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Ch. 3 Culture, Communication, Context, and Power

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Karla Salmon

on 22 January 2014

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Transcript of Ch. 3 Culture, Communication, Context, and Power

Ch. 3 Culture, Communication, Context, and Power
What is Culture?
Culture is often considered the core concept in intercultural communication.

- learned patterns of behavior and attitudes shared by a group of people (Martin & Nakayama, 2013, p.88).

Communication scholars from the social science paradigm view culture as a set of learned, group-related perceptions (B. Hall, 1992, p.91).

Interpretive scholars view culture as shared and learned; focusing more on contextual patterns than group related perceptions (Martin & Nakayama, 2013, p.91).
Interpretive Definitions
A common example of interpretive scholarship is
ethnography of communication
- a specialized area of study within communication. Taking an interpretive perspective, scholars analyze verbal and non verbal activities that have symbolic significance for the members of cultural groups to understand the rules and patterns followed by the groups (Martin & Nakayama, 2013, p.91).

Symbolic significance
- The importance of meaning that most members of a cultural group attach to a communication activity (Martin & Nakayama, 2013, p.92).

Embodied ethnocentrism
- Feeling comfortable and familiar in the spaces, behaviors, and actions of others in our own cultural surroundings (Martin & Nakayama, 2013, p.92).

This aspect of culture has implications for
understanding adaptation to other
cultural norms and spaces.

The Relationship between Culture and Communication
The relationship between culture and communication is complex. Culture and communication are interrelated and reciprocal; and they influence each other.

Intercultural conflicts are often caused by differences in values.
Cultural values
are the worldview of a cultural group and its set of deeply held beliefs.

Responses to the value orientations below can help us understand differences in cultural values
Communication patterns give voice to social identity.

Cultural forms and frames (terms, rituals, myths, and social dramas) are enacted through structuring norms of conversation and interaction (Martin & Nakayama, 2013, p. 111).

Communication ritual- a set form of systematic interactions that take place on a regular basis; it is a form of close, supportive, and flexible speech aimed at solving personal problems and affirming participants' identities (Martin & Nakayama, 2013, p. 112).

Cultural communication studies sees culture as performative.
Performative- Acting or presenting oneself in a specific way so as to accomplish some goal (Martin & Nakayama, 2013, p. 112).

Autoethnography- Research method where writers examine their own life experiences to discover broader cultural insights (Martin & Nakayama, 2013, p. 112).
By: Karla Salmon
Critical Definitions: Culture as Heterogenous, Dynamic, and a Contested Zone
Critical scholars suggest that in emphasizing only the shared aspects of culture, we gloss over the many interesting differences (Martin & Nakayama, 2013, p. 94).

Ex: What is U.S. American culture?

Viewing culture as a contested site opens up new ways of thinking about intercultural communication...allows us to understand the complexities of that culture, and make us more sensitive to how people live in that culture (Martin & Nakayama, 2013, p. 96).
Communication is a symbolic process whereby reality is produced, maintained, repaired, and transformed (Martin & Nakayama, 2013, p. 96).

Ways communication can be viewed:
The social science perspective emphasizes the components of speaker, sender, receiver, message and channel, and variables; communication tends to be patterned and can be predicted
The interpretive perspective emphasizes the symbolic and processual nature of communication; words and gestures have no inherent meaning, instead they gain their significance through an agreed-upon meaning.
The critical perspective emphasizes the involvement of power dynamics; not all voices and symbols are equal.
Human Nature Basically good Mixture of good and evil Basically evil

Relationship b/t
humans and nature Humans dominate Harmony exists b/t the two Nature dominates

Relationship b/t
humans Individual Group oriented Collateral

Preferred "Doing": stress "Growing": stress on "Being": stress on who you are
personality on action spiritual growth

Time Orientation Future oriented Present oriented Past Oriented
Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck Value Orientations
(Martin & Nakayama, 2013, p. 101)
Geert Hofstede extended the work of Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck, but instead examined value differences among national societies.

Power distance
- A cultural variability dimension that concerns the extent to which people accept an unequal distribution of power (Martin & Nakayama, 2013, p. 109).

- A cultural variability dimension that concerns the degree of being feminine--valuing fluid gender roles, quality of life, service, relationships, and interdependence--and the degree of being masculine--emphasizing distinctive gender roles, ambition, materialism, and interdependence (Martin & Nakayama, 2013, p. 109).

Uncertainty avoidance
- A cultural variability dimension that concerns the extent to which uncertainty, ambiguity, and deviant ideas and behaviors are avoided (Martin & Nakayama, 2013, p. 109).

Long-term vs. Short-term orientation
- A cultural variability dimension that reflects a cultural-group orientation toward virtue or truth. The long-term orientation emphasizes virtue, whereas the short-term orientation emphasizes truth (Martin & Nakayama, 2013, p. 109).
Communication Reinforces Culture
Relationship between Communication, Context, and Power
The context also influences communication: It is the physical and social setting in which communication occurs or the larger political, social, and historical environment.

Power is pervasive and plays an enormous role in intercultural interactions.

(Martin & Nakayama, 2013, p. 123)
There are four building blocks to understanding intercultural communication:
Culture, Communication, Context, and Power
(Martin & Nakayama, 2013, p. 122).
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