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What Makes Cultures Different: Concepts and Descriptors of Culture. ”Das Problem des Fundalismus im Islam kann nur aus dem Islam selbst heraus gelöst werden. Der Westen besitzt kulturell dazu keinen Schlüssel.”.

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what makes cultures different concepts and descriptors of culture

What Makes Cultures Different:Concepts and Descriptors of Culture

”Das Problem des Fundalismus im Islam kann nur aus dem Islam selbst heraus gelöst werden. Der Westen besitzt kulturelldazu keinen Schlüssel.”

”[…] dem Verlust alter Ordnungsmuster, der Armut, Destabilisierung oder Demütigung ganzer Kulturen und Regionen.”

“Unter dem Slogan, dass wir keinen Krieg der Kulturen wollen, führen wir faktisch genau diesen.”

Christine Pahlmann

Jens Tiefenstädter

gestures and meaning
Gestures and meaning

Graphic from: Göpferich, Susanne. Interkulturelles Technical Writing. Fachliches adressatengerecht vermitteln. Gunter Narr Verlag, Tübingen. 1998 p.287

gestures and meaning3
Gestures and meaning

Graphic from: Göpferich, Susanne. Interkulturelles Technical Writing. Fachliches adressatengerecht vermitteln. Gunter Narr Verlag, Tübingen. 1998 p.287

gestures and meaning4
Gestures and meaning

Graphic from: Göpferich, Susanne. Interkulturelles Technical Writing. Fachliches adressatengerecht vermitteln. Gunter Narr Verlag, Tübingen. 1998 p.287

gestures and meaning5
Gestures and meaning

Graphic from: Göpferich, Susanne. Interkulturelles Technical Writing. Fachliches adressatengerecht vermitteln. Gunter Narr Verlag, Tübingen. 1998 p.287

agenda
Agenda
  • Definitions of Culture
  • Descriptors / Dimensions of Culture
    • Edward T. Hall
    • Geert Hofstede
    • Fons Trompenaars
  • Flaws / Weaknesses & General Problems of Working with “Cultures”
  • Selected Readings / Sources
1 definitions of culture
1. Definitions of Culture

There exist various definitions of culture. We’d like to introduce into the most common in modern intercultural studies.

The word ‚Culture‘ comes from the Latin colere, which stands for cultivation of soil and plants.

It first appeared in the 17th century, in opposition to nature. Culture stood for things created by mans own will and skill.

what means culture to you
What Means Culture to You?

Discussion:

  • What do you think culture is?
definitions of cultures hochkultur goethe duerer co
Definitions of Cultures –Hochkultur: Goethe, Duerer & Co.

The German elites often defined culture as Hochkultur.

Heinrich Rickert:[Kultur ist die...]„Gesamtheit der realen Objekte, an denen allgemein anerkannte Werte oder durch sie konstruierte Sinngebilde haften und die mit Rücksicht auf die Werte gepflegt werden.“ 5

  • Rickert, Heinrich. Kulturwissenschaft und Naturwissenschaft. P.28 in:
  • Maletzke, Gerhard. Interkulturelle Kommunikation. Westdeutscher Verlag, Opladen. 1996 p. 16
definitions of cultures culture as communication and interpretation knowledge
Definitions of Cultures – Culture as Communication and Interpretation Knowledge

Keesing R.:„Culture, conceived as a system of competence shared in its broad design and deeper principles [...] is then not all of what an individual knows and thinks and feels about his (or her) world. It is his (or her) theory of what his (or her) fellows know, believe, and mean, his (or her) theory of the code being followed, the game being played, in the society into which he (or she) was born...“7

7 Keesing, R. Theories of culture. Annual Review of Anthropology, 3. 1974. p.73-97 in:

Gudykunst, William B., Kim, Young Yun. Communicating with strangers. Mc Graw-Hill, New York. 1992 p.12

definitions of cultures culture as communication system
Definitions of Cultures – Culture as Communication System

Edward T. Hall:„Cultures are unified wholes in which everything interrelates.“1

„Any culture is primarily a system for creating, sending, storing and processing information. Communication underlies everything.“2

According to Hall, 80 to 90% of communication are not language, but words, material things and behaviour.

  • Hall, Edward T. Hidden Differences Doing Business with the Japanese. Anchor Books 1987. p.XVIII
  • Hall, Edward T. Hidden Differences Doing Business with the Japanese. Anchor Books 1987. p.3
the unconscious defines culture
The Unconscious Defines Culture

Edward T. Hall:Culture defines CommunicationCommunication defines Culture.Hall introduces the term “informatics” for the behaviour outside conscious awareness. It includes evolutionary, emergent ideas, practices and solutions and even shared experiences that we all hold.

culture as communication system is masterable
Culture as Communication System – is Masterable

Edward T. Hall:„Culture can be likened to an enormous, subtle extraordinarily complex computer. It programs the actions and responses of every person, and these programs must be mastered by anyone wishing to make the system work“3

3 Hall, Edward T. Hidden Differences Doing Business with the Japanese. Anchor Books 1987. p.4

definitions of cultures culture as way of dealing with problems
Definitions of cultures – Culture as Way of Dealing With Problems

Fons Trompenaars, Geert Hofstede:

„Culture is the way in which a group of people solves problems and reconciles dilemmas.“6

6 Trompenaars, Fons. Riding the waves of culture. McGraw-Hill, New York. 1998. p.6

culture is what we take for granted
Culture is “What we Take for Granted”

In order to work with cultures, to describe them, we need a common ground or definition.

Hofstede’s definition, culture as set of problem solutions and basic understanding of the world, is a good basis.

It is more fundamental than the ‘Hochkultur’ or even culture as tacit civilization and includes Hall’s point of view, culture as communication system, and other definitions that see culture as tool for differentiating groups.

agenda16
Agenda
  • Definitions of Culture 
  • Descriptors / Dimensions of Culture
    • Edward T. Hall
    • Geert Hofstede
    • Fons Trompenaars
  • Flaws / Weaknesses & general Problems of working with “Cultures”
  • Selected Readings / Sources
2 descriptors dimensions of culture
2. Descriptors / Dimensions of Culture

Examining cultures and gathering data on them can be done in two ways.

Trying to understand a particular culture from the inside point of view …

.. Or looking from the outside trying to find variables that occur in many cultures and thus enable comparison.

2 dimensions of culture emic etic approach
2. Dimensions of Culture – Emic / Etic Approach

The linguist Pike named these approaches first:

Understanding from the inside point of view, is called Emic,

While the outside examination and comparison of one culture with another is called Etic.

Both approaches are useful and have strengths and weaknesses.

Cf. Pike, K.L. Etic and emic standpoints for the description of behaviour. In L. Wheeler (Ed.), Review of personality and social psychologie (Vol 3), Sage Publications, Beverly Hills.

2 dimensions of culture etic search for comparable elements
2. Dimensions of Culture – Etic – Search for Comparable Elements

In our opinion, it is possible to examine certain phenomena without knowing why they occur, for example proxemics.

Such phenomena can usually be measured and thus compared with other cultures.

The etic approach gives us comparable data, it helps us to familiarize ourselves with visible habits of other cultures.

Alas it cannot give us explanations of the underlying motivation for these phenomena.

2 dimensions of culture emic understanding like a native
2. Dimensions of Culture – Emic – Understanding Like a Native

The emic approach can’t help us comparing one culture with another.

But it may help us understanding the underlying rules and values that shape the visible rim of a culture, for a culture is described as the subjects of this culture perceive it.

2 dimensions of culture emic etic when to use which
2. Dimensions of Culture – Emic / Etic – When to Use Which?

Discussion:

  • What do you think where the strengths and weaknesses of these approaches are?
  • Is a pure etic or pure emic approach possible? Or do we always compare with our own experience? Is it possible to understand phenomena as a foreigner?
2 descriptors dimensions of culture the big 5 general questions
2. Descriptors / Dimensions of Culture – The big 5 – General Questions

According to Florence Kluckhorn and Fred Strodtbeck mankind faces 5 general dilemmas coming forth from interaction with fellow humans, time, nature and activities.

These dilemmas need to be solved, for every dilemma, there exist but a limited number of solutions.

Every culture can choose from these solutions. By the particular selection, cultures can be compared.

2 descriptors dimensions of culture the big 5 general questions23
2. Descriptors / Dimensions of Culture – The Big 5 – General Questions

Graphic according to: Maletzke, Gerhard. Interkulturelle Kommunikation. Westdeutscher Verlag, Opladen. 1996 p.82

2 dimensions of culture pattern variables
2. Dimensions of Culture – Pattern Variables

Parsons and Shils introduced the concept of pattern variables in 1951.

“Pattern variables are mutually exclusive choices individuals make prior to engaging in action.

The choices are made both consciously and unconsciously; however, they are generally made unconsciously since they are learned during the socialization process at an early age.”8

8 Gudykunst, William B., Kim, Young Yun. Communicating with strangers. Mc Graw-Hill, New York. 1992 p.51

2 dimensions of culture pattern variables25
2. Dimensions of Culture – Pattern Variables
  • Self-orientation vs. collective-orientation(= individualism vs. collectivism)
  • Affectivity vs. Affective NeutralityWhat is the nature of the gratification we seek?
  • Universalism vs. ParticularismHow do we categorize people and objects?
  • Diffuseness vs. SpecificityHow do we respond to people and objects?
  • Ascription vs. AchievementAre people / objects treated in terms of their ascribed or their achieved qualities ?
  • Instrumental vs. Expressive OrientationWhat is the nature of our goals of interaction?
2 1 dimensions of culture edward t hall
2.1 Dimensions of Culture – Edward T. Hall

High and Low Context

Space

TimeSpeed of messages (Fast / Slow)

2 1 dimensions of culture hall high and low context
2.1 Dimensions of Culture – Hall – High and Low Context

Context is the information surrounding an object or event.

Together with the object / event these additional information produce a meaning.

The proportion event / context differs from culture to culture.

The two poles are: High Context  Low Context

2 1 dimensions of culture hall space
2.1 Dimensions of Culture – Hall – Space

Space is organized and perceived differently in cultures.

Space has the function of giving order, organization and even clues about the social position of an individual.

There exist several boundaries around us.

Innermost the physical boundary of our body,

outermost our “territorial border”.

Any border beside the physical border is individually perceived and chosen and shaped by culture. Violating or accepting the borders is communication.

2 1 dimensions of culture hall space30
2.1 Dimensions of Culture – Hall – Space

Territoriality:

“Feeling about personal space”Often communicates status, e.g. size and position of office, neighbourhood…

Personal Space:

The size of an invisible bubble around us. Sort of a mobile territory.The size depends on the situation, emotional states, culture a.o.

2 1 dimensions of culture hall time
2.1 Dimensions of Culture – Hall – Time

Time

Natural: Circles: Day / night, seasons, life circle

Time as Structure Time as Communication

  • Monochronic Appointments, advance time
  • Polychronic Speed of actions
2 1 dimensions of culture hall time as communication
2.1 Dimensions of Culture – Hall – Time as Communication

Time is the primary system of organization, the informal rules can be used to communicate.E.g.: Advance time, proper timing, appointments

Rhythm and speed, time needed for making decisions, for talking, for getting used to another.

This phenomenon is closely related to Hall’s speed of messages as described later.

2 1 dimensions of culture hall speed of messages
2.1 Dimensions of Culture – Hall – Speed of Messages

Hall defines culture as communication system.

Therefore every action transmits information that can be decoded in different speeds.

Cultures, persons, messages all might have a particular speed necessary to decode them. People used to a different speed find it difficult to decode them.

2 2 dimensions of culture hofstede s definition of culture
2.2 Dimensions of Culture – Hofstede’s Definition of Culture

Culture 1:"Refinement of the mind" and in particular the results of such refinement like education, art and literature

Culture 2: The set of mental rules, the software of the mind.(cf. Hall, Trompenaars) Culture, as mental software, is at least partly shared with other people who live or lived within the same social environment.

This shared software distinguishes members of one group from others.

Even for adults it is possible, though it might be hard, to adopt to or learn a different set of mental rules.

The mental softwareis learned throughout the whole live.

Cf. Hofstede, Geert. Lokales Denken, Globales Handeln. C.H. Beck, Munich. 1997 p.3f

2 2 dimensions of culture hofstede s definition of culture37

Applies to…

Level

How achieved…

individual

Personality

experienced + learned

specific to group or category

experienced

Culture

universal

inherited

Human nature

2.2 Dimensions of Culture – Hofstede’s Definition of Culture

Cf. Hofstede, Geert. Lokales Denken, Globales Handeln. C.H. Beck, Munich. 1997 p.5

2 2 dimensions of culture hofstede s onion

Heroes

Practices

Values

Rituals

Symbols

4+1 Dimensions

2.2 Dimensions of Culture – Hofstede’s Onion

Values determine the definition of good and bad, logical vs. paradoxical …

Rituals: Collective activities which are considered socially essential.

Heroes: Represent characteristics which are highly prized in a culture.

Symbols: Words, gestures, objects which carry a specific meaning which is only recognised within the culture

"Practices" are visible to outsiders and therefore can be learned.

2 2 dimensions of culture hofstede s 4 1 dimensions
2.2 Dimensions of Culture – Hofstede’s 4+1 Dimensions

The dimensions are situated between the core and the practices. Individual expressions and feelings based on values, but not unquestioned collective rituals.

  • Power Distance
  • Masculinity / Femininity
  • Uncertainty Avoidance
  • Individualism / Collectivism
  • Confucian Dynamics
2 2 dimensions of culture power distance
2.2 Dimensions of Culture – Power Distance

“Power distance, as a characteristic of a culture, defines the extent to which the less powerful person in a society accepts inequality in power and considers it as normal. Inequality exists within any culture, but the degree of it that is tolerated varies between one culture and another.”

“All societies are unequal, but some are more unequal than others.”

2 2 dimensions of culture masculine vs feminine cultures
2.2 Dimensions of Culture – Masculine vs. Feminine Cultures

Defines the predetermination of gender roles in a society.

Masculine cultures use the biological existence of two sexes to define the different social roles of men and women.Men are expected to be assertive, ambitious and competitive and to strive for material success.Women are expected to serve and to care for the non-material quality of life, for children and the weak.

2 2 dimensions of culture feminine cultures
2.2 Dimensions of Culture – Feminine Cultures

Feminine cultures define relatively overlapping social roles for the sexes, in which neither men nor women need to be ambitious or competitive.Both sexes may go for a different quality of life than material success and may respect whatever is small, weak and slow.

2 2 dimensions of culture masculine vs feminine cultures43
2.2 Dimensions of Culture – Masculine vs. Feminine Cultures
  • Masculinity
    • Earnings
    • Social recognition
    • Advancement (career)
    • Challenge
  • Femininity
    • Manager (good relations to superior)
    • Cooperative work
    • Comfortable living area
    • Employment secureness
2 2 dimensions of culture uncertainty avoidance
2.2 Dimensions of Culture – Uncertainty Avoidance

Defines the extend to which people within a culture are made nervous by situations that consider to be unstructured, unclear, or unpredictable, and the extend to which they try to avoid such situations by adopting strict codes of behaviour and a believe in absolute truth.

2 2 dimensions of culture uncertainty avoidance45
2.2 Dimensions of Culture – Uncertainty Avoidance

Cultures with weak UA

  • contemplative
  • less aggressive
  • unemotional
  • accepting of personal risk
  • relatively tolerant

Cultures with strong UA

  • active
  • aggressive
  • emotional
  • security-seeking
  • intolerant
2 2 dimensions of culture individualism vs collectivism
2.2 Dimensions of Culture – Individualism vs. Collectivism

Collectivist cultures

Individuals are assumed to belong to one or more close “in-groups” from which they can not detach themselves.

Tightly integrated.

In-group offers protection but demands loyalty.

Individualist cultures

Individuals are assumed to look primarily after their own interest and those of their immediate family.

Loosely integrated.

2 2 dimensions of culture are there differences to hall s dimensions
2.2 Dimensions of Culture – Are there differences to Hall’s dimensions?

Discussion:

  • Is there a qualitative difference to Hall’s dimensions or Parsons’ patterns?
  • Do you think Uncertainty Avoidance, Context (HC/LC) and Universalism / Particularism correlate?
2 3 dimensions of culture trompenaars onion

Artifacts / Products: Hofstedes Practices

Norms and Values: Hofstedes Core

Core: Basic assumptions about dealing with nature and people

2.3 Dimensions of Culture – Trompenaars’ Onion

Trompenaars adds to Hofstedes’ onion a new core which contains the basic assumptions about nature and mankind. These are derived from Kluckhorn’s and Strodbeck’s value orientation.

2 3 dimensions of culture fons trompenaars

Attitude to people

2.3 Dimensions of Culture – Fons Trompenaars
  • Universalism vs. Particularism (Parsons)
  • Individualism vs. Collectivism (Parsons)
  • Neutral vs. Emotional (cf. Affectively neutral vs. Emotional (Parsons))
  • Specific vs. Diffuse (Parsons + LC/HC)
  • Achievement vs. Ascription (Parsons)
  • Attitude to time (Hall / Strodbeck)
  • Attitude to the environment. (Strodbeck)
agenda50
Agenda
  • Definitions of Culture 
  • Descriptors / Dimensions of Culture 
    • Edward T. Hall 
    • Geert Hofstede 
    • Fons Trompenaars 
  • Flaws / Weaknesses & general Problems of working with “Cultures”
  • Selected Readings / Sources
problems critic on the theories
Problems / Critic on the theories
  • Hall: Emic not possible because you always “know” things that the natives are unaware of. Therefore it is impossible to understand a foreign culture the same way natives do.
  • Can a foreign culture be learned? Hall denies this, s.a. Hofstede says it is hard but possible to reinitiate the process of learning values and norms like children do.
  • Hall: Some examples are outdated, the conclusions based on these should be checked.
problems critic on the theories52
Problems / Critic on the theories
  • Methodological weaknesses:Hall: Interviews, hearsay, Experiences from training for USA government, fieldwork with natives. Hofstede: Consultant for IBM worldwide in the 70’s.Trompenaars: 15 years field research / 1000+ trainings in over 20 years. About 30.000 participants.
agenda53
Agenda
  • Definitions of Culture 
  • Descriptors / Dimensions of Culture 
    • Edward T. Hall 
    • Geert Hofstede 
    • Fons Trompenaars 
  • Flaws / Weaknesses & general Problems of working with “Cultures” 
  • Selected Readings / Sources
selected readings sources
Selected Readings / Sources
  • Hall, Edward T. The Silent Language. Anchor Books, 1990.Hall’s basic work on culture, his main concepts (PMS and dimensions) are described.
  • Hall, Edward T; Reed Hall, Mildred. Hidden Differences. Doing Business with the Japanese. Anchor Books, 1987.A “How to” Guide to the Japanese. Introduces into the Japanese culture, some parts are outdated, nevertheless interesting to read.
  • Hall, Edward T. Hidden Dimension. Anchor Books, 1990.Hall’s major work on Proxemics.
selected readings sources55
Selected Readings / Sources
  • Gudykunst, William B., Kim, Young Yun. Communicating with strangers. Mc Graw-Hill, New York. 1992.If you want to study the topic, start with this book. It gives a short introduction into many different concepts and theories and is well written.
  • Trompenaars, Fons. Riding the waves of culture. McGraw-Hill, New York. 1998.Trompenaars uses different theories (Hofstedes Dimensions, Pattersons Variables...) and presents them in an easy to understand form. He also offers figures from various studies he conducted.
selected readings sources56
Selected Readings / Sources
  • Appadurai, Arjun. Modernity at Large. Cultural Dimensions of Globalization University of Minnesota Press, London. 1998.This book concentrates on the effects of modernity, ethnic movements, mass media and so on. The author‘s concept of culture is different from the here used, so it is sometimes confusing to read and hard to grasp.
  • Maletzke, Gerhard. Interkulturelle Kommunikation. Westdeutscher Verlag, Opladen. 1996.Another good introduction. Based on the papers of an congress in 1966 it is still of good value. Parts resemble the book by Gudykunst,William, Kim.
selected readings sources57
Selected Readings / Sources
  • Hofstede, Geert. Lokales Denken, Globales Handeln. C.H. Beck, Munich. 1997
  • Weaver, Gary R. (ed). Culture, Communication and Conflict. Readings in Intercultural Relations. Simon & Schuster Publishing, Needham Heights. 1998
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definitions of cultures culture as device of differentiation
Definitions of Cultures – Culture as Device of Differentiation

Arjun Appadurai:„Culture is not usefully regarded as a substance but is better regarded as a dimension of phenomena, a dimension that attends to situated and embodied difference. Stressing the dimensionality of culture rather than its substantiality permits our thinking of culture less as a property of individuals and groups and more as a heuristic device that we can use to talk about difference. “4

„The idea of culture as involving the naturalized organization of certain differences in the interests of group identity, through and in the historical process [...]“4(p.14)

4 Appadurai, Arjun. Modernity at Large. Cultural Dimensions of Globalization University of Minnesota Press, London. 1998. p.13

2 1 dimensions of culture primary message systems
2.1 Dimensions of Culture – Primary Message Systems

According to Hall and Trager, a cultural system had to be:

“Rooted in a biological activity widely shared with other advanced living forms.” 9

“Capable of analysis in its own terms without reference to the other systems and so organized that it contained isolated components that could be built up into more complex units […]” 9

“[…]constituted [in a way] that it reflected all the rest of culture and was reflected in the rest of culture.”9

9 Hall, Edward T. The Silent Language. Anchor Books 1990. p.37f

2 1 dimensions of culture primary message systems61
2.1 Dimensions of Culture – Primary Message Systems

This leads to 10 Message systems, 9 of which are non-linguistic.

  • Interaction
  • Association
  • Subsistence
  • Bisexuality
  • Territoriality
  • Temporality
  • Learning
  • Play
  • Defense
  • Exploitation
2 1 dimensions of culture hall the major triad
2.1 Dimensions of Culture – Hall – The Major Triad

Hall and Trager developed a theory that culture has three levels:

Formal

Informal

Technical

This paradigm applies to the individual’s behaviour. Again, all three modes are always present, but one dominates.

2 2 dimensions of culture confucian dynamics
2.2 Dimensions of Culture – Confucian Dynamics

Long-term orientation

  • Persistence
  • Ordering relationships by status
  • Following the order
  • Thrift
  • Having a sense of shame

Short-term orientation

  • Steadiness and stability
  • Protecting face
  • Respect for tradition
  • Reciprocation of greetings and gifts
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