ITALIAN VERSUS BRITISH
TABLE OF CONTENTS
What is a superstition? Who is a superstitious person?
Superstitions as Culture-Specific
Superstitions in Intercultural Communication
Italian and British Superstitions
Italian versus British Superstitions
What to Say and What not to
Suggestions for further studies and Limitations
WHAT IS A SUPERSTITION?
Superstition is a belief or practice born from the
desire of explaining the unknown and to plan
against misfortune. Superstitions identify meanings
in the arbitrary and random chances and
coincidences of life (Cameron, 2010).
WHO IS A SUPERSTITIOUS PERSON?
Personal Superstitions: Believes and actions held
only by one individual.
→ Obama, Wade Bogg, Elizabeth II, Pavarotti.
SUPERSTITIONS AS CULTURE-SPECIFIC
Hofstede and Hofstede: Uncertainty Avoidance
“The extent to which the members of a culture feel threatened
by ambiguous or unknown situations” (2005)
1) Malinowsky (1948): Superstitions used to reduce anxiety.
→ The case of Trobriand Islanders.
2) Lewis (1963): Superstitions as ignorance.
→ The case of American mothers.
SUPERSTITIONS IN INTERCULTURAL
Brislin (1986): The case of an American branch of a
Japanese manufacturing plant.
→ When interacting with
different cultures, it is
important to be especially
sensitive to the superstitions
the others may have.
ITALIAN AND BRITISH SUPERSTITIONS
Never walk under ladders
Four-leaf clover: Faith, Hope, Love, Luck
Get out of bed on the left side
Seven years of bad luck for breaking a mirror
ITALIAN VERSUS BRITISH SUPERSTITIONS
Put the wallet on the bed
Friday the 17th
XVII → VIXI
Ravens and bats
Put new shoes on the table
Friday the 13th
WHAT TO SAY AND WHAT NOT TO
“Né di Venere né di,
Marte, né si sposa
né si parte, né si dà
“In bocca al lupo”
“Find a penny, pick it
up and all day long
you’ll have good luck!”
“Step on a crack
you’ll break your
Say “white rabbit” the
1st of the month
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDIES
Why do superstitions still exist?
Will they exist forever?
What are the superstitions in other countries?
What are the roles of superstitions in the
Lack of sources
Difficulties to delimit the phenomenon of
Brislin, R.W. and Yoshida, T. 1994. Intercultural Communication
Training: An Introduction. California:Thousand Oaks.
Cameron, E., 2010. Superstition, Reason and Religion 1250-1750.
Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Hofstede, G. and Hofstede, G. J., 2005. What is different is dangerous.
In Hofstede, G. and Hofstede, G. J., 2005. Cultures and organizations:
software of the mind. New York:McGraw-Hill. pp.163-205,387-389.
Lewis, L.S., 1963. Knowledge, Danger, Certainty, and the Theory of
Magic. American Journal of Sociology. Vol. 69, No.1. p.7-12.
Malinowski, B. 1954. Magic, Science, and Religion: and other Essays.
New York:Anchor Books.
Martin, D. B., 2004. Inventing Superstitions: from the hippocratics to the
christians. Cambridge, Massachussetts: Harvard University Press.
Opie, I. and Tatem, M., 1996. A Dictionary of Superstitions. Oxford:
Oxford University Press.
Stuart A. V., 1997. The Psychology of Superstition. Oxford: Oxford