Social diversity


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This document defines diversity, social diversity, its dynamics and dimensions in terms of interpersonal intrapersonal, cultural and cross cultural aspect

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Social diversity

  1. 1. Social Diversity What is Diversification? “Diversification is a principle that maintains how individual develop into quite different people so that they can peacefully occupy different niches within the environment.” Humans have evolved adaptations or solutions to threats to survival. Just as different plant species will coexist alongside one another in different areas of creek-bed ecosystem, individual diversify by developing different traits, abilities and preferences, thereby occupying different identities and sometimes mingled identities in order to survive and exist productively at intrapersonal as well as at interpersonal level. Social Diversity “Variety, or the opposite of homogeneity. In social organizations the term usually refers to the range of personnel who more accurately represent minority populations and people from varied backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities, and viewpoints…” (Barker, 2003, p. 126). “A broad definition of diversity ranges from personality and work style to all of the visible dimensions of diversity such as race, age, ethnicity or gender, to secondary influences such as religion, socioeconomics and education, to work diversities such as management and union, functional level and classification or proximity/distance to headquarters.” (Society for Human Resource Management) The greater this individual diversity the greater must be the allowed social diversity in our societies. This implies an increase in the number of variables applicable to our natures. To define a unique social being requires a very large array of different values (impossible to quantify accurately), thus the same must be true of the society that contains them all. We cannot specify a small number of fixed variables and call this a 'normal'.
  2. 2. If you look at India, you will realize that it is a multi-lingual,multi-ethnic, multi-religious country. It has 18 languages and more than 3000 dialects. Every part of the world shows the diversity that exists. Cross-cultural research focuses on this diversity. Recently, multiculturalism has been promoted as a position to understand this diversity. Multiculturalism means the acceptance or promotion of multiple ethnic cultures, for practical reasons and for the sake of accepting and celebrating diversity. It is useful in many demographic setups. e.g., schools, businesses, neighborhoods, cities, etc. Dynamics of Social Diversity Social diversity hinges on three universal human realities. Firstly, that each individual is unique. Secondly, that individuals and their societies are inter-related and inter-dependent. And thirdly, that societies and cultures are dynamic: change may be rapid or gradual, but will always affect different members of society in ways that reflect differences in power and status. These changes occur at intrapersonal as well as interpersonal levels for the better survival of the individual. Dimensions of Social Diversity There are many obvious dimensions of human diversity—height, weight, hair, color, to name just few. But for people’s self-concepts and social relationships, the two dimensions that matter most, and that people first attune to, are race and, especially, sex.Other times, intrapersonal communications is undertaken in order to reflect upon or appreciate something. Three aspects of intrapersonal communication are self-concept,perception and expectation that shape diversity within the individual. a) Intrapersonal Aspect
  3. 3. Self-concept is the basis for intrapersonal communication, because it determines how a person sees him/herself and is oriented toward others. Self-concept (also called self-awareness) involvesthree factors: beliefs, values and attitudes. I. Beliefs are basic personal orientation toward what istrue or false, good or bad; beliefs can be descriptive or prescriptive. Beliefs, values and attitudes all influence behavior, which can be either spoken opinion or physical action. II. Values are deep-seatedorientations and ideals, generally based on and consistent with beliefs, about right and wrongideas and actions. III. Attitudes are learned predisposition toward or against a topic, ideals that stemfrom and generally are consistent with values. Attitudes often are global, typically emotional. Some psychologists include body image as an aspect of intrapersonalcommunication, in that body image is a way of perceiving ourselves, positively or negatively,according to the social standards of our culture. Other things that can affect self-concept arepersonal attributes, talents, social role, even birth order. Whereas self-concept focuses internally, perception looks outward. Perception of the outsideworld also is rooted in beliefs, values and attitudes. It is so closely intertwined with selfconceptthat one feeds off the other, creating a harmonious understanding of both oneself and one’sworld. b) Interpersonal Aspect Family aspect focuses on communication patterns within nuclear, extended and blended families. This category focuses on individual to individual relationship between family members and much research has been focused specifically on communication within a family relationship. Family communication can be enhanced by the long-standing and close relationships among
  4. 4. participants as well as the likelihood that families have shared heritage, similar values, and social rituals. Patterns differ in communication between spouses, between parent and child, among siblings, and within the wider family context that ultimate head towards diversified and harmonious lifestyles and thinking patterns. Organizational communication deals with communication within large organizations such as businesses which helps to increase acceptable and expectable diversified patterns in business settings. This is sometimes considered part of group communication, but communication scholars have built up a body of knowledge focused primarily on organizations. Example: Work focused discussion between employer and employee. Additionally, some scholars identify a category of impersonal communication. This is a distinctionbetween impersonal and interpersonal communication on the basis of the quality of the interaction.Impersonal communication is that which involves functional short-term exchanges such as mightoccur between a shopper and a salesman; the label of interpersonal is reserved for communicationthat functions in deeper and more meaningful relationships. c) Cultural and Cross-cultural Aspect Social norms are the behaviors and cues within a society or group. This sociological term has been defined as "the rules that a group uses for appropriate and inappropriate values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. These rules may be explicit or implicit. Failure to follow the rules can result in severe punishments, including exclusion from the group." They have also been described as the "customary rules of behavior that coordinate our interactions with others." The social norms indicate the established and approved ways of doing things, of dress, of speech and of appearance. These vary and evolve not only through time but also vary from one age group to another and between social classes and social groups. What is deemed to be
  5. 5. acceptable dress, speech or behavior in one social group may not be accepted in another. The remarkably wide diversity of attitudes and behaviors from one culture to another indicates the extent to which we are the products of cultural norms. Norms restrain and control us, but they also lubricate the social machinery. Social behavior occurs with greater ease when everyone knows what is both expected and accepted. Despite their distinct differences, cultures share some norms in common. Culture also varies in their norms for personal space, a sort of portable bubble or buffer zone that we like to maintain between ourselves and others. As the situation changes, the bubble varies in size. With strangers we maintain a fairly large personal space, keeping a distance of 4 feet or more between us. On un-crowded buses, or in restrooms or libraries, we protect our space and respect others’ space. We let friends come closer, often within 2 or 3 feet. Cross-cultural communication is a field of study that looks at how people from different cultural backgrounds endeavor to communicate. All cultures make use of nonverbal communication but its meaning varies across cultures. In one particular country, a non-verbal sign may stand for one thing, and mean something else in another culture or country. The relation of cross-cultural communication with deviance is that a sign may be offensive to one in one culture and mean something completely appropriate in another. This is an important field of study because as educators, business employees, or any other form of career that consists of communicating with ones from other cultures you; need to understand non-verbal signs and their meanings, so you avoid offensive conversation, or misleading conversation. Below is a list of non-verbal gestures that are appropriate in one country, and that would be considered deviant in another.
  6. 6. Asian United States Canada United States United States Avoiding eye The O.K. signal Thumbs up-used Someone may Whistling can contact is expresses for hitch hiking, whistle when express approval, considered polite approval or approving of happy as in cheering at something a public event United States Japan United States Nigeria Europe When saying The O.K. signal Using your This is a rude Whistling may hello or talking means that you middle finger is gesture in be a sign of to someone it is are asking for very offensive. Nigeria. disapproval at impolite to not money Used in place of look directly at inappropriate the person. public events. language. Thus social diversity is an essential part of human life to ensure safe and flexible being in the environment.
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