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Intercultural Communication

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Simone Belli

on 20 May 2014

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Transcript of Intercultural Communication

Intercultural Communication
Having a Culture. What does it mean?
I'm Finnish,
I'm a girl,
I'm a student,
Well, I don't know, my mother is from Austria, my father from Japan, and I was born in New Zealand but I've grown up here.
Social Identity
"Culture is viewed as nation, as ethnicity, as faith, as fender, or sexuality, all these 'cultures have one thing in common: they are imagined communities" (Anderson, 1991). For example: 'Where are you from?' question or phenotype categorization.
Culture is ubiquitous, multidimensional, complex, and pervasive
(Samovar and Porter, 2003).
Culture is complex, but Intercultural Communication is even more complex!
Passe partout cliche: The more distant in geographic and linguistic origin, the more 'cultural difference' (Hinnenkamp, 1987).
Cultural differences are not explained by saying:
'Yuko communicates indirectly because she is Japanese'
Who am I?
Discursive constructions: We don't
have culture but we construct culture discursively (Piller, 2007)
Culture cannot be studied empirically and can never be an a priori assumption
Australia Day,
Independence Day, Day of German Unity, etc.
Making culture!
Context always matters! For example the use of 'Yes' in different languages and different countries. It's an a priori assumption about 'culture' and 'language'.
Can you misunderstand a smile?
Intercultural Communication needs a more sophisticated understanding of natural language processes, particularly multilingual interactions and ethnographic approaches in order not to mistake language problems for cultural problems (Piller, 2007).
Linguistic misunderstandings are often mistaken for cultural misunderstandings (Roberts et al., 2005)
Social Categorization
"Why choose a Filipina? Women from the Philippines are noted for their beauty, grace, charm and loyalty. With their sweet nature and shy smiles, Filipina ladies posses [sic] an inner beauty that most men find irresistible. Filipina women are by their nature family-orientated, resourceful and devoted. What’s more, English is one of the official languages of the Philippines, so communication is straight forward [sic], and as the majority of Filipina ladies are Christian, cultural compatibility is easier than some other Asian countries.3
Russian women share in their belief of traditional values and the desire to devote themselves to the man of their dreams. Russian women are affectionate, family oriented, and unlike American women, comfortable with their femininity. They are pleasers and not competitors. They expect their man to be the head of the family. Furthermore, Russian women look for what’s positive in a man. They don’t care about your looks, or possessions; they care about your personal qualities. They look for sensitivity, trust and understanding.4
Thai girls often seek a gentleman who is 10 to 30 years older. They prefer an [sic] mature man who can take care of them. In all the world the most beautiful women are oriental. For decades western men have appreciated the oriental femininity and beauty. The most beautiful and feminine oriental women are Thai. Their grace, elegance and feminine beauty is legendary. The teachings of the centuries old Thai culture creates Thai girls who have high moral values, a strong commitment to their families, and are supportive of their husbands.In Thailand, putting one’s own interests before those of others is unusual."

There are 4 Social Categories:
Women of particular national backgrounds
Western women
local men
Western men
There are subject of these discourse, but not its objects
Inequality and migration.
Class, race and gender division
we divided the world into “them” and “us”
historical process
social control
Used to simplify and control judgments about everyday situations.
Cognitive function
Ideological function
making a decision before becoming aware of the relevant facts of a case
It's always negative
Produce racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia and others discriminations.

As shown by this video, stereotyped groups are reduced to a single physically-apparent status.

This can then be linked to the broader social structure, noting that when there is a history of conflict or social inequality between two groups, people tend to rationalize discriminatory behavior through stereotypes; people then use stereotypes to change or maintain the status quo.
approaches to examining cultural process (Gudykunst, Yun Kim, 1995):
To look at how a particular culture works from the inside
To compare one culture with another
'Kim communicates directly because she is from United States'
They only tell us how people communicate,
but it does not tell us
there are differences.
Cultural variability is used to explain
cross-cultural differences in communicating across cultures (Gudykunst, Yun Kim, 1995)
Low/High Context Communication
Uncertainty Avoidance
Power Distance
Gender differentiation
People are supposed to
look after themselves and
their family only
People belong to ingroups
or collectivities which are
supposed to look after them
in exchange for loyalty
(Hofstede,Bond, 1984)
Importance of Ingroup
They tend to be universalistic and
they apply different value standards.
Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, 1987
Individualistic Values
Collectivistic Values
1. Materialism - Evaluate thinghs
in monetary terms

2. Success - Try again!

3. Work and Activity

4. Progress - the new is the best

5. Rationality - reasonable,
time-saving way of doing things

6. Democracy

7. Humanitarianism
1. Hospitality - Give asylum

2. Generosity

3. Courage - Ability to stand emotional strain

4. Honor - is conducive to group cohesion and survival

5. Self-respect
Totally horizontal
Conversational Maxims (Grice, 1975)
1. Do not give more information than necessary
2. State only that which you believe to be true
3. Contributions must be pertinent to the context
4. Avoid obscure expressions, ambiguity,
excessive verbosity and disorganization.
Quantity maxim
Quality maxim
Relevance maxim
Manner maxim
use of indirect, ambiguous messages
use of categorical words such as "certainly", "absolutely", and positevely
"maybe", "perhaphs",
openess with others
"Uncertainty and ambiguity, which express
itself in higher levels of anxiety and energy release, creates the need for formal rules and absolute truth, and less tolerance for people or groups with deviant ideas or behavior" (Hofstede, 1979)
what is different, is dangerous (high a.)
what is different, is curious (low a.)
In high, suspicious of foreigners as managers, inmigrants should be sent back home
In low, acceptance of foreigners as managers, tolerate immigrants, accept them as neighbors
"The extent to which the less powerful members of institutions and organizations accept that power is distributed unequally" (Hofstede & Bond, 1984).
It's useful to understand role relationships.
It's not Leonard Hofstadter!
accept power as part of society;
obedience in their children;
close supervision;
fear of disagreement;
lack of trust.
power should be used only legitimate;
respect for individuality;

deceit and theft.
How gender roles are distributed in cultures?
"Masculinity pertains to societies in which social gender roles are clearly distinct; femininity, social gender roles overlap" (Hofstede, 1991)
High value on
things, power,
On quality of life, nurturance, service
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