these for your use.

3 An historical understanding of the ways in which culture has related to power and inequality.

4 An understanding of Hall’s theory of high and low context cultures and different cultures’ relationships to time.

5 An understanding of Hofstede’s dimensions of high and low power distance, strong and weak uncertainty avoidance, individualism and collectivism, masculinity and femininity and cultures which hold either long term or short-term orientation.

6 An understanding of how being able to recognise the concepts of prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination can improve intercultural praxis.

7 The development of strategies to improve intercultural praxis in interracial encounters. That is, be able to describe and deploy strategies to be reflective about the student’s own prejudices in relation to race, and strategies for handling contexts where prejudice and discrimination come from others.

8 An understanding of the processes of acculturation, assimilation and integration and how they impact those involved.

9 An understanding of the way in which inequality, tradition and cultural imperialism have played a part in the relations between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.

10 An ability to consider ways of interacting in a culturally sensitive and appropriate manner when engaging with members of  a culture different from one’s own.

Intercultural Communication Competence (ICC) 

For most students successful intercultural communication competence means an ability to interact with another culture, either in their own cultural environment or that of a country they visit. To do so requires an interest in and focus on Meta-level communication as well as being an active listener. To understand these, read Managing Cultural Diversity, Culture and Cultural Dimensions. Berninghausen, J and Minshawi, B. 2009. Kellner Publishing House, St.-Pauli-Deich 3, 28199 Bremen, Germany. pp 66-67 Intercultural communication. The authors also suggest these are learned skills and that there are three phases of intercultural competence to enhancing interactions when working or living within another culture. These are  :
Awareness: being aware that one’s own culture has some prejudice and norms that are not held universally. That one culture’s values are just as valid as any others and that each culture has found solutions to solve its own problems that are culturally appropriate.
Knowledge: Specific cultural standards are passed through generations via forms of perception, thoughts, values and actions that strengthen cultural societal bonds. These patterns and bonds are identifiable.
Skills: Being able to consider perspectives different from one’s own can be learned and practiced. Active listening and  meta-level communication are two methods to be developed. Another is being able to re-frame situations to gain understanding of the wider context.

Your understanding of Sorrells’ (2013) intercultural praxis will strengthen your ability to undertake such thinking. If you are able to employ any or all of the six entry points you will develop the three competencies. Finally, different cultures and the individuals within a culture do not all hold the same views of the world. There is not one model of values, beliefs or rules that are universally adopted. Therefore it is ‘useful to consciously see the situation from a distance and to look at the facts objectively from a third perspective’ Berninghausen and Minshawi (2009 p241). To do this you should employ your Intercultural Praxis entry points (Sorrells 2013).

Reflecting on your ability to be an Inter-culturally Competent Communicator

One of the keys to successful intercultural communication will be your ability to recognise your own strengths and weaknesses in this field. Do you understand your own (culture’s) position on Hofstede’s dimensions? Do you understand where you sit in regard to Hall’s polychronic or monochronic time orientation? Do you understand these in relation to the country or culture with which you are, or will be, engaged? Reflection on your learning within this unit and experiences you have encountered will help you prepare for and be a better intercultural communicator.

Activity

Talk to a person from another culture. Ask them what problems they face in communicating with members of your culture. Try and list out the problem areas and discuss how the problems may arise and ways in which they may be overcome, or minimised. By understanding, accepting and welcoming a diversity of cultural approaches to everyday interactions we are more able to address differences. We are able to consider why we are trying to do it, and why it may, or may not work as we expect. This of course leads us to critical reflection of what our role is, as students, travellers, co-workers and friends in different environments. This, in other words, can be the basis of critically reflective practice.

Read

just the abstract of the following article Defining and Communicating what Intercultural and Intercultural Communication means to us  in order to gain some insight into reflection practice. The journal from which this article comes is very valuable. Practice your library skills by looking up the Journal of International and Intercultural Communication and perusing some of the issues. The authors of this particular article may be well known to you by now so their own reflection is valuable. The full article is recommended reading if you are interested in pursuing the understanding of intercultural competence, communicative and other.

Reflecting

To wrap up this unit I would like you to consider the key elements of what it means to be able to communicate inter-culturally. From Berninghausen and Minshawi (2009 p253) there are a set of guidelines to assessing the beneficial characteristics for intercultural competence. These are broader than what is listed above for intercultural communication competence but will be helpful for your assessment of and reflection on your own general intercultural competence.  You will find this list useful for when constructing your reflection element of the conclusion to your report as well as for your overall endeavours to be an culturally competent global citizen……..  Beneficial Characteristics for Learning Intercultural Competence

Cultural Diversity self assessment

Worldview self assessment

Further reading

Kim, Y.Y. (2008). Intercultural personhood: Globalization and a way of being. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 32(4), July, 359–368.

Berry, J.W. (2008). Globalisation and acculturation. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 32(4), 328–336.

Piller, I 2011, Intercultural communication : a critical introduction, Edinburgh : Edinburgh University Press, 2011.

Brinkmann, U, & Weerdenburg, Ov 2014, Intercultural readiness : four competences for working across cultures, [Basingstoke] : Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.

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