Gudykunst’s anxiety/uncertainty management theory (AUM): cross-cultural encounters between cultural in-groups and strangers
Ting-Toomey’s face-negotiation theory cultural differences in responding to conflict, on the assumption that all people negotiate “face”
Introduction to intercultural theories (2)
Philipsen’s speech codes theory: Every distinctive culture has a distinctive “speech code” (set of communication practices), taken for granted by those within the culture
Tannen’s theory of genderlect styles: conflicting speech codes of men and women
Introduction to intercultural theories (3)
Hardin and Wood’s standpoint theory : societal inequalities generate distinctive accounts of nature and social relationships
Cheris Kramarea’s muted group theory women are a muted group, their words and thoughts discounted.
Anxiety/Uncertainty Management Theory (AUM)(1)
Focuses on encounters between in-groups and strangers
Applicable to inter-group differences that spawn doubts and fears
One party is the “stranger”
In-group members also experience anxiety in interacting with the “stranger”
“ Effective ” communication minimizes misunderstandings, enabling each party to accurately predict and explain each other’s behavior
“ Mindfulness ” involves thinking about our communication, continually working at changing what we do in order to become more effective
Anxiety (affective) and uncertainty (cognitive) are biggest obstacles to effective communication
Axioms/elements for understanding/resolving uncertainty and anxiety include:
enhancing self-esteem, reducing need for affiliation, enhanced processing of complex information, enhanced tolerance for ambiguity, enhanced empathy, perceived similarity, enhanced liking, increase in shared networks
Face Theory (1) Basics
People are always negotiating “face”
“ Face ” - our public self-image, the way we want others to see us and treat us
“ Facework ” - messages that help restore, maintain, uphold “face”
“ Facework” strategies vary culturally , e.g.: individualistic (US/Europe) and collectivist (Asian) entailing different definitions of self, goals and duty.
We can also talk of self-construal as either “independent self” (values I-identity) and “interdependent self” (values We-identity).
Face Theory (2) Techniques
Standard western negotiation techniques :
Assure impartiality; Guarantee confidentiality; Disputant equality; Avoid “why” questions; Acknowledge emotions, but defuse their force; Frequent summarization; Individual private conferences; Reframe issues of “right” and “wrong” into interests; Brainstorm; Mutual stroking; Reality testing; Consider the alternative; Move toward agreement
Face Theory (3) Culture
“ Saving Face” may have to do with MY face, and/or YOUR face; and/or the organization, group, culture that I, and/or YOU represent.
Some privilege Self-face (“Western”); others privilege Other-face or Mutual-face (“Eastern”).
Some pre-empt threats to face; others react after-the-event
Culture determines type of face of maintenance which in turn determines type of conflict management
Strategies differently interpreted by different cultures: e.g. for third-party help, collectivists prefer the aid of a familiar third party; individualists want advice from an impartial person they may not know.
Strategic choices affected by power : whether culture has small power distances or high power distances.
Face Theory (6) Competence
Intercultural competence involves:
- Mindfulness , thoughtful openness to multiple perspectives
- Interaction skill , ability to communicate, appropriately, effectively and adaptively in a given situation
Speech Code Theory (1)
“ Nacirema” speech code characteristic of Americans, a culture identified by speech practices
Includes a lot of “meta-communication” (talk about talk)
Speech Codes (2)
Five propositions applied to Nacirema:
Distinctive culture – distinctive speech code .
Value of uniqueness; everyone’s voice to be heard
Speech code has psychological, sociological and rhetorical dimensions
Individual uniqueness; speech valued for encounters at all social levels; personal experience valued
Significance of speaking depends on speech codes .
Close, open and supportive communication highly valued
Terms, rules, premises of speech code are woven into speaking
Speech codes revealed in who speaks to whom, in what settings, toward what ends, and about topics, and how people talk about their speech practices
Use of shared speech code enables prediction, explanation, and control of discourse
Departure from norms likely to be remarked upon and challenged
Genderlect Styles (1)
Male-female conversation is cross-cultural
Has to do with different conversational styles, and the importance of being aware of / not being aware of these styles
Women’s needs for intimacy and connectio n battle with men’s needs for independence and status
Women value rapport talk, men value report talk
Types of talk
Public speaking vs private speaking
Women talk more than men in one-to-one conversation. Their rapport talk is less suited to talk in public, where men talk more.
(2) Telling a story
Men tell more stories, esp. jokes or events in which they are heroes; women talk about others and are self-deprecating
Women are supportive listeners; men worry that such listening is submissive. Women engage in cooperative overlap speech, while men tend to competitively interrupt or switch topic
(4) Asking Questions
Admissions of ignorance are viewed by men as undermining self-sufficiency. Women ask questions that make connections to others; they tag opinions with questions (e.g. “don’t you think?”) establishing dialogue
Men more likely to initiate conflict; women more inclined to avoid or soften it
Standpoint Theory (1)
The social groups within which we are located powerfully shape what we experience and know as well as how we understand and communicate with ourselves, others, and the world.
Marginalized people, including women, see the world differently. The difference between men and women is largely the result of cultural expectations and the treatment each group receives from the other.
Other standpoints are influenced by economic condition, race, sexual orientation
Standpoint Theory (2)
People at the top of the hierarchy are the ones privileged to define what it means to be female, male, or anything else
There is no such thing as disinterested, impartial, value-free, ahistorical perspective.
All knowledge is situated , all situated knowledge is partial.
“ Strong objectivity” starts from the perspectives of the marginalized, because they have more motivation to understand, less interest in the status quo. But these perspectives may be communicated in restricted language conventions shaped by the powerful.
Muted Group Theory (1)
Language is man -made. Women are a muted group, since language does not reflect well their experience; its lexicon deprecates women; women’s access to public communication is largely controlled and censored by men. Women have been marginalized in many (language-based) accounts of the world – in history, anthropology, literature.
Muted Group theory (2)
To participate in society, women must translate into the received male system of expression
Women use “back-channel” routes to discuss their experiences: diaries, journals, oral histories