High and low context cultures relationships in each
High and Low Context CulturesKrystal KellyAnthropology 100And relationships in each.
The Question• How do relationships differ between high andlow context cultures?• How do relationships in each start?• What are the overall differences between highand low context dealing with the concept ofrelationships?
What does High and Low contextCulture mean?• Saying a culture is High Context or low Contextis a way to describe the communicationpatterns within the culture.
What is High Context Culture?• Many things are leftunsaid within thecommunication, themeaning of the messageis only understoodthrough the filter of thespeakers culture.• Relational, collectivist,intuitive, andcontemplative.• Word choice, tone andfacial expressions havegreat impact on themeaning of the message.• A few words cancommunicate a verycomplex messageeffectively, but may onlybe understood by peoplewithin the speakers ownculture.
Examples of High context Cultures• African• Arab• Brazilian• Chinese• Filipinos• French Canadian• French• Greek• Hawaiian• Hungarian• Indian• Indonesian• Italian• Japanese• Korean• Latin Americans• Persian• Portuguese• Russian• Southern United States• Spanish• Thai• Turkish• Vietnamese
What is Low Context Culture?• Communication is explicitand straight forward.• Less importance is placedon word choice.• Individualism andindependence are valued.Examples–• Australian• English Canadian• English• Finnish• German• Irish• New Zealand• Scandinavia• Switzerland• United States (excluding theSouthern United States)
Main Cultural DifferencesHigh Context• How things get done dependson relationships with peopleand attention to groupprocess.• Ones identity is rooted in thegroups they are in i.e. family,work, culture.• Social structure and authorityare centralized; responsibilityis at the top. Person at topworks for the good of thegroup• Space is communal; peoplestand close to each other,share the same space.Low Context• Things get done by followingprocedures and payingattention to the goal.• Ones identity is rooted inoneself and onesaccomplishments.• Social structure isdecentralized; responsibilitygoes further down (is notconcentrated at the top).• Space is compartmentalizedand privately owned; privacy isimportant, so people arefarther apart.
RelationshipsHigh Context• Relationships depend on trust,build up slowly, and are stable.• One distinguishes betweenpeople inside and peopleoutside ones circle.• Small, close-knit groups, andreliance on that group.• Groups are heavily relied onfor support, it may be difficultto get support outside of yourgroup.• Professional and personal livesoften intertwineLow Context• Interpersonal relationships canbe intense but short term.• Relationships begin and endquickly.• Many people can be insideones circle. The circlesboundary is often not clear.• A lower context culturedemands more independence.• Expects many relationships,but fewer intimate ones.
•In high context culture the comingtogether stage takes quite a long time tohappen.•Once a relationship reaches the bondingstage it will often stay in relationalmaintenance for a very long time.•Relationships do not often reach thecoming apart.•In low context culture the comingtogether stage can happen veryquickly and can reach the bondingstage shortly after meeting.•A relationship can go through thewhole cycle of coming together,bonding, and coming apart in ashort amount of time.
First ImpressionsKorea – High Context• When meeting someone forthe first time oneimmediately asks the otherperson their age and maritalstatus.• This information tells youhow to proceed with youinteractions.United States – Low Context• When you first meetsomeone it is common tointroduce yourself casually.• A simple introduction mayonly consist of your namedepending on the situation.• Immediate inquiries aboutage and marital status mayseem too forward andperhaps rude.
Age Differences in RelationshipsKorea – High Context• If someone is older thanyou by even one year youmust refer to them with theproper honorific.• This shows the power andauthority the other personhas over you.• Even if you become closewith this person andbecome able to use a morecasual honorific it is stillalways there.United States – Low Context• Age differences are not asimportant.• People often interact andbuild friendships withpeople who are both olderand younger than them.• There are no honorifics tosignify age difference.• One may not find outanothers age till later intheir friendship if they don’texplicitly ask or care.
“First name basis”High Context Culture - Japan• In Japanese culture it is almosttaboo to use names. Since it isvery intimate, something onlyclose friends, lovers, and familymembers use.• Omitting a title is either veryfriendly or very insulting,depending on the situation.• Generally people address eachother by last name. With theproper honorific.• It is perfectly polite and commonin Japanese to address acomplete stranger as old lady orgrandfather or elder sister orMr. Policeman or miss or boy.Low Context Culture -• In low context culture it iscommon to refer to peoplemostly by their first name, youmay be close friends or havejust met, in both situations it iscompletely appropriate.• It is not uncommon to addressthose older than you by firstname.• People of authority such asbosses and teachers may askyou to refer to them by theirfirst name, the “Mr.” or “Mrs.”might make them feeluncomfortable due to thesuperiority the pre-fixes imply.
The Japanese and Names• The Japanese have a name taboo; they avoidusing names when possible. Using a name israther intimate. Close friends, such asschoolmates, lovers, and family members, woulduse names. The Japanese usually use the familyname when they use names. Again, children areusually less formal, but the older the peopleinvolved, and the more formal the situation, themore polite the language becomes. Its alsoacceptable to refer to ones boss as Kacho (課長 Kachō, boss, literally supervisor) without hisname.
Japanese Honorifics• san (さん) = A person may beaddressed with the "-san" suffix if thespeaker does not know the subjectwell, but the speaker does not wishto be rude to the subject. GenderNuetral• -kun (君): Used for male children oran older man to a younger man, oramong friends and equals.• -chan (ちゃん): An informal versionof "san" used to address children andfemale family members, can be aterm of endearment in adulthood.• -senpai (先輩): Used forupperclassmen. Elder students have aleadership role with junior studentsand senpai recognizes that.• -kohai (後輩 kōhai): The reverse ofsenpai. Kohai is used to addressjuniors.• As mentioned in the beginningthere is much left unsaid withinthe communication which canbe expressed through just theparticular honorific you choseto address someone with.• You may express a developmentwithin a friendship by switchingfrom “-san” to “-kun” orperhaps refer to a male friendas “-chan” to tease him and beendearing.
Conclusion• The dynamics of relationships within High and Low contextcultures are very different.• In Low Context Culture it is normal to be self reliant and yethave many relationships. Relationships are easy to build,can start very quickly but end just as soon. People havemany acquaintances they have fewer close friends. The feelof these relationships and the communication with in themtends to be very casual.• In High Context Culture general interactions with peopleuntil they become close is very formal. People have more ofa collective mindset and rely on their groups of friendsheavily. They have fewer relationships than individuals fromLow context culture but High Context relationships takelonger to solidify and are much more stable and longlasting.