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An overview of culture

  1. 1. Dr. Lora Helvie-Mason – COMS 332
  2. 2. Think about it… Why do we consider “cultural norms” an important concept when discussing acculturation? Cultural identity • The identification with and perceived acceptance within a group that has a shared systems of symbols and meanings as well as norms for conduct. Consider also: • Cultures within cultures • Superstitions (practices believed to influence the course of events)
  3. 3. Race – a large body of people characterized by similarity of descent. Distinctions between and among terms have been made throughout history and continue to change • Chinese were considered of color, Japanese were not, and Vietnamese were white. Think about it… People may be of the SAME race, but of different cultures. Example: Australians and South Africans
  4. 4.  An individual’s first likely response when entering a host culture as a sojourner or immigrant.  Five stages of culture shock: 1. Adaptation (new and exciting – “honeymoon”) 2. Acculturation (hostility toward differences) 3. Assimilation (increased ability to function in new culture) 4. Adjustment (identifying the good/bad elements of current and former culture 5. Integration (“biculturalism” – coping, with comfort, in current and former cultures) Length of time varies for each stage.
  5. 5. “Reverse” culture shock Symptoms of culture shock • Overemphasis on health, safety, cleanliness • Depression • Fatigue • Stress Think about it… Why would such symptoms exist? Would they be more or less common in various stages of culture shock?
  6. 6. ANXIETY STEREOTYPES & PREJUDICE ASSUMING SIMILARITY INSTEAD OF DIFFERENCE NONVERBAL MIS- INTERPRETATIONS ETHNOCENTRISM LANGUAGE
  7. 7. Negatively judging aspects of another culture by the standards of one’s own culture. (My way is right…everyone else is wrong). Can lead to rejection of knowledge and loss of interpersonal relationships.
  8. 8. Upon interacting with a person, our chief communication goal is to reduce our uncertainty about that person. Increased anxiety means decreased interactions Think about it… What role does URT play in an intercultural communication course? In study abroad?

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