intercultural communication cultural identity unit 1 week 2 / session 1

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Intercultural Communication CULTURAL IDENTITY Unit 1 Week 2 / Session 1 Slide 2 Overview Discussion point 1 what does culture and identity mean to you? What is culture? What is identity The Web of Identity (Livesey, 2004) What is social and ethnic identity? Discussion point 2 Ways to compare and contrast cultures Fundamental differences between cultures Discussion point 3 - Fundamental differences between cultures Discussion point 4 History and culture Slide 3 Discussion Point 1 In small groups, discuss and make notes on the following questions below: What does cultural identity mean to you? What elements contribute to a persons cultural identity? How would you identify your culture? Slide 4 What is culture? People become aware of their culture when they stand at its boundaries: when they encounter other cultures, or when they become aware of other ways of doing things, or merely of contradictions to their own culture Cohen, Anthony P. (1985) Slide 5 What is culture? There are many interpretations of what is defined and known as culture. Acquired and passed down through generations. A system of beliefs and values within a society. Culture has been described as shared features which encapsulate people together in a community (Shah, 2003). Slide 6 What is identity? The entirety of how we as individuals view or perceive ourselves as unique from others. Racial, cultural and ethnic identities form part of one's identity, and identity will change with development at a personal as well as at a social level along with migration and acculturation (Bhugra, 2004). Perceived as dynamic and fluid - because it is established and extracted in interaction Has substance - not only transmitted from generation to generation, but from cultural group member to newcomer. One or more specific cultural identities may be noticeable in a given conversation Slide 7 The Web of Identity Complex and multi-layered inter action between identity and social structure. Individuals are surrounded by large social forces; they live their lives with limited options available to them when making decisions and choices (Livesey, 2004). Slide 8 What is Social and Ethnic identity? Social identity is thought of as the culturally defined personality characteristics, which are ascribed to social roles, such as the role of being a father, mother, friend, employer or employee (Bhugra and Becker, 2005). Ethnic identity is a source of social identity. Composed of people who may or may not share the same race but do share common cultural characteristics, including history, beliefs, values, food and entertainment preferences, religion and language. Ethnicity typically incorporates both race and culture (Shah, 2004). Slide 9 Discussion Point 2 In small groups, discuss and make notes on the following questions below: What elements could be considered when comparing and contrasting cultures? Which of these elements would you consider to be the most significant? Slide 10 Ways to compare and contrast cultures Several methods and frameworks have been constructed to address variances of cultural identities: Gudykunsts (1985) variables measured in Intergroup research - attitudes, perceived similarity, uncertainty, and attributions Giles and Johnsons (1981, 1986) attention to variables - such as group vitality, ethnic boundaries, and status Hofstedes (1983) core symbols - identifies four dimensions of culture: individualism-collectivism, power distance, uncertainty avoidance and masculinity-femininity. DeVos (1982) symbolic emblems - used by ethnic groups to differentiate themselves from other groups. Slide 11 Fundamental differences between cultures In any given nation or culture, differences between people are much greater than differences between groups (Billikopf, 2009). Education, social standing, religion, personality, belief structure, past experience, affection shown in the home, and numerous other factors will affect human behaviour and culture. Slide 12 Discussion Point 3 Fundamental differences between cultures In small groups/pairs discuss the similarities and differences between your cultures with regard to: Dress Gender roles Social activities Meeting and Greeting Gestures Dining Etiquette Food Language Slide 13 Discussion Point 4 Another important contributor to the cultural difference is the history of a particular region or country. The events of the past certainly shape the moods and opinions of people living in that specific country. When a large group of people observe a set of traditions, social norms and values, it gives rise to culture. Pair work Discuss possible examples of where history has had an effect on your culture. Can you think of examples for other cultures? Slide 14 Homework Blog task 1 Individual task Out-of-class work Interview an international student (preferably from a different country to that of your own) and find out how they felt when they first arrived in the UK. When preparing your questions consider the following cultural differences we looked at in our workshop today that they may have experienced. Write a short summary of your interview and post it on your blog site. Slide 15 References Ang, I. (1998), Out of bounds: inauthentic spaces and the production of identities, in M. Zournazi(ed.), Foreign Dialogues: Memories, Translations, Conversations, pp. 153167. Bhugra, D. (2004). Migration, distress and cultural identity. British Medical Bulletin. 69:113. Billikopf, G (2009). Cultural Differences? Or, are we really that different? [online] Available at: [Accessed on 18th July 2012] DeVos, G. A. (1982). Ethnic pluralism: Conflict and accommodation. In DeVos, G. A., and Romanucci-Ross, L. (eds.), Ethnic Identity: Cultural Continuities and Change, Mayfield Publishing, Palo Alto,CA, pp. 541. Giles, H. and P. Johnson (1981). The role of language in ethnic group relations. In Intergroup Behaviour. J. Turner and H. Giles. Chicago, University of Chicago Press. Gudykunst, W. B. (1985). The influence of cultural similarity, type of relationship, and self monitoring on uncertainty reduction processes. Communication Monographs, 52, 203-217. Hofstede, Geert (1983a), "Dimensions of National Cultures in Fifty Countries and Three Regions," in Expiscations in Cross-Cultural Psychology, J.B. Deregowski, S. Dziurawiec, and R.C. Annis, eds., Lisse, Netherlands: Swets & Zeitlinger, 335-355. Livesey, C. (2004). Culture and identity, Sociological Pathways. Available at: [Accessed 10th July 2012] Shah, S. (2003) The researcher/interviewer in intercultural context: a social intruder! British Educational Research Journal. 30:4, 549-575. Tylor, Edward B. 1968 [1871] The Science of Culture. In Morton Fried, ed., Readings in Anthropology, vol. II: Cultural Anthropology. New York: Crowell


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