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Intercultural Communication for Everyday Life



Intercultural Communication for Everyday Life

John R. Baldwin, Robin R. Means Coleman, Alberto González, Suchitra Shenoy-Packer

ISBN: 978-1-444-33236-0 February 2014 Wiley-Blackwell 370 Pages

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Written for students studying intercultural communication for the first time, this textbook gives a thorough introduction to inter- and cross-cultural concepts with a focus on practical application and social action.

  • Provides a thorough introduction to inter- and cross-cultural concepts for beginning students with a focus on practical application and social action
  • Defines “communication” broadly using authors from a variety of sub disciplines and incorporating scientific, humanistic, and critical theory
  • Constructs a complex version of culture using examples from around the world that represent a variety of differences, including age, sex, race, religion, and sexual orientation
  • Promotes civic engagement with cues toward individual intercultural effectiveness and giving back to the community in socially relevant ways
  • Weaves pedagogy throughout the text with student-centered examples, text boxes, applications, critical thinking questions, a glossary of key terms, and online resources for students and instructors
  • Online resources for students and instructors available upon publication at

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Preface xi

Acknowledgements xv

About the website xvi

Walk through xvii

Part One Foundations 1

1 A rationale for studying intercultural communication: Why should we know about other cultures? 3

Building a rationale: Why do we need to know about intercultural communication? 5

The personal growth motive 5

The social responsibility motive 6

The economic motive 8

The cross-cultural travel motive 10

The media motive 13

Challenges of studying intercultural communication 15

The history and focus of intercultural communication: Where did we come from? 16

Summary 19

Key terms 19

Discussion questions 20

Action points 20

For more information 20

2 Action, ethics, and research: How can I make a difference? 24

Muslim veils in French schools: How can we determine right from wrong in intercultural situations? 26

Ethics and morality 27

Determining a universal ethical stance 28

Ethical relativism 29

“ Not in our town:” What is the role of intercultural communication in civic engagement? 30

Political and civic engagement 31

Defending civic and political engagement among college students 32

Doing civic engagement 34

How can we do responsible cultural research? 35

Assumptions that guide cultural research 36

Approaches to studying culture and communication 36

Differences of focus in culture-and communication studies 41

Summary 42

Key terms 43

Discussion questions 43

Action points 44

For more information 44

3 Origins: Where does our “culture” come from? 47

The relationship between communication and culture: How do they inform each other? 49

Defining communication 49

The relationship between communication and culture 51

Defining culture: How can we define culture—and what are the implications of our definition? 52

Aspects and elements of culture: What is culture like? 55

Aspects of culture 55

Characteristics of culture 56

A model of interaction: How can we best understand intercultural and intergroup communication? 61

Summary 63

Key terms 64

Discussion questions 64

Action points 65

For more information 65

Part Two Elements 69

4 Subjective culture: What is the base upon which cultural communication is built? 71

Basic building blocks of culture: What are the most important things to know? 72

Cultural values: What are some useful frameworks for understanding culture? 75

High- and low-context cultures 76

Hofstede’s cultural dimensions 77

Culture-specific (emic) approaches 81

World view: What are the beliefs at the center of our “world”? 84

Summary 87

Key terms 87

Discussion questions 88

Action points 88

For more information 89

5 Identity: Struggle, resistance, and solidarity: How can I think about my identity and that of others? 91

An introduction to identity: Who am I, really? 92

Identity and communication: How do we communicate our identities? 95

Social identity theory and stages of identity development 95

Identity is created through communication 95

You are what you eat: Food as an example of identity 96

Identity and politics: How can our identities be political? 97

Identity politics 98

Punk rock and identity politics: A case study in brief 98

Ideology, the KKK, and subtle White power 100

Hegemony: National-regional and sexual orientation power plays 102

Identity in intercultural communication: What are some problematic ways to think about the identities of other groups? 103

Orientalism 103

The symbolic annihilation of race 105

Identity, solidarity, and civic action: Can I make a difference? 108

Summary 109

Key terms 110

Discussion questions 110

Action points 111

For more information 111

6 Intolerance–acceptance–appreciation: How can we make the world a more tolerant place? 114

Framing the problem: Where can we recognize intolerance? 116

Terms: What are some different types of intolerance? 116

Debates: Where does racism lie, and who can be racist? 123

Looking to a better future: What are some causes of and solutions for intolerance? 126

Understanding the problem: Possible causes of intolerance 126

Addressing the problem: Possible solutions to intolerance 128

Summary 130

Key terms 131

Discussion questions 132

Action points 132

For more information 132

Part Three Messages 135

7 Verbal communication: How can I reduce cultural misunderstandings in my verbal communication? 137

Systems of language and culture: Why is talking across cultures so difficult? 138

Systems of meaning 139

Speech acts and cultural communication 141

Getting things done with language 141

Explaining the details: Seeking ways to explain differences across cultures 143

Discursive elements of cultures: What happens when we join the elements of language? 147

Cultural myth 147

Conversational episodes 148

Social dramas 149

Cultural metaphor 150

Theories of conversation and culture: What happens when we actually talk to each other? 151

Communication accommodation theory 152

Communication and sites of dominance 153

Summary 154

Key terms 154

Discussion questions 155

Action points 155

For more information 156

8 Nonverbal communication: Can I make nonverbal blunders and not even know it? 159

Forms and functions: How should we act nonverbally when in another culture? 161

Channels (forms) of nonverbal communication 162

Functions of nonverbal communication and relations to verbal communication 164

Issues in nonverbal communication: How can I compare several cultures at the same time? 166

Issue number 1: I can understand your facial expression—but does it mean what I think it means? 166

Issue number 2: Why are you standing so close to me? Space and other aspects of contact 167

Issue number 3: Does anybody really know what time it is? 169

Issue number 4: Why are you being so quiet? Cultural understandings of silence 170

Nonverbal expectancy violations: What does your nonverbal behavior mean? 171

Culture and the expectancy violations model 172

Culture and meaning: Semiotics 173

Summary 175

Key terms 176

Discussion questions 176

Action points 177

For more information 177

9 Rhetoric and culture: How does my culture relate to persuasive writing and speaking? 180

Rhetorical communication: How does culture inform persuasion? 181

Rhetorical traditions: How do people in different cultures try to persuade? 182

African American tradition: Rooted in resistance 184

Chinese tradition: Rooted in social reflection 185

Latino/a tradition: Rooted in revolution 187

Native American tradition: Rooted in nature 189

Western tradition: Rooted in argument 191

Limitations when considering rhetorical traditions 192

Vernacular rhetoric: How does everyday communication seek to persuade? 193

Vernacular rhetoric in Africa 193

Vernacular rhetoric in South Toledo, Ohio 195

Intercultural rhetoric: What are the implications for civic engagement? 197

Summary 199

Key terms 199

Discussion questions 200

Action points 200

For more information 200

10 Culture, communication, and media: How do media shape our views of others? 203

Effects and rituals: What role do media play in our lives? 204

Lasswell’s model of (mediated) communication 204

The transmission view versus the ritual view 205

The role of media in intercultural communication 206

Democratic discourse and diversity: What issues do media present to me as a citizen? 207

Media and cultural identities: Who are “we” now? 210

Digital media and social movements 210

Gender media frames: The social acceptability of showing breasts 212

Representational absences as an impediment to intercultural communication 217

Beyond traditional media: How do new media and culture shape each other? 218

Summary 220

Key terms 221

Discussion questions 221

Action points 221

For more information 222

Part Four Contexts 225

11 Global media, global cultures: How do culture and globalization influence each other? 227

Culture on the global media stage: How does the global flow of information impact culture? 230

The global media experience 232

Satellite television: The progenitor of global media 234

Instantaneous cultural exchange: When time becomes timeless 236

The inequality of global media flow 237

Power and globalization: What drives the global media? 239

Global media from above and below: Hip hop 240

The challenges of global media flows 242

Summary 245

Key terms 246

Discussion questions 246

Action points 246

For more information 247

12 Adaptation and intercultural competence: How can I be effective in a new culture? 249

Cross-cultural adaptation: How can I better adjust to a new culture? 250

Adjustment and culture shock: Defining the terms 251

Models of cultural adjustment 251

Rethinking acculturation: What happens when cultural groups live side by side? 256

Coming home: Will it be as easy as it sounds? 258

The process and nature of return cultural adjustment 258

Making the going and coming home easier 261

Intercultural communication competence: How can I get the job done… and still be liked? 262

Understanding intercultural competence 262

Beyond the multicultural person: Intergroup effectiveness 264

Summary 265

Key terms 265

Discussion questions 266

Action points 266

For more information 267

13 Relationships and conflict: How can I have better cross-cultural relationships? 269

Culture and communication in relationship: How do intercultural relationships grow and thrive? 271

What partners bring with them into relationships 271

How do intercultural relationships work? 274

Unique cultural relationship patterns 276

Societal power and intercultural and intergroup relationships 279

Relational and organizational conflict: How can I make intercultural conflict more productive? 280

Cross-cultural approaches to conflict resolution 280

International negotiation 283

Summary 285

Key terms 286

Discussion questions 286

Action points 287

For more information 287

14 The political context: How can we use communication to shape politics and culture? 290

Politics, culture, and communication: How do politics relate to culture? 292

Making change happen: What are some examples of successful social movements? 294

The Green Belt Movement 294

The immigrant rights movement 296

Intercultural political leadership: What strategies can we use to bring about change? 298

Majora Carter and the Bronx River Alliance 298

Servant leadership and TOMS shoes 300

Summary 302

Key terms 303

Discussion questions 303

Action points 303

For more information 304

15 Intercultural communication in international organizational contexts: How does culture shape business, and how is business culture changing? 306

A new contract: How are technology and information changing the culture of work and workplaces? 308

New workers, new contracts 308

Globalization and corporate and local cultures 309

Cultural variability: How does culture shape the organization? 312

Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner’s cultural orientations 312

Orientation toward time 316

A new world: What are the impact of globalization on business? 317

Convergent and divergent hypotheses of business in a globalizing world 318

Types of organization 319

National/corporate cultures 321

Corporate responsibility: How can my company make a difference? 322

Case studies of corporate social responsibility 322

Intercultural organizing and communication for civic engagement 323

Summary 325

Key terms 325

Discussion questions 326

Action points 326

For more information 327

Conclusion 329

Glossary 331

Index 343

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