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Intercultural Competence


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Intercultural Competence
Economic (global interdepence, international trade), technological (global village metaphor), demographical (cultural mixing), and peace imperative (culture clashes worldwide) for intercultural competence. Diplomatic and economic links are made with travel.
Global village
The world is shrinking because of modern technology with instant news and information available. Web of interconnections that technologies have created.
A symbolic, interpretive, transactional, contextual process in which people create shared meaning.
represent shared meanings that are communicated.
Symbols are words, actions or objects that represent a unit of meaning. Symbols are arbitrary; they have no connection to the meaning. Peace sign in the US is obscene in S. America. A symbol is a widely shared and held message for a language or culture.
perceptions, thoughts, or feelings a person experiences and might want to communicate to others.
Message is a package of meanings (book).
assign significance to communication. Understand what others are trying to communicate. Failed attempts at communication are not communication. Agreement isn’t required to communicate.
Simultaneously sending and receiving messages. Actional, interactional and transactional.
Actional view
Communication is linear, one-way flow of ideas and information; this is without the receiver factored in. (not the way real communication is).
Interactional view
Includes the receiver, but no co-production factored in.
Transactional view
Improve one’s knowledge, seek understanding, develop agreements and negotiate shared meanings incorporating both senders and receivers. Also factor in words said, tone of voice, and gestures.
where people meet, social purpose for being together.
Physical context such as time and place.
Social context such as expectations people have about the kinds of interactions that normally occur in a situation. This is different for each person and culture.
Interpersonal context is the expectations people have about the behaviors of others as a result of differences in relationships between them.
It changes, develops and evolves. The same message can be interpreted differently at different times.
Shared meanings
How they make sense to certain people.
Interpersonal communication
Involves a small number of individuals who are interacting exclusively with each other and who have the ability both to adapt their messages specifically for those others and to obtain immediate interpretations from them. Assess what is being understood and how messages are interpreted.
Challenges in an intercultural world
maintaining cultural identity. Many people can live in different cultures at one time, shifting from one to another.
a learned set of shared interpretations about beliefs, values, norms and social practices, which affect the behaviors of a relatively large group of people. Parents pass along culture from an early age. Culture is in the mind, not a tangible object. Can only be formed if symbolic ideas are shared with a large group of people.
basic understanding of a group of people about what the world is like or what is true or false.
a group of people define as good and bad or what it regards as important.
rules of appropriate behavior, which provide the expectations people have of one another and of themselves.
Social practices
Predictable behavior patterns that members of a culture typically follow.
Political term referring to a government and formal and legal mechanisms; not synonymous with culture.
Physical similarities such as skin color or eye shape shared by a large group of people; not primarily biological; a social and legal construction. More encompassing than culture or nation. Sociological term.
Wide variety of groups who might share a language, historical origins, religion, nation-state, or cultural system. Many refer to ancestral origins.
Subcultures and co-cultures
racial and ethnic minorities such as African American, Arab American.
Forces that maintain cultural differences:
History,Ecology,Technology, Biology, Institutional Networks,
In the late 14th century, bubonic plague spread through Europe, carried by fleas in cargo, killed 1/3-1/2 of population, it attacked every level and social class. New wealth was created, left from the dead, and workers became a commodity, cause higher wages. US has a history of victory, Mexico of defeat; this is reflected in how we pursue endeavors. Since 9-11, money has been lost and policy and laws have changed.
Climate, changing weather patterns, prevailing land and water formations and availability of certain foods. Cold weather adaptation. In northern states, colder and less verbally dramatic, less socially isolated, less authoritarian in communication, more tolerant of ambiguity, more likely to avoid touch in social situations, lower self-worth. If people live near water, they spend less time looking for it and more time on other things. North and South have different opinions of each other.
Inventions a culture creates or borrows, such as tools, weapons, navigation aids, microwaves, and freezers. Media introduce ideas from one culture to another. See how people are depicted in movies, and form an image of them based on that; stereotypes. Technology advanced making it faster than in the past.
People with common ancestry have similar genetic compositions. IQ is unrelated to culture. Differences result from cultural learning or environmental causes. There are no pure races; so racial category is based on political, social definitions and personal preferences.
Institutional Networks
Formal organizations in societies for large numbers of people. Government and religious practices.
Interpersonal communication patterns
Face-to-face verbal and nonverbal coding system that cultures develop to convey meanings and intentions. Language gives each culture a common set of categories and distinctions with which to organize perceptions.
Intercultural communication
a symbolic, interpretive, transactional, contextual process in which people from different cultures create shared meanings. Occurs when large and important cultural differences create dissimilar interpretations and expectations about how to communicate competently.
Intracultural communication
Presence of at least two individuals who are culturally different from each other. Least intercultural end of the spectrum.
Interethnic and intercultural communication
subset of intercultural communication. Members of the same nation of different racial and ethnic groups, most intercultural end of the spectrum.
Cross-cultural communication
idea within many cultures. Compare aspects of different cultures through intracultural analysis.
International communication
People from different nations.
Communication competence
Your ability to communicate so effectively that you get what you want out of communication. How do you achieve your goals?
Metaphors of US Cultural Diversity:
Melting Pot Metaphor, Tributaries Metaphor, Tapestry Metaphor, Garden Salad Metaphor
Melting Pot Metaphor
Melt, mix and fuse together cultures. Not completely accurate because people never melt together and assimilate unique heritage into a single cultural entity; they just adapt to each other.
Tributaries Metaphor
America is a cultural watershed with numerous paths in which many tributaries can flow. Each maintains unique identity, which is acceptable and desirable. The idea that they will ultimately blend into a single, common current is not true.
Tapestry Metaphor
Threads are woven into a design, where each thread is a person, and groups of similar threads are a culture. No single thread is distinguished from another; they are just small clumps. Tapestries are unchangeable, which is untrue. It is the preferred of the other three.
Garden Salad Metaphor
Many distinct ingredients but there is an absence of stability. Always in a state of flux, which is not the case with culture. The absence of stability is not accurate, but this and the tapestry metaphor are the two more accurate metaphors of the group.
Components of intercultural competence:
Context, Appropriateness and effectiveness, and Knowledge, motivations and actions
an impression or judgment that a person is interculturally competent is made with respect to both a specific relational context and a particular situational context.
Appropriateness and effectiveness
proper behaviors and suitable expectations by a culture in a given situation.
Knowledge, motivations and actions
cognitive information about people; overall set of emotional as people anticipate and communicate interculturally; performances of behaviors that are appropriate and effective.

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