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Module 6 Notes

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Module 6 Notes ANP200

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Module #6 lecture notes I have created by myself.
Navigating Another Culture
A. Quan
Class Notes
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This 19 page Class Notes was uploaded by NotetakerS on Wednesday December 16, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to ANP200 at Michigan State University taught by A. Quan in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 73 views. For similar materials see Navigating Another Culture in General Science at Michigan State University.


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Date Created: 12/16/15
Module  6 Cultural  Intelligence The  importance  of  Cultural  Intelligence • Cultural  intelligence refers  to  four  key  skills: ○ Having  knowledge  about  the  specific  cultural  practices  and  preferences   relevant  to  the  cultural  setting  you  are  in  (for  example,  when  local  meal   times  are,  how  a  woman  is  expected  to  dress,  significance  of  wai  in   Thailand,  etc.) ○ Having  a  broader  understanding  of  the  more  general  concepts  (such  as   gender  roles  or  styles  of  communication)  which  account  for  some  of  the   key  differences  among  people  from  different  cultures,  and  being  able  to   use  these  in  order  to  better  understand  a  situation  in  a  different  cultural   setting, ○ Knowing  our  “cautions  about  culture”  so  you  know  the  limitations  of   this  knowledge ○ Developing  flexibility  and  the  ability  to  live/work  in  ambiguous,   unfamiliar  situations  in  a  manner  that  is  effective  but  also  true  to  your   own  cultural  and  social  self  (which  is  always  changing  but  has  certain   traits). • Brooks  Peterson,  author  of  the  bookCultural  Intelligence (there  are  actually   two  books  with  this  title!),  provides  analternative  defi:  “Cultural   intelligence  is  the  ability  to  engage  in  a  set  of  behaviors  that  uses  skills  (i.e.   language  or  interpersonal  skills)  and  qualities  (e.g.  tolerance  for  ambiguity,   flexibility)  that  are  tuned  appropriately  to  the -­‐based  values  and   attitudes  of  the  people  with  whom  one  interacts.” • Related  to  cultural  intelligence  is  the  termcultural  de.  Becoming  a   cultural  detective  simply  refers  to  having  cultural  intelligence  and  being  able  to   apply  it  -­‐ to  knowing  how  to  make  sense  of  the  sometimes  puzzling  evidence   and  clues  you  will  see  in  many  intercultural  encounters.  A  cultural  detective  is   able  to  derive  these  larger  patterns  when  faced  with  the  many,  complicated   behaviors,  words,  and  symbols  that  accompany  an  intercultural  interaction.   ○ To  give  you  another  example,  having  the  knowledge  that  time  is  viewed   differently  in  Latin  America,  you  will  not  be  offended  if  you  are  made  to   wait  half  an  hour  for  an  appointment. • The  cultural  detective  will  also  have  a  sense  of  the  limits  of  culture  as  an   explanation:  e.g.  when  a  situation  may  not  involve  such  cultural  patterns,  for   example,  if  you  are  dealing  with  individuals  who  do  not  follow  local  cultural   norms  or  if  a  special  situation  leads  to  these  norms  not  being  followed.   differently  in  Latin  America,  you  will  not  be  offended  if  you  are  made  to   wait  half  an  hour  for  an  appointment. • The  cultural  detective  will  also  have  a  sense  of  the  limits  of  culture  as  an   explanation:  e.g.  when  a  situation  may  not  involve  such  cultural  patterns,  for   example,  if  you  are  dealing  with  individuals  who  do  not  follow  local  cultural   norms  or  if  a  special  situation  leads  to  these  norms  not  being  followed.   Sometimes,  there  is  no  cultural  misunderstanding,  and  either  you  or  the  other   individual  have  a  misunderstanding  or  conflict  that  might  be  based  on   personality  differences,  or  having  conflicting  goals  or  needs. Cultural  Detective  Tool  #1:  Figure  Out  the  Basics • The  first  step  for  becoming  a  cultural  detective  is  to  figure  out  the  basics  do’s   and  dont’s  of  where  you  are,  so  you  are  able  to  better  figure  out  the  deeper   insights  about  your  locality. • Assuming  that  by  now  you  believe  that  navigating  another  culture  is  important,   your  first  as  a  cultural  detective  is  to  figure  out  simple  factual  matters  about  a   local  culture  (what  are  the  rules  of  etiquette,  basic  history,  important  laws,   health  and  safety  concerns,  is  there  a  social  hierarchy,  what  are  some  behaviors   I  should  not  do,  etc.).  A  lot  of  this  information  can  be  acquired  from  good   quality  guidebooks  and  web  resources. • In  other  words,  “figuring  out  the  basics”  here  refers  to  having  knowledge  about   the  specific  cultural  practices  and  preferences  relevant  to  the  cultural  setting   you  are  in  so  that  you  can  avoid  basic  mistakes  and  make  basic  adaptations  to   the  situation  (for  example,  when  local  meal  times  are,  how  a  woman  is   expected  to  dress,  etc.). Cultural  Detective  Tool  #2:  Use  Ethnographic  Methods • A  good  cultural  detective  uses  basic  anthropological  research  methods/tools  to   learn  about  your  cultural  setting  by  gathering  first  hand  data. • Most  anthropologist  travel  to  the  culture  they  are  studying  to   conductfieldwork (research  in  the  field,  as  opposed  to  research  in  a  library  or   in  a  laboratory).  Anthropological  fieldwork  often  takes  the  form  of  (and  is   called)  ethnographic  research  or  ethnography.  As  one  anthropology  textbook   notes,  this  involves,  “living  in  the  communities  they  [anthropologists]  study,   sharing  the  lives  of  the  people  to  as  great  an  extent  as  they  can.” • More  specifically,  there  are  a  number  of  methods  that  anthropologists  use  to   learn  about  other  cultures  while  they  are  doing  fieldwork.  Here  is  one  list  of   these  techniques,  adapted  from  an  anthropology  textbook: ○ Direct,  firsthand  observation  of  daily  life. ○ Conversations  with  varying  degrees  of  formality,  from  the  daily  chitchat   that  helps  maintain  rapport  and  provides  knowledge  about  what  is  going   on  to  prolonged  interviews,  which  can  be  unstructured  or  structured.   Formal,  printed  interview  schedules  or  questionnaires  may  be  used  to   ensure  that  complete,  comparable  information  is  available  to  everyone   ○ Direct,  firsthand  observation  of  daily  life. ○ Conversations  with  varying  degrees  of  formality,  from  the  daily  chitchat   that  helps  maintain  rapport  and  provides  knowledge  about  what  is  going   on  to  prolonged  interviews,  which  can  be  unstructured  or  structured.   Formal,  printed  interview  schedules  or  questionnaires  may  be  used  to   ensure  that  complete,  comparable  information  is  available  to  everyone   of  interest  in  the  study. The  genealogical  method. ○ ○ Detailed  work  with  key  cultural  consultants  about  particular  areas  of   community  life. ○ In-­‐depth  interviewing,  often  leading  to  the  collection  of  life  histories  of   particular  people. ○ Discovery  of  local  beliefs  and  perceptions,  which  may  be  compared  with   the  ethnographer’s  own  observations  and  conclusions. ○ Problem-­‐oriented  research  of  many  sorts. ○ Longitudinal  research  “the  continuous  lon -term  study  of  an  area  or   site." ○ Team  research  coordinated  research  by  multiple  ethnographers. • The  list  below  restates  some  of  the  techniques  from  the  list  above,  adds  a   few,  and  provides  some  suggestions  for  adapting  ethnographic  techniques   and  principles  in  a  way  that  might  work opnrofessional   anthropologists .  We  suggest  you  adapt  the  following  anthropological   tools/approaches  to  help  you  learn  more  about  other  cultural  settings: ○ RapportAnthropologists  working  in  the  field  try  to  establish  rapport,  or   a  friendly  working  relationship  with  at  least  some  people  from  the   culture  they  are  studying.  You  can  work  to  develop  rapport  when  you’re   in  your  new  country  by  using  culturally  appropriate  ways  of  engaging   selected  individuals  in  conversation  (for  example,  in  some  situations  it   may  be  inappropriate  for  single  men  to  approach  single  women). ○ LanguageLearning  the  language  of  the  people  you  are  going  to  be  living   and  working  with  is  necessary,  but  you  will  need  additional  methods  to   effectively  communicate  with  people  and  learn  about  the  culture.   Understanding  common  gestures,  mannerisms  and  figures  of  speech  are   other  important  forms  of  communication  to  be  aware  of. ○ Participant  Observation is  a  method  anthropologists  use  to  understand   culture  by  looking  at  the  culture  as  a  whole.  This  holistic  approach   includes  living  with  the  people  in  their  community  and  participating  in   their  daily  activities  as  well  as  special  occasions  like  weddings,  birthdays,   holidays,  etc.  The  key  thing  is  you  are  both  participating  and  observing.   To  conduct  participant  observation  it  is  important  to  make  careful   observations  and  to  be  aware  as  much  as  possible  of  the  difference   between  describing  and  interpreting  what  you  see.  Anthropologists   often  take  notes  on  their  observations  in  a  field  journal.  Keeping  a   holidays,  etc.  The  key  thing  is  you  are  both  participating  and  observing.   To  conduct  participant  observation  it  is  important  to  make  careful   observations  and  to  be  aware  as  much  as  possible  of  the  difference   between  describing  and  interpreting  what  you  see.  Anthropologists   often  take  notes  on  their  observations  in  a  field  journal.  Keeping  a   journal  of  your  experiences  in  the  culture  may  help  you  be  a  better   cultural  detective. ○ Rely  on  multiple  storie  Just  like  an  anthropologist,  you  too  can  use  this   basic  tool,  which  is  simply,  gather  many  stories  in  order  to  get  a  fuller   picture  of  the  local  reality.  This  means  getting  multiple  stories  about  one   issue  or  event.  This  also  means  getting  stories  about  multiple  aspects  of   life–so  if  you  are  working  in  Haiti  to  help  earthquake  survivors,  for   example,  go  beyond  just  gettingd  isaster  survivor” stories.  If  you   establish  rapport  (for  example  by  following  basic  etiquette  guidelines  as   described  earlier  in  this  course),  participant  observation  and  do   interviews  with  lots  of  people,  getting  multiple  stories  will  come   naturally. ○ InterviewsIn  addition  to  participant  observation,  anthropologists  often   use  more  formal  methods  like  interviews.  Interviews,  based  rigid  or   flexible  questionnaires,  are  often  focused  on  a  specific  topic  or  set  of   topics.  You  can  make  this  process  as  formal  or  informal  as  you  wish,  for   example,  you  could  conduct  informal,  open  ended  interviews  focused   on  a  certain  topic  you  are  interested  in  or  puzzled  about:  musical  tastes,   gender  roles,  local  perceptions  of  your  country.  One  limitation  to  the   interview  method  is  that  people  often  are  not  aware  of  every  aspect  of   their  culture  (this  relates  to  the  fish  describing  water  problem  previously   described,  or  the  “under  the  iceberg”  aspects  of  culture).  Additionally,   people  may  be  worried  about  offending  or  pleasing  you  (this  problem   can  sometimes  be  lessened  with  group  interviews,  where  people  can   support  and  encourage  each  other  to  talk).  Interviews  may  prove  to  be  a   more  efficient  way  for  you  to  understand  some  of  the  specific  cultural   aspects  of  the  people  you  are  living  with. ○ Learn  some  local  categorie.s  Our  first  instinct  is  to  apply  our  categories   in  other  cultural  settings:  this  person  is  being  rude;  this  woman  is   flirtatious;  this  scene  is  chaotic,  etc.  While  some  of  these  categories   might  be  useful,  it’s  important  to  try  to  figure  out  the  relevant  local   categories  in  order  to  better  understand  local  behaviors  and   perceptions. Cultural  Detective  Tool  #3:  Some  Advice  on  Informants • A  good  cultural  detective  is  aware  of the  usefulness  and  limitations  of   informants.  In  anthropology,  ainnformant is  somebody  from  the  local  culture   who  provides  the  anthropologist  with  more  information  than  the  average   perceptions. Cultural  Detective  Tool  #3:  Some  Advice  on  Informants • A  good  cultural  detective  is  aware  of the  usefulness  and  limitations  of   informants.  In  anthropology,  ainnformant is  somebody  from  the  local  culture   who  provides  the  anthropologist  with  more  information  than  the  average   person  about  that  culture,  often  because  the  anthropologist  has  formed  a  close   relationship  with  that  person  and  that  person  has  a  lot  to  say  about  the  local   culture.  For  travelers,  informants  can  be  both  natives  and  experienced   expatriates.  Each  can  provide  different  information  and  also  be  like  a  mentor  to   you.  An  informant: ○ has  first  hand  (though  possibly  biased)  knowledge  of  the  cultural  setting   you  want  to  learn  more  about is  willing  to  help  you  learn  more  about  that  culture ○ • Though  informants  can  provide  valuable  information  that  may  be  impractical   or  impossible  to  gather  in  other  ways  (such  as  through  questionnaires  or   guidebooks  written  by  outsiders),  informants  are  not  always  a  perfect  source   of  information.  Why  not?  Here  are  some  reasons: ○ Lack  of  outsider  perspective Often,  people  from  a  given  culture  may  not   know  “why”  things  are  the  way  they  are,  because  they  are  not  distanced   enough  from  own  culture.  They  are  not  clueless  about  their  culture  but   are  often  not  detached  enough  to  know  everything  about  their  culture.   A  commonly  used  analogy  is  that  of  the  fish  not  being  aware  of  the   water  they  swim  in.  So  it  is  with  people  and  their  culture  sometimes;   they  may  be  able  to  describe  obvious  matters  but  not  as  easily  or  readily   the  underlying  values  and  assumptions.  An  exception  might  be  a  local   person  who  has  studied  his  or  her  local  culture,  such  as  a  native   anthropologist. ○ May  be  marginal  or  “atypical”Sometimes,  people  attracted  to   outsiders  such  as  anthropologists  can  be  marginal  members  of  that   society,  may  be  entrepreneurs  who  want  to  earn  some  money  from  you,   or  may  be  especially  interested  in  your  culture.  Also,  if  you  are  an   English  speaker,  be  aware  of  the  special  position(s)  that  people  you   meet  who  speak  English  may  occupy–they  could  be  more  educated  than   average,  wealthier,  especially  interested  in  and  open  to  other  cultures,   etc.  This  does  not  mean  they  cannot  provide  you  with  insights  about   their  culture,  but  these  insights  will  be  colored  in  a  certain  way. ○ May  have  an  agendaPerhaps  your  informant  is  very  proud  of  his  or  her   culture,  or  has  a  certain  political  leaning  or  position  in  that  society.  Or   the  informant  may  want  your  help  with  something.  This  may  cause  him   or  her  to  highlight  certain  aspects  of  local  society  and  to  downplay   others. ○ Fallible  memory,  inaccurate  statements There  are  many  reasons  some   culture,  or  has  a  certain  political  leaning  or  position  in  that  society.  Or   the  informant  may  want  your  help  with  something.  This  may  cause  him   or  her  to  highlight  certain  aspects  of  local  society  and  to  downplay   others. ○ Fallible  memory,  inaccurate  statements There  are  many  reasons  some   or  all  the  information  an  individual  provides  is  not  accurate:  a  desire  to   please  you,  a  hidden  agenda,  inaccurate  perception  or  recollection   of   something,  etc.  Ultimately  even  this  inaccurate  information  could  yield   insights  into  the  informants  culture  (he  told  me  this  because  he  thinks   foreigners  want  to  hear  it;  that  ’s  interesting,  I  know  more  about  how   foreigners  are  perceived  here…)  but  you  need  to  be  aware  of  this   possibility  and  not  take  everything  you  hear  as  “true”. • A  good  strategy  is  to  look  for  a  variety  of  informants  and  try  to  corroborate   information  with  different  people.  You  may  wish  to  develop  some  basic   questions  regarding  local  culture  and  try  them  on  different  people  to  see  what   they  say.  This  way,  you  will  avoid  generalizing  about  a  culture  from  the   statements  of  an  individual  who  may  represent  a  particular  social  class  or   ethnic  group.  This  method  of  using  a  variety  of  sources  and  perspectives   to   test  the  validity  of  your  findings  is  sometimes  referred  to  astriangulation. • A  special  category  of  informants  abroad  iexpatriates :  a  foreigner  living  in   the  place  you  are  visiting.  Like  any  informant,  expatriates  will  provide  a  view   of  the  world  shaped  by  their  perspective.  Some  expatriates  may  be  either   uncritically  enthusiastic  about  the  local  culture  or  may  be  bitter  and  cynical,   with  only  negative  comments  and  stereotypes  about  local  people.  An   additional  source  of  bias  comes  from  the  situational  factors  that  have   determined  why  the  expatriate  is  there:  is  he  or  she  there  for  business,   representing  a  foreign  government,  because  they  fell  in  love  with  the  place,  or   perhaps  they  were  escaping  some  situation  back  in  their  home  country?  Each   situation  may  lead  to  a  different  experience   in  the  local  culture  and  thus   different  views  of  that  locality.  However,  expatriates  often  have useful   information  of  special  interest  to  foreigners   like  you  (such  as:  how  are  people   from  your  country  viewed  there;  trouble  spots;  how  to  deal  with  logistical   issues  like  mail  and  telecommunications;  where  to  buy  comfort  foods  from   your  own  country).  Additionally, the  outsider  perspective  of  expatriatesmay   allow  them  to  see  certain  patterns  in  the  local  culture  that  local  people  may   not  be  as  aware  of. Cultural  Detective  Tool  #4:  Know  Your  Biases • As  you  learned  earlier  in  this  course,  preconceptions  and  cultural  attitudes   that  we  carry  can  affect  our  interactions  with  other  people.  There  are  two  key   categories  to  be  aware  of: ○ StereotypesThe  first  set  of  cultural  filters  is  easy  to  identify  and  deal   with.  I  am  referring  to  stereotypes  about  other  groups  of  people.  As  the   Cultural  Detective  Tool  #4:  Know  Your  Biases • As  you  learned  earlier  in  this  course,  preconceptions  and  cultural  attitudes   that  we  carry  can  affect  our  interactions  with  other  people.  There  are  two  key   categories  to  be  aware  of: ○ StereotypesThe  first  set  of  cultural  filters  is  easy  to  identify  and  deal   with.  I  am  referring  to  stereotypes  about  other  groups  of  people.  As  the   novelist  said,  you  may  read  a  true  story  that  helps  you  understand   poverty  in  Africa  but  fall  into  the  trap  of  thinking  about  Africa  based  on   this  “one  story”.  Try  to  avoid  this  by  learning  multiple  stories  about   other  cultural  settings  and  places.  (refer  to  the  TED  video) ○ Your  cultural  filters You  will  always  bring  your  own  cultural  filters  to  a   different  cultural  situation,  the  ones  that  tell  you  “insects  are  not  food”   in  a  place  where  insects  are  sold  as  food,  that  you  should  look  right   before  crossing  the  street  in  a  place  where  you  really  should  look  to  the   left,  or  the  ones  where  you  feel  vaguely  displeased  or  uncomfortable   because  somebody  is  “not  looking  at  you  in  the  eye”  in  a  place  where   people  don't  do  that  as  much.  There  is  nothing  wrong  with  your  own   cultural  filters.  You  just  need  to  become  aware  of  these,  so  that  you  can   successfully  navigating  other  cultures.  Even  better,  try  to  figure  out   what  the  cultural  filters  are  for  people  in  other  cult–figure  tings out  how  do  they  interpret  the  world  and  what  their  behaviors  and   statements  mean  to  them.  In  other  words,  to  try  to  see  the  world  from   their  perspective.  You  can  use  many  of  the  tools  and  concepts  from  this   course  to  accomplish  this.   Cultural  Detective  Tool  #5:  Always  Remember  Your  Cautions  about  Culture • A  good  cultural  detective  is  always  cautious  about  his/her  interpretations  and   the  limitations  of  his/her  knowledge  regarding  culture. Danger  of  forming  stereotypes  and  inaccurate  generalizations ○ ○ Situational  context  matters  (see  article  below) ○ Cultures  change ○ Because  of  the  existence  of  subcultures  and  individual  variation,  not   everybody  in  a  cultural  group  will  be  the  same ○ And  probably  the  most  important  caution:  “Context  Matters” Cultural  Detective  Tool  #6:  Use  Cultural  Variables  and  Labels  Intelligently • Throughout  the  course,we  emphasize  the  importance  of  understanding  the   underlying  patterns  of  behavior  and  thought  which  you  may  see  in  other   cultures.   • Many  writers  on  intercultural  relations  and  anthropology  agree  about  the   importance  of  using  broad  labels,  concepts,  or  categories  to  help  make  sense   of  a  huge  number  of  detailed  observations,  questions  and  statements  about   cultural  differences.  So,  if  people  are  encouraged  to  obey  authority,  respect   cultures.   • Many  writers  on  intercultural  relations  and  anthropology  agree  about  the   importance  of  using  broad  labels,  concepts,  or  categories  to  help  make  sense   of  a  huge  number  of  detailed  observations,  questions  and  statements  about   cultural  differences.  So,  if  people  are  encouraged  to  obey  authority,  respect   elders,  one  might  possibly  say  this  is  a  hierarchical   society.  Or  if  we  note  that   women  are  expected  to  dress  a  certain  way,  this  observation  could  be  framed   in  the  broader  category  of  gender  roles. • There  aretwo  very  broad  types  of  general  categoriused  to  frame   observations  about  other  cultures. Sociocultural  categories  of  analysisThis  is  my  term.  It  refers  to  the   ○ various  subtopics  in  the  field  of  sociocultural  anthropology,  such  as   gender  roles,  status  and  social  differentiation,  kinship  systems,   subsistence  and  economic  systems,  religious  and  spiritual  beliefs,  health   beliefs,  etc.    A  good  cultural  detective  can  place  detailed  observations   about  local  behaviors  into  one  or  more  of  these  appropriate  categories,   which  helps  them  better  understand  what  they  experience,  and  to  more   systematically  compare  one  culture  to  another. ○ Cultural  dimensions  or  poles The  second  is  the  “dimensions”  or  “poles”   approach.  Different  authors,  many  of  them  not  anthropologists,  have   come  up  with  many  different  “dimensions”  or  “poles”  used  to   characterize  cultures.   • Please  be  aware  of  some  cautions  related  to  these  variables: ○ No  single  variable  can  explain  every  behavior  or  beavoid  so reductionism .  Do  not  say  “They  are  individualistic”   for  example. Are  you  using the  right  variable(s)to  explain  a  particular  situation?  For   ○ example,  the  fact  that  the  whole  family  sleeps  together  in  one  room   could  have  something  to  do  with  attitudes  towards  the  family,  but  it   could  also  be  related  to  poverty. ○ Do  not  use  variables  to  stereotype  others.  Used  uncritically,  these   cultural  variables  can  easily  becomstereotypes (for  example,   “everybody  in  this  culture  is  individualistic”)  and  lead  you  to  stereotype   a  society  – for  example,  lots  of  writers  reduce  other  societies  to  a  few   essential  traits;  they  say  the  Chinese  or  Japan“rco  llectivis” or   that  people  in  the  USA  are  “individ”.  There  may  be  a  grain  of   truth  in  these  statements  but  they  can  all  too  easily  lead  one  to   stereotyping  others. ○ Because  these  variables  are  useful  shortcuts  for  understanding  cultural   differences,  users  often  forget  to  acknowledge  the  importance  of  other   importantcontextual  variables :  historical,  situational,  and  political   forces  that  also  shape  how  people  from  other  cultures  behave  and   think. ○ You  need  to  think  of  these  variables  (for  example,  whether  a  society  is   ○ Because  these  variables  are  useful  shortcuts  for  understanding  cultural   differences,  users  often  forget  to  acknowledge  the  importance  of  other   importantcontextual  variables :  historical,  situational,  and  political   forces  that  also  shape  how  people  from  other  cultures  behave  and   think. ○ You  need  to  think  of  these  variables  (for  example,  whether  a  society  is   individualistic  or  collectivistic)  a ontinuum,  with  a  lot  of  cultural   settings  fitting  in  between  the  two  extremes.  That  is,  think  in  terms  of   shades  of  gray,  not  just  black  and  white  or  either/or.  Few  people  in  few   societies  can  be  labeled  as  either  individualist  or  collectivist  for  example. ○ Finally,  remember  our  caution  to  avoid  thinking  of  culture  exclusively  as   national  (Mexican  culture,  U.S.  culture,  etc.).  Nations  contain   different “subcultural”  groups .  Some  of  these  groups  may  be   challenging  widespread  cultural  norms,  for  example,  in  many  contexts,   “collectivism”  might  not  useful  to  understand  the  behavior  and   motivations  of  modern  Chinese  businessmen. 4  Key  Cultural  Variables 1. The  concept  of  self 2. Univeralism  vs.  particularism 3. The  concept  of  time 4. The  locus  of  control Repeat,  repeat:  CAUTION :  As  with  all  the  variables  presented  in  this  module,  you   need  to  think  of  these  contrasts  as  a  continuum,  with  a  lot  of  cultural  settings  fitting   in  between  the  two  extremes.  That  is,  think  in  terms  of  shades  of  gray,  not  just  black   and  white  or  either/or.  Few  people  in  few  societies  can  be  labeled  as  either   individualist  or  collectivist  for  example.  Also  remember  the  role  of  context  (in  one   context,  a  person  may  act  in  a  more  individualist  way  than  in  others,  and  the  role  of   diversity  within  a  culture.  Finally  these  variables  are  CULTURAL,  they  are  Western   academic  concepts  used  to  describe  and  give  order  to  reality;  other  cultures  may   not  use  these  variables. The  concept  of  self:  individualist  or  collectivist • One  of  the  most  common  “scales”  (also  referred  to  as  variables,  poles,  or   dimensions)  used  to  characterized  different  cultures.  Also  referred  to  as   individual  vs.  group  orientation,  this  fundamental  variable  refers  to  the  degree   to  which  obligations  to  the  group  take  precedence  over  individual  needs  and   preferences.   • In  societies  where  an individualist trend  is  more  common,  “the  individual   identifies  primarily  with  self,  with  the  needs  of  the  individual  being  satisfied   before  those  of  the  group.”  The  United  States  is  often  described  as  a  society   where  people  as  a  norm  lean  towards  the  individualist  end  of  the  spectrum.   preferences.   • In  societies  where  an individualist trend  is  more  common,  “the  individual   identifies  primarily  with  self,  with  the  needs  of  the  individual  being  satisfied   before  those  of  the  group.”  The  United  States  is  often  described  as  a  society   where  people  as  a  norm  lean  towards  the  individualist  end  of  the  spectrum.   • In  societies  where  a collectivisttrend  is  more  common,  more  of  one’s  needs   and  identities  are  connected  to  a  group,  whether  it  be  the  family,  employer.   Meeting  the  needs  of  the  group  is  valued  over  the  needs  of  the  individual.   Japan  is  often  described  as  a  society  where  people  as  a  norm  lean  towards  the   collectivist  end  of  the  spectrum. Universalism  vs.  particularism • Though  no  society  or  individual  is  entirely  one  or  the  other,  this  dichotomy   refers  to  the  degree  to  which  people  follow  rules  and  principles  as  opposed  to   letting  their  relationship  to  a  person  dictate  their  behavior. • Universalism refers  to  the  idea  that  certain  universal  rules  apply  to   everybody,  regardless  of  the  situation  or  person. • Particularism refers  to  the  idea  that  the  person  or  situation  will  help  dictate   your  behavior.  You  may  want  to  provide  special  favors  for  your  family  and   friends,  for  example,  such  as  in  hiring  a  cousin  rather  than  a  stranger  who  may   be  better  qualified  for  the  job. The  concept  of  time:  polychronic  and  monochronic • Another  dichotomy  developed  by  anthropologist  Edward  Hall,  this  refers  to   how  people  use  and  view  time.   • A monochronicview  of  time  sees  time  as  linear  and  finite.  Deadlines  and   schedules  are  important;  things  are  done  in  a  “logical”  order  and  usually  one   at  a  time;  tasks  take  precedence  over  people.   • A polychronic view  of  time  puts  people  before  time.  Deadlines  and  schedules   are  flexible;  one  need  not  stick  to  doing  one  thing  at  a  time,  for  example,  it  is   OK  to  answer  the  phone  and  talk  at  length  to  the  caller  while  in  the  middle  of   a  meeting.   The  locus  of  control:  in  your  hands  or  in  God’s  (or  fate’s  or  society’s)  hands • This  dichotomy  refers  to  how  much  humans  think  they  can  control  their   circumstances.   • An  emphasis  on  an internal locus  of  control  stresses  free  will  and  agency  on   the  part  of  the  individual.  Statements  such  as  “You  can  be  whatever  you  want   to  be”  or  “I  am  a  doer”  would  reflect  this  view.   • An  emphasis  on  an external locus  of  control  stresses  forces  outside  of  the   power  of  the  individual  in  controlling  one’s  life.  Statements  such  as  “What  will   be  will  be”  or  “Some  things  just  cannot  be  changed”  would  reflect  this  view. the  part  of  the  individual.  Statements  such  as  “You  can  be  whatever  you  want   to  be”  or  “I  am  a  doer”  would  reflect  this  view.   • An  emphasis  on  an external locus  of  control  stresses  forces  outside  of  the   power  of  the  individual  in  controlling  one’s  life.  Statements  such  as  “What  will   be  will  be”  or  “Some  things  just  cannot  be  changed”  would  reflect  this  view. Cultural  Detective  Tool  #7:  Differentiating  Universal,  Cultural,  Personal • Cultural:  refers  to  what  a  group  of  people  have  in  common  with  each  other   and  how  they  are  different  from  other  groups. • Personal:  refers  to  ways  in  which  each  person  is  different  from  everyone  else,   including  those  in  the  same  group. • Universal:  refers  to  ways  in  which  all  people  in  all  groups  are  basically  the   same. • Some  important  points  to  remember  about  this  personal/cultural/universal   framework: ○ Personal  preferences  exist  everywhere.  Oftentimes  a  preference  may   very  well  have  cultural  and  historical  roots.  The  longer  you  are  in  the   country  the  better  you  can  distinguish  between  what  is  cultural  and   what  is  more  personal. ○ When  something  is  cultural,  this  means  there  is  a  recognizable  pattern   of  behavior.  When  you  have  learned  the  patterns,  then  you  know  when   something  is  out  of  the  norm.  You’ll  be  better  able  to  know,  for   example,  when  someone  is  being  unusually  friendly. ○ Awareness  of  cultural  patterns  also  helps  you  figure  out  your  own   perceptions  of  events  and  your  adaptation  strategies. Cultural  Self-­‐Awareness Overview • Metacognition.  It  basically  refers  to  the  capacity  to  think  about  our  own   mental  states  and  thinking  processes.  Substitute  ”in  culturally  shaped   ways“  for  ”irrationally“  in  the  previous  statement,  and  you  will  realize  the   importance  and  usefulness  of  what  I cl ltural  metacognition :  the  capacity   to  think  aboutyour cultural  assumptions,  filters,  habits,  values,   communication  patterns,  and  so  on.  In  other  words,  successfully  navigating   another  culture  requires  not  just  an  understanding  of  how   "they“  communicate,  but  about  how  that  works  with  how  ”you"   communicate. • Both  knowing  “the  other  culture”  and  “knowing  your  culture”  are  equally   important.  Additionally,  cultural  self -­‐awareness  can  help  you  better   understand  why  some  types  of  cultural  adaptation  might  be  more  difficult  for   you,  for  example  if  they  challenge  deeply  held  values  about  gender  roles. • Cultural  self-­‐awareness  is  difficu  one  many  writers  liken  culture  to  the   water  that  fish  swim  in:  it  is  all  around  the  fish,  but  they  are  not  usually  aware   of  it.  In  the  same  way,  people  also  are  surrounded  by  cultural  artifacts,   important.  Additionally,  cultural  self -­‐awareness  can  help  you  better   understand  why  some  types  of  cultural  adaptation  might  be  more  difficult  for   you,  for  example  if  they  challenge  deeply  held  values  about  gender  roles. • Cultural  self-­‐awareness  is  difficu  one  many  writers  liken  culture  to  the   water  that  fish  swim  in:  it  is  all  around  the  fish,  but  they  are  not  usually  aware   of  it.  In  the  same  way,  people  also  are  surrounded  by  cultural  artifacts,   behaviors,  and  beliefs  but  often  are  not  aware  of  their  cultural  nature.  The   iceberg  exercise  illustrates  this:  we  are  often  not  aware  of  the  underlying   values  for  many  of  our  behaviors;  a  lot  of  what  shapes  us,  culturally,  is  under   the  surface  and  out  of  our  everyday  consciousness.   ○ As  the iceberg  and  the  architecture  exercises in  the  culture  module   made  clear,  because  many  culturally  shaped  practices  and  beliefs  are   “under  the  surface”,  cultural  sel-­‐fawareness  is  difficult.  We  often   operate  on  “automatic  pilot”  so  it  is  difficult  to  even  verbalize  the   everyday  rules  we  normally  don’t  really  think  about  very  much  as   members  of  our  own  culture.  It’s  hard  enough  to  verbalize  many  of  the   everyday  rules  we  normally  don’t  really  think  about  very  much  as   members  of  this  culture.  It’s  even  harder  to  think  about  the  values  that   could  lie  underneath  these  “do’s  and  dont’s”. Tool  #1  for  increasing  your  cultural-lfwareness  is  think  about  dominant   traits/values  in  your  culture • One  simple  way  to  become  more  culturally  self  aware  is  to  compare  broad   cultural  traits  and  variables  of  your  cultural  group  with  those  of  other  cultures. • Caution  about  ascribing  “values”  or  “patterns”  to  cultural  groups If  you   analyze  your  own  and  other  cultures  by  looking  for  widely  shared  values,   styles,  or  preferences,  be  aware  of  possible  problems  with  doing  this. ○ These  values,  preferences,  or  styles  could  refer  to  many  things.  For   example,  how  do  we  define  “responsibility”? ○ These  labels  can  usually  be  characterized  as  a  spectrum,  such  as   formal/informal  or  importance  of  the  individual/importance  of  the   group.  In  a  given  cultural  group,  for  many  contexts,  one  might  ask  if   there  is  a  prevailing  value.  For  example,  do  most  people  most  of  the   time  lean  towards  informality  or  formality?  This  is  not  a  perfect  method   by  any  means,  but  it’s  one  way  to  start  thinking  more  systematically   about  culture. ○ Another  problem  has  to  do  with  levels  of  culture  and  the  existence  of   subcultures  in  most  large,  complex  societies,  such  as  many  nation  states   in  the  world. ○ Another  problem  is  personal  variation.  As  we’ve  discussed  before,   individual  personalities  lead  some  people  to  behave  in  ways  that  are  not   “average”  or  “normal”  for  that  society. ○ Finally,  there  is  the  problem  of  context:  for  example,  an  individual  might   subcultures  in  most  large,  complex  societies,  such  as  many  nation  states   in  the  world. ○ Another  problem  is  personal  variation.  As  we’ve  discussed  before,   individual  personalities  lead  some  people  to  behave  in  ways  that  are  not   “average”  or  “normal”  for  that  society. ○ Finally,  there  is  the  problem  of  context:  for  example,  an  individual  might   be  highly  individualistic  in  the  workplace  but  very  group  oriented  in  their   church.  As  science  fiction  writer  Philip  K.  Dick  wrote,  “a  person’s   authentic  nature  is  a  series  of  shifting,  variegated  planes  that  establish   themselves  as  he  relates  to  different  people;  it  is  created  by  and  appears   within  the  framework  of  his  interpersonal  relationships.” Tool  #2  for  increasing  your  cultural-lfwareness  is  analyze  how  your  culture   deals  with  universal  human  issues Attitude  towards  age • Emphasize  physical  beauty  and  youth • Fire  older  people  to  hire  younger  people  for  less  money • Judge  a  worker’s  worth  based  on  production,  not  seniority American  View :  The  American  emphasis  on  concrete  achievements  and  “doing”   means  that  age  is  not  highly  valued,  for  the  older  you  are  the  less  you  can   accomplish.  Age  is  also  suspect  because  new  is  usually  better  in  American  culture,   and  the  elderly  are  generally  out  of  touch  with  what’s  new. Concept  of  Fate  and  Destiny You  can  be  whatever  you  want  to  be • • Where  there’s  a  will  there’s  a  way • The  American  dream  is  rsto-­‐riches American  View :  The  concept  of  self-­‐determination  negates  much  of  the  influence  of   fate  and  destiny.  Parents  tell  their  children  they  can  be  whatever  they  want  to  be   when  they  grow  up.  There  are  few  givens  in  life,  and  people  have  little  sense  of   external   limits.  Lack  of  success  is  their  own  fault. View  of  Human  Value • Courts  consider  a  person  innocent  until  he/she  is  proven  guilty • People  should  be  given  the  benefit  of  the  doubt • If  left  alone,  people  will  do  the  right  thing • We  need  to  discover  how  a  vicious  killer  “went  wrong” American  View :  People  are  considered  basically  and  inherently  good.  If  someone   does  an  evil  deed,  we  look  for  the  explanation,  for  the  reason  why  the  person   turned  bad.  People  can  and  should  be  trusted;  and  we  are  fairly  open  to  strangers,   and  willing  to  accept  them. Attitude  Towards  Change • New  is  better does  an  evil  deed,  we  look  for  the  explanation,  for  the  reason  why  the  person   turned  bad.  People  can  and  should  be  trusted;  and  we  are  fairly  open  to  strangers,   and  willing  to  accept  them. Attitude  Towards  Change • New  is  better • A  better  way  can  always  be  found;  things  can  always  be  improved  upon • Just  because  we’ve  always  done  it  that  way  doesn’t  make  it  right American  View :  Change  is  considered  positive,  probably  because  Americans  believe   in  the  march  of  progress  and  the  pursuit  of  perfection.  Improvements  will  always   move  us  closer  and  closer  to  perfection.  Traditions  can  be  a  guide,  but  they  are  not   inherently  superior. Attitude  Towards  Taking  Risks • A  low  level  of  personal  savings  is  typical • You  can  always  start  over • Nothing  ventured,  nothing  gained • A  high  level  of  personal  bankruptcies  is  common American  View :  There  will  always  be  enough  opportunity  to  go  around,  so  taking   risks,  involves  no  real  danger.  For  the  truly  ambitious,  failure  is  only  temporary.   Experimentation,  trial  and  error  are  important  ways  to  learn  or  to  improve  your   product  or  service. Concept  of  Suffering  and  Misfortune • People  rush  to  cheer  up  a  friend  who’s  depressed • If  you’re  unhappy,  take  a  pill  or  see  a  psychiatrist • Be  happy American  View :  Because  we  are  ultimately  in  control  of  our  lives  and  destiny,  we   have  no  excuse  for  unhappiness  nor  misfortune.  If  you  are  suffering  or  unhappy,   then  just  do  whatever  it  takes  to  be  happy  again.  If  you’re  depressed,  it’s  because   you  have  chosen  to  be. Concept  of  Face • It’s  important  to  tell  it  like  it  is,  be  straight  with  people • Confrontation  is  sometimes  necessary  to  clear  the  air • Honesty  is  the  best  policy American  View :  In  individualist  cultures,  no  premium  is  put  on  saving  face  because   people  can  take  care  of  themselves.  What  other  people  think  is  not  so  crucial  to   survival  or  success.  We  can  say  what  we  think  without  worrying  about  hurting   people’s  feelings,  and  we  likewise  appreciate  directness. Source  of  Self-­‐Esteem  and  Self  Worth • People  judge  you  by  how  much  money  you  make people  can  take


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