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Levels of communication


Is the process of understanding and sharing meaning within the self. But it not restricted to talking to yourself. It also includes such activities as internal problem soving, managing internal conflict, planning for future and evaluating ourselves and our relationship with others.


Is the process of understanding and sharing meaning between at least 2 people when relatively mutual opportunities for speaking and listening exist. It can be used for the same purposes as intrapersonal. It is interpersonally oriented.


Refers to purposeful com in limited-sized groups in which decision making or problem solving occurs. Involves interpersonal com.


Occurs in large cooperative networks and includes all aspects of both interpersonal and group com. Schools. Government, business. It is a people working together to achieve individual or collective goals maintaining satisfying human relationships.


Is the process of understanding and sharing meaning with a broad audience through mediated messages. Radio, television.

II. Culture

1. Definition of culture

Culture is a learned set of interpretations about beliefs, values, norms and social practices which affect the behaviors of a relatively large group of people. Culture is learned from the people you interact with as you are socialized; cultures provide their members with a set of interpretations that they use as filers to make sense of messages and experiences. Culture exists in the minds of people, not in external or tangible objects or behaviors.

2. Atkinson’s definition of culture: a) received view of culture 2) an alternative view of culture

Atkinson refers to two views of culture: ‘a received, commonsense view of culture’ and ‘non-standard notions of culture’. For him, these two views of culture are inadequate for they are extreme possible interpretations of the notions of culture. By the received view of culture, Atkinson refers to an outdated notion of culture that is “nationally distinct, homogeneous, relatively unchanging, and as all-encompassing systems of rules or norms that substantially determine personal behavior”. By non-standard notions of culture, Atkinson refers to concepts emanating from critiques of received views of culture. An alternative view suggests that culture is not as homogeneous as one might believe within various levels of society. For instance, in modern urban societies there is a dynamic interaction between subcultures, socioeconomic strata, ethnicity, sex/gender, views of morality and ethics etc.

So the definitions of ‘‘culture’’ is changing. It may range from the ‘‘received’’ definition of culture as static (referring to ‘‘big,’’ ethnic cultures) to alternative definitions of culture as dynamic (often referring to ‘‘small’’ cultures, e.g. disciplinary, classroom, local).

3. Cultures interacting cultures in an educational setting: a) characteristic features of large cultures; b) characteristic features of small cultures

Large cultures (normative and prescriptive): national, universal, religious, ethnic

Small cultures (dynamic, changing, nonessentialistic): professional (doctors, teachers), academic, youth culture, subculture.

Atkinson proposes a model of culture that both considers culture as a product instead of a process and examines ‘‘big’’ culture versus ‘‘small’’ culture. Instead of focusing on the big culture (i.e. national or ethnic culture), intercultural rhetoric research needs to consider the complexly interacting small cultures in any educational or other intercultural situation. Drawing on the work of Holliday (1994, 1999), Atkinson shows how small cultures (i.e. classroom culture, disciplinary culture, youth culture, student culture, etc.) interact with the national culture. According to Atkinson, ‘‘In no sense, then, could the ‘cultural action’ taking place in any particular educational setting be accounted for solely in terms of the national culture in which that educational setting appeared to be located, as has often been done in the past.’’

Holliday’s view of culture. Holliday (1999) distinguishes between two paradigms of culture in applied linguistics: large and small cultures. He develops a definition of culture by contrasting the two paradigms in such a way that ‘large’ signifies “ethnic, national, or international” cultural differences, and ‘small’ signifies “any cohesive social grouping”.)

4. Factors used to classify cultures

a) descriptive factors (Gannon, Harris and Morran) – describe cultures by identifying metaphors that members of given societies vies as important, if not critical (e.g. famile structure, religion, eating habits...)

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Gannon focuses mostly on the expression of culture, among others religion, family structure, small group behavior, public behavior, leisure pursuits and interests, greeting behavior, humor, language etc. He provides a description of 16 cultures according to the following metaphors: the traditional British house, the Italian opera, the German symphony, the French wine, Turkish coffeehouse and so on…)

b) value categories (dimensions of national culture) (Hall, Hofstede, Hampden-Turner & Trompenaars) – represent specific conceptual taxonomies (ways of grouping things together) that are useful for understanding cultural differences.

Dimensions of national cultures according to Hofstede:

Individualism vs. collectivism: "The degree to which individuals are integrated into groups".

Power distance: "Power distance is the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations and institutions (like the family) accept and expect that power is distributed unequally."

Uncertainty avoidance: "a society's tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity".

Masculinity vs. femininity: "The distribution of emotional roles between the genders".

Long-/ short- term orientation.

Trompenaars' model of national culture differences:

1. Universalism vs. particularism (What is more important, rules or relationships?)

2. Individualism vs. collectivism (communitarianism) (Do we function in a group or as individuals?)

3. Neutral vs. emotional (Do we display our emotions?)

4. Specific vs. diffuse (How separate we keep our private and working lives)

5. Achievement vs. ascription (Do we have to prove ourselves to receive status or is it given to us?)

6. Time (Sequential vs. Synchronic) (Do we do things one at a time or several things at once?)

7. Environment (Internal vs. external control) (Do we control our environment or are we controlled by it?)


Context (high-context, low-context)

Space (proxemies)

Time (polychronic, monohronic)

Information flow (direct, indirect)

Date: 2015-02-28; view: 1087

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