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Cultural diversity and intercultural/crosscultural communication.

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A general discussion of the following five topics : …

A general discussion of the following five topics :

1) The notion of“culture”.
2) The notion of“cultural identity”.
3) Challenges of intercultural (or“cross-cultural”) communication.
4) Typical and recurrent obstacles that impede a successful intercultural communication.
5) How to improve intercultural communication: the question of cultural awareness.

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  • 1. Conférence annuelle de l’association Erasmus Mundus “Intercultural Communication” PETER STOCKINGER, PUInstitut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales (INALCO)Cultural diversity and intercultural communication. A (very) general presentation Erasmus Mundus Thematic Conference Communication: Lets re--define the terms Université Victor Segalen Bordeaux 2 Agence Europe-Education-Formation France, Association internationale Erasmus Mundus Alumni Place de la Victoire - 33000 BORDEAUX 29th of March 2010© Peter Stockinger – Paris, INALCO/Filière Communication Interculturelle 2010
  • 2. Conférence annuelle de l’association Erasmus Mundus “Intercultural Communication” Topics© Peter Stockinger – Paris, INALCO/Filière Communication Interculturelle 2010
  • 3. Conférence annuelle de l’association Erasmus Mundus “Intercultural Communication”Topics 5 topics: 1. Presentation of the notion of “culture”. 2. Discussion of the notion of “cultural identity” is. 3. The challenges of intercultural (or “cross-cultural”) communication. 4. Typical and recurrent obstacles that impede a successful intercultural communication. 5. How to improve intercultural communication – cultural awareness. © Peter Stockinger – Paris, INALCO/Filière Communication Interculturelle 2010
  • 4. Conférence annuelle de l’association Erasmus Mundus “Intercultural Communication” The notion of « culture »© Peter Stockinger – Paris, INALCO/Filière Communication Interculturelle 2010
  • 5. Conférence annuelle de l’association Erasmus Mundus “Intercultural Communication”The notion of« culture » A general definition of culture: Culture is a complex cognitive system mainly composed of: 1. (dogmatic, basic, “revealed”) believes, 2. (critical) knowledge and (technical) know-how, 3. (normative) rules (laws, …) and values A culture, in this sense, constitutes or forms identities: the (personal) identity of an individual; the (collective) identity of a social actor: (religious, ethnic, linguistic) “communities”, (national, international, political, economic, military, …) institutions, groups, classes, …. © Peter Stockinger – Paris, INALCO/Filière Communication Interculturelle 2010
  • 6. Conférence annuelle de l’association Erasmus Mundus “Intercultural Communication”The notion of Practically, we are “immersed” in a huge diversity of different types or« culture » genres of culture: Religious cultures, Language cultures, Ethnical cultures, Social group specific cultures, National cultures, Institutional cultures, Political cultures Daily life cultures (housing, eating/drinking, wearing clothes) Technical and scientific cultures … © Peter Stockinger – Paris, INALCO/Filière Communication Interculturelle 2010
  • 7. Conférence annuelle de l’association Erasmus Mundus “Intercultural Communication”The notion of« culture » 4 main features characterising culture as a whole: 1. A culture “frames” the identity of a community/group/person, … 2. A culture is a collective cognitive (intellectual) resource of a group or community … 3. A culture is also a symbolic capital – a power – for acommunity 4. Culture is, finally a historical entity – it changes through cross- cultural contacts (“métissage”) and learning (N. Elias). © Peter Stockinger – Paris, INALCO/Filière Communication Interculturelle 2010
  • 8. Conférence annuelle de l’association Erasmus Mundus “Intercultural Communication” The notion of « cultural identity »© Peter Stockinger – Paris, INALCO/Filière Communication Interculturelle 2010
  • 9. Conférence annuelle de l’association Erasmus Mundus “Intercultural Communication”The notion of The cultural identity = a set of shared common references such as (a« cultural identity » selection): shared language (s); shared communication and interaction routines and rituals shared social world perception (of people, roles, institutions, places, …) especially: shared traditions, customs, a (supposed) common history, (supposed) common origins, common world views, etc. Shared “collective symbolism”: historical personalities (kings, warriors, thinkers, …), anthropomorphic entities (gods, imaginary figures, …), (historical or mythical) events, emblems, “big texts”, monuments, material heritage, … © Peter Stockinger – Paris, INALCO/Filière Communication Interculturelle 2010
  • 10. Conférence annuelle de l’association Erasmus Mundus “Intercultural Communication”The notion of« cultural identity » However: No community, no person is a “culturally monolithic” entity A community is always confronted to potential internal tensions between: the “orthodox” and the “heterodox”, the “dominant” (elite) class and the “dominated” (popular) class the “elder” and the “younger” generation, … A person – always belongs to more than one culture among which there can exist – “psychological” - tensions (example: tension between “national” and “religious” sentiments, military obligations and religious convictions, …). © Peter Stockinger – Paris, INALCO/Filière Communication Interculturelle 2010
  • 11. Conférence annuelle de l’association Erasmus Mundus “Intercultural Communication”What is intercultural/cross-cultural communication ? © Peter Stockinger – Paris, INALCO/Filière Communication Interculturelle 2010
  • 12. Conférence annuelle de l’association Erasmus Mundus “Intercultural Communication”The scope ofinterculturalcommunication Intercultural (or “cross-cultural”) communication, broadly speaking is : the (direct or mediated) interaction between people : • possessing different identities, different references, beliefs, values, traditions, histories, languages, … • in order to achieve (commonly accepted) objectives or goals • (and in being aware of the cultural diversity of the participants). © Peter Stockinger – Paris, INALCO/Filière Communication Interculturelle 2010
  • 13. Conférence annuelle de l’association Erasmus Mundus “Intercultural Communication”The scope of Typical intercultural or cross-cultural projects and programs:interculturalcommunication (Economic, social, medical, …) programs in developing countries, Community education and cross-community consensus building in multicultural (urban) environments; (Political, economic, military, …) consensus building projects between different, national and international actors; Global (economic, social, …) projects requiring the participation of people belonging to different traditions, Humanitarian interventions (peace keeping, natural catastrophes, …) requiring a knowledge of the “beneficiary” culture and its active participation . © Peter Stockinger – Paris, INALCO/Filière Communication Interculturelle 2010
  • 14. Conférence annuelle de l’association Erasmus Mundus “Intercultural Communication”The scope of Some key challenges of intercultural communication:interculturalcommunication 1 - Social communication: Typical objectives: People from communities with different (ethnic, religious, linguistic, …) backgrounds should adopt and/or respect common, socially accepted rules (laws) and values in their daily life; Overcome blocked situations of “mutual exclusion and ignorance”. Typical examples: Reduction of the danger of (inter-communitarian) acts of violence, riots, etc. in peri-urban context © Peter Stockinger – Paris, INALCO/Filière Communication Interculturelle 2010
  • 15. Conférence annuelle de l’association Erasmus Mundus “Intercultural Communication”The scope ofintercultural Some key sectors/domains of intercultural communication (continued):communication 2 - (Sustainable) development communication: Typical objective: enable (vulnerable, threatened, …) communities to initiate their own, autonomous development aiming at a better quality of life. Typical example: Programs aiming at the reduction of poverty through the implementation of community appropriate businesses and credit circles Creation of community specific education centres © Peter Stockinger – Paris, INALCO/Filière Communication Interculturelle 2010
  • 16. Conférence annuelle de l’association Erasmus Mundus “Intercultural Communication”The scope ofintercultural Some key sectors/domains of intercultural communication (continued):communication 3 - Cultural and linguistic mediation: Typical objectives: Contribute to the (linguistic and social) adaptation and integration of “foreigners” (immigrants, refugees, …) in a “host” country Typical example: linguistic and social education (“alphabetisation”) programs and structures (associations, …), community interpretation projects (i.e. projects aiming to accompany and to council “foreigners” in their daily life and professional problems) © Peter Stockinger – Paris, INALCO/Filière Communication Interculturelle 2010
  • 17. Conférence annuelle de l’association Erasmus Mundus “Intercultural Communication”The scope ofintercultural 6 main sectors/domains of intercultural communication (continued):communication 4 - International communication: Typical objective: negotiate and establish cross-cultural consensus between people acting globally but belonging to different cultures and traditions Typical example: creation of common (global, regional, …) political, economic, social, … spaces; Creation of transnational (public, private) institutions; Creation of international programs and projects of economic, political or social interest. © Peter Stockinger – Paris, INALCO/Filière Communication Interculturelle 2010
  • 18. Conférence annuelle de l’association Erasmus Mundus “Intercultural Communication”The scope of 6 main sectors/domains of intercultural communication (continued):interculturalcommunication 6 - Intercultural marketing and management: Objective Use the cultural specificity of the people of a “target” community for achieving successfully mainly commercial objectives. Typical example: the “globalisation” of a (regional) food such as the originally (Italian) pizza, the (US) hamburger, etc.; The opening of different non-European markets for a French luxury product, …; The optimal use of “human capital” with respect to a given norm or mission (i.e. management of multicultural teams, troops, …). © Peter Stockinger – Paris, INALCO/Filière Communication Interculturelle 2010
  • 19. Conférence annuelle de l’association Erasmus Mundus “Intercultural Communication”Intercultural communication and cultural obstacles © Peter Stockinger – Paris, INALCO/Filière Communication Interculturelle 2010
  • 20. Conférence annuelle de l’association Erasmus Mundus “Intercultural Communication”Interculturalobstacles Typical “obstacles” impeding an efficient (successful) intercultural or cross-cultural communication: 1 – “Foreign” language deficit: Lack of an appropriate linguistic competence to understand and to speak correctly the other’s mother tongue; Use of a simplified “communication language” (in general: a kind of English = “global English”). 2 - Deficit in “social face management” specific to a given target community Lack of understanding of “etiquettes” and values governing the interactions between people in a given community: rules of courtesy and politeness, of respect, of honour, etc. © Peter Stockinger – Paris, INALCO/Filière Communication Interculturelle 2010
  • 21. Conférence annuelle de l’association Erasmus Mundus “Intercultural Communication”Interculturalobstacles Series of typical intercultural communication “obstacles” (continued): 3 – Knowledge deficit of community specific social world (institutions, social networks, practices, etc.) Lack of an appropriate social and intellectual alphabetisation (example: of community stakeholders, community specific decision and policy making procedures, etc.). 4 – Cultural ethnocentrism Interpretation of the culture of a given (“target”) community through the lenses of one’s own culture (believes, knowledge and values); Typical example: how to behave with respect to social practices that are not acceptable with respect to our own vision ? How to handle the reference to “universal rights”, “basic rights”, etc. © Peter Stockinger – Paris, INALCO/Filière Communication Interculturelle 2010
  • 22. Conférence annuelle de l’association Erasmus Mundus “Intercultural Communication”Interculturalobstacles Series of typical intercultural communication “obstacles” (continued): Two specific cases of ethnocentrism: the “common sense mistake” (“common sense” is culturally dependent) The “best intention mistake” (“best intentions” are culturally determined) © Peter Stockinger – Paris, INALCO/Filière Communication Interculturelle 2010
  • 23. Conférence annuelle de l’association Erasmus Mundus “Intercultural Communication” How to improve intercultural communication ?© Peter Stockinger – Paris, INALCO/Filière Communication Interculturelle 2010
  • 24. Conférence annuelle de l’association Erasmus Mundus “Intercultural Communication”How to improveintercultural The main challenge in intercultural or “cross-cultural” communicationcommunication? is that of “cultural awareness” (as well as “cultural self awareness”) i.e. the fact to become aware of the cultural (ethnic, linguistic, religious, …) specificity of the people with whom we have to interact. © Peter Stockinger – Paris, INALCO/Filière Communication Interculturelle 2010
  • 25. Conférence annuelle de l’association Erasmus Mundus “Intercultural Communication”How to improveintercultural The challenge of “cultural awareness”:communication? 1/ as a knowledge resource to be cultivated and learned; Cultural expertise (cultural analysis), curricula and specialised training, … 2/ as a “social technology” integrated in cross-cultural programs and actions (FAO, UNESCO, World Bank, …: community stakeholder negotiations, grassroots process design, participative project design, public participation processinf, …) 3/ as a experienced, practical, not-formalized, “personal ads and skills” (apprenticeship, travels and sojourns, voluntary work, …). © Peter Stockinger – Paris, INALCO/Filière Communication Interculturelle 2010
  • 26. Conférence annuelle de l’association Erasmus Mundus “Intercultural Communication” Some e-resources© Peter Stockinger – Paris, INALCO/Filière Communication Interculturelle 2010
  • 27. Conférence annuelle de l’association Erasmus Mundus “Intercultural Communication”E-resources Tracy Bowens: Cross-cultural training. Hans Gullestrup, Cultural analysis – towards cross-cultural understanding. Aalborg University Press 2006 Pekka Seppälä and Arja Vainio-Mattila: Navigating culture. A Roadmap to culture and development. Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Department for International Development Cooperation Helsinki, Finland (2000) “Beyond Intractability Project” of Guy and Heidi Burgess; University of Colorado at Boulder Sémiotique des cultures, communication interculturelle, nouveaux médias. Online pedagogical material (in French and English) avaimable on the web portal of the research lab ESCoM in Paris. © Peter Stockinger – Paris, INALCO/Filière Communication Interculturelle 2010

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