Culture shock1


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  • OBJECTIVE CULTURE: Social, Economic, Political, Linguistics – History , Political Structure, the arts, etc. Creates knowledge but not necessarily competence. SUBJECTIVE CULTURE: Psychological features that define a group – their every day thinking & behavior. -> American Culture – defined by our independence and individuality
  • HIGH LEVEL OF ABSTRACTION - Diverse countries/groups often share general commonalities and can be compared to others in their group in a generic manner. -> US Americans are resistant to recognizing their own culture compared to all other cultural groups – even though they are easily definable by other cultural group. This leads to difficulty in cultural competency LOWER LEVEL OF ABSTRACTION – People who may share many similarities to the larger cultural group, but differ significantly in more specific cultural ways that are important to that culture. Ex. Korean view of elders, Latino view of collectivism in the family ,etc.
  • Janet M. Bennett – “A Special case of the typical human response to any transition, loss or change” You can experience culture shock anywhere – within your own country, state, or/and city.
  • Created by Milton J. Bennett - Co founded Intercultural Communication Institute, has his PhD in Intercultural Communication What the DMIS does is it links changes in cognitive structure to an evolution in attitudes and behaviors towards cultural differences in general - So one could compare this to the stages in grieving in that it is a process in which one moves in order and your view of the situation shifts through each stage.
  • -similar to someone saying, “I would never do that” in order to judge the actions of others”
  • Two forms of denial: Isolation – avoiding any opportunity. To experience difference and lacking the motivation to construct relevant categories for noticing and interpreting culture Separation – Not entirely isolated, there is an awareness of difference but an avoidances that protects a person from having their world view changed. Identify people from different cultures as “others”. In extreme cases, this can be used as a way to have power over someone and can dehumanize outsiders enough to enable genocide. Both forms may stereotype and/or create superficial statements of tolerance. In stereotyping, we simplify the rich cultural experiences of one group and heighten our experiences, making the view of our cultural more complex and meaningful. Example from my own experiences: When I told people I lived in the pacific Northwest in China, people who knew what I was talking about would ask me if everyone lived on a ranch and if we all rode horses and wore cowboy hats How to recognize if you’re in denial stage: Things you might say: - All big cities are the same, lots of building and too many cars When I travel to a foreign country all I need to know is how to order in restaurants and how to get around. As long as we speak the same language, there’s no problem What to do to get out of this stage: Recognize the existence of cultural differences How: Study objective cultural differences in history, politics, economics, sociology. Watch dances, view art, go to the theatre. What to avoid: Anything that stereotypes people, creates a blaming climate, or provides a threatening context of that culture. Example: King and I was banned in Thailand because of their making fun of the king but also because of stereotypes – Topics such as illegal immigration, terrorism from an anti-US perspective, etc.
  • -Often, the greater the difference between two cultures, the more negative the evaluation. Characterized by a dualistic us/them thinking – viewing other cultures as “underdeveloped” Defensive people can elaborate differences, but these differences are seen as inferior or as an attack to the “right” way of life. 3 types of defense: Denigration – view all differences as negative, thus protecting world view from changing ( I know Americans have a different culture, but the way women are treated in Muslim countries really limits their rights as people) Superiority – Current view of the world is protected by exaggerating the positive aspects of it. ( New York is so much better than any other city in the world, we have everything there – why would I leave?) Reversal – Seeing another culture as superior while viewing one’s own culture in a negative light (The US lack of universal health care is terrible and proves just how capitalism is evil. We should all move to Europe) Other signs: I wish people would just talk the way we do I don’t care if women are lesbians, I just think it’s wrong when they try to look like men. What a Sexist Society! These people are so enlightened and worldly, not like the people back home. WHAT TO DO TO GET OUT OF THE DEFENSE STAGE: Begin to search for similarities. Learn the historical context for differences (wars, slavery, colonization, etc) Allow for structured opportunities to share concerns THINGS TO AVOID: Cultural contrasts, putting yourself/others in a position where someone will become defensive or create an argumentative atmosphere.
  • Recognition and acceptance of superficial cultural differences such as music, eating customs, etc. while holding that all human beings are essentially the same. Tendency to define the basis of commonality through personal lens/ ethnocentric terms – everyone is just like me. Physical Universalism – seeing the commonality of people through physiological similarities (ex. We are all flesh and blood and our bodies work the same) Transcendent Universalism – Seeing the commonality of people through particular supernatural, religious, or social philosophy views. (ex. We are all children of God, whether you accept it or not) This phase is known by Bennett as the “White Liberal” phase, where people eschew power exercised through exploitation and denial of opportunity while accepting unquestionably the dominant culture privileges built into institutions. People of color and others who experience oppression in the US tend to not stay in this stage for too long. Example: U.S. Americans may believe that people everywhere desire individual freedom, openness, and competition Recognize if you’re in this state: The key to getting along in any culture is just to be yourself – open and honest and authentic No matter what their culture, people are pretty much motivated by the same things. - All the main religions basically believe in the same things. How to move out of this phase: -Recognize different cultural perceptions of specific topics or ideas by dialoging with different people from a variety of cultures. -find ways to understand and research the privilege of dominant groups – through documentaries, books (pedagogy of the oppressed) , etc. -find ways to expand curiosity about your own culture to other cultures (
  • Recognition and appreciation of cultural differences in behavior and values. Understanding of cultural relativity. Fairly comfortable with ambiguity and are comfortable knowing that there is no one right answer. ACCEPTANCE DOES NOT MEAN YOU HAVE TO AGREE, RATHER THAT YOU ACCEPT THE VIABILITY OF DIFFERENT CULTURAL WAYS OF THINKING AND BEHAVING. Behavioral Relativism: All behaviors exists in cultural context. Value Relativism: Beliefs, values, and other general patterns of assigning “goodness” and “badness” to ways of being in the world all exist in cultural context. People at this stage are often very curious about other cultures, and begin to understand the subjective cultural differences. People at this stage may also be in a form of paralysis when dealing with conflicting cultural norms because they have not gained the skills to take action. At this stage learners say: The more cultures you know about the better comparisons you can make. Sometimes it can be confusing, knowing that values are different in various cultures and wanting to be respectful, but still wanting to maintain my own core values. The more difference the better – more difference equals more creative ideas. To advance from this stage: It becomes trickier to find clear methods, but one should focus on studying more complex subjective cultural differences, including value analysis Understand communication styles –both verbal and non-verbal through questions, research, and every-day immersion Make cultural difference the focus while deepening cultural self-awareness – the more aware you are of your own culture the easier it will be to see how other people are different Try frame-of-reference shifting – once you can acknowledge your own frame of mind, start to see where other people are coming from Find ways to interact with other cultures, whether you have the opportunity to do a home stay in another country, the ability to work or volunteer in a community different than your own, or in group settings you can role play and simulate situations that require intercultural empathy
  • People in the adaptation stage have developed a set of communication skills that enable intercultural communication – they are more empathic towards other cultures and can take another person’s perspective in order to understand and be understood. They are able to take the skills of operating in their own culture while adding the ability to operate effectively in another one or more cultures. People in this stage can modify their behaviors to fit another culture (ex. Rules in Thailand – not to point at people) “Accidentally” bicultural – in the adaptation stage , if you grew up in more than one culture. Empathy: Ability to consciously shift perspective into alternative cultural world view elements and act in culturally appropriate ways in those areas. Pluralism: Internalization of more than one complete world view. Behavior shifts completely into different frames without much conscious effort At this stage, people say: To resolve this argument, I’m going to have to change my approach I need to change my behavior to account for the differences in culture and status between my host family and myself in order to resolve this dispute The more I understand the culture, the better I get at the language. Ways to progress: Try to find ways to practice behavior in the new culture - AVOID STEREOTYPING Continue to develop your understanding of self – RE-ENTERY AND REVERSE CULTURE SHOCK
  • People at this stage often recognize that worldviews are collective constructs in addition to identity - CULTURAL MARGINALS may seek out roles that allow them to work with various cultures as well as exhibit other qualities of constructive marginality Associate more with other “cultural marginals” Evaluation – Ability to use multiple frames of reference in evaluating various cultural contexts Marginality – acceptance of an identity that is not primarily based in one particular culture – participation in the marginal reference group, where other people who are at this stage are easier to relate to than the culture’s that a person is now able to understand and interact within. People at this stage say: -Everywhere is home if you know enough about how things work there. Whatever the situation I can usually look at it from a variety of cultural viewpoints. I feel most comfortable when I’m bridging differences between the cultures I know. To Stay in Intigration: -Continue to interact within the various cultures, if possible. -Promote the view of the self-as-process – as cultures are always changing, you must always be changing. -Continue to work towards defining your own sense of identity. Things people say: "Everywhere is home, if you know enough about how things work there." • "I feel most comfortable when I'm bridging differences between the cultures I know." • "Whatever the situation, I can usually look at it from a variety of cultural points of view.” To stay at this stage: • Promote a view of self-as-process (choice-making) • Encourage commitments and boundary setting • Discuss strategies for cultural identity construction
  • Different stages: You may be able to relate the main part of the culture, but sub cutures like Ganges, cults, prisons can be harder - When you smoke you are Considered a whore in different cultures – but some people, aware of this continue to do this – depends on outlook. - Gender – going out at night - depends on outlook
  • Culture shock1

    1. 1. Development of Intercultural Sensitivity <ul><li>Dealing with culture shock and moving from the ethnocentric stage to ethnorelativism. </li></ul>
    2. 2. WHAT TYPE OF CULTURE ARE WE TALKING ABOUT? OBJECTIVE CULTURE: Behaviors of a culture that has become routinized into a particular form. SUBJECTIVE CULTURE: The learned and shared patterns of beliefs, behaviors, and values of groups of interacting people.
    3. 3. Levels of Culture <ul><li>HIGH LEVEL OF ABSTRACTION </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>EXAMPLE: Japanese culture vs. USA culture </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>LOWER LEVEL OF ABSTRACTION </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>EXAMPLE: Ethnicities and Diversity </li></ul></ul></ul>
    4. 4. Culture Shock <ul><li>The feeling of disorientation experienced by someone who is suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes. </li></ul><ul><li>Culture shock = disease? </li></ul><ul><li>Intercultural Psychologists believe culture shock is a process - not something that can be caught and cured. </li></ul>
    6. 6. ETHNOCENTRIC: <ul><li>Using one’s own set of standards and customs to judge all people, often unconsciously. </li></ul>DENIAL DEFENSE MINIMIZATION
    7. 7. <ul><li>People at the denial stage are unable to construe cultural difference in complex ways. </li></ul>DENIAL
    8. 8. <ul><li>People at the defense stage have more ability to construe cultural difference, but they attach negative evaluations to it. </li></ul>DEFENSE
    9. 9. <ul><li>People at the minimization stage try to bury cultural differences within already familiar categories. </li></ul>MINIMIZATION
    10. 10. ETHNORELATIVE: <ul><li>Being comfortable with many standards and customs and having an ability to adapt behavior and to a variety of interpersonal settings </li></ul>ACCEPTANCE ADAPTATION INTEGRATION
    11. 11. <ul><li>People at the acceptance stage enjoy recognizing and exploring cultural differences. </li></ul>ACCEPTANCE
    12. 12. <ul><li>People at the adaptation stage use knowledge about their own and other’s cultures to intentionally shift into a different cultural frame of reference. </li></ul>ADAPTATION
    13. 13. <ul><li>People at the integration stage achieve an identity which allows them to see themselves as “multiculturalists” in addition to their national and ethnic backgrounds. </li></ul>INTEGRATION
    14. 14. Things to keep in mind <ul><li>you can skip steps </li></ul><ul><li>You can backpedal </li></ul><ul><li>you can be at different stages for various elements of subjective culture </li></ul>