08 december 2005

Lecture 10: Intercultural Communication and Ethics

Feeling better after Monday's "breakdown". Thanks for asking...

The world is a stage filled with actors and actresses, but they come from different cultures and they need to coordinate their scripts and actions in order to accomplish their collective purposes (according to William Shakespeare).

Three key ethical dilemmas:
"When in Rome, do as the Romans do."
- To what extent must individuals adapt their culture?
- Respect, but what is possible and reasonable will vary, also depending on circumstances.
- Sometimes: difficult for people to change their behaviours to match cultural patterns that contradict their own beliefs and values.
- Question: how far would you go?

Are cultural values relative or universal?
- Every culture has its own set of values. Do you agree?
- Two values (David Kale) that transcend all cultures:
o maintain human dignity in all circumstances
o world at peace

Do the ends justify the means?
- Should all intercultural contacts be encouraged? Are the outcomes of intercultural contacts always positive? Are all circumstances appropriate for intercultural contact?
- e.g. Tourism: tourists may consume natural resources at a greater rate than they can be replaced.
- Intercultural contact could severely affect culture and even change it. (e.g. locals had to move in Bali for tourism)
- As an ethical intercultural communicator, some of the following questions must be confronted:
o Is it ethical to go to another country, for whatever reason?
o Should intercultural contacts be encouraged for those who speak no language but their own?
o Should those who are prejudiced seek out intercultural contacts?
o Is it ethical to send missionaries to other countries?
o At what cost would you help people (medical assistance)

Ethical communicators should do the following:
- Address people of other cultures with the same respect that they would like to receive themselves.
- Try to describe the world as they perceive it as accurately as possible.
- Encourage people of other cultures to express themselves in their unique natures.
- Strive for identification with people of other cultures.

Impact of national and international events on intercultural communication
cf. 9/11
cf. Tsunami (26 Dec 2004)

- What does my culture and nation represent to others?
- What are my culture's values, norms, social practices and beliefs?
- What is my relationship with other cultures and economies in the world?
- To what extent should I trust people who seem different from me?

Forces that pull us together and apart
Economic interdependence
- globalisation (cf. French: against all English words)
- alternative globalisation

Rapid communication systems
- internet: cf. Tsunami-blogs
- cf. blogs influencing Spanish politics (11 March 2004 attacks)

- Pluralism is the reality
- This is a new situation, so: between hope and concern, between optimism and pessimism

Additional emblem for Red Cross

I heard in the news this morning something that is nothing less than an intercultural discussion:
So far, Israel (among others) could not join the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, because no appropriate symbol (i.e. a symbol free from religious or cultural connotations, whatsoever) was available. The solution to this problem is the introduction of a third - new - emblem: a red frame in the shape of a square on edge, on a white background (Source: ICRC press release).

05 december 2005

Integration: Canadian culture

Although Canada has a very interesting past, the group on "Canada" may reduce the historical background a bit. Try to focus more on the last part, which is extremely important for intercultural communication: etiquette. Most of all I liked the checklist included ("What to do in communication with Canadians" + "What to avoid in communication with Canadians"). Very enlightening stuff and a good tip for other groups as well.

Integration: Australian culture

Beneath you find a list of links used by the "Australian" group. They have done far more than that by now. What I particularly like about their work is the fact that they compare overall Belgian culture with Australian culture.
I definitely like their conclusive part, where all particularities about Australian culture are brought up again.
And now, Australian: go for the integration with the other partims!

ð http://oseb79.free.fr/images/Nature,%20animeaux/koala%2001.jpg
ð http://www.sweetmarias.com/map.australia.jpg
ð http://www.artlex.com/ArtLex/t/images/theatr_sydney.opera.lg.jpg
ð http://gc.stud.tue.nl/oz/photos/maps/Australian_Flag.sized.jpg
ð http://gladstone.uoregon.edu/~ldangerm/australia/kangaroos.jpg
ð www.4husa.org/modules/coppermine/albums/userpics/normal_didgeridoo.jpg
ð http://www.nationalgeographic.com/traveler/articles/images/1012outback.jpg
ð http://www.pict.com/tomi/geo/images/ayersrock.jpg
ð http://wikipedia.org
ð http://www.convictcreations.com/culture/
ð http://www.convictcreations.com/research/identity.htm
ð http://www.inmamaskitchen.com/FOOD_IS_ART/places/Ausfoodarticle.html
ð http://www.theepicentre.com/Australia/aufood1.html
ð http://www.amazingaustralia.com.au/foods.htm
ð http://www.immi.gov.au/multicultural/australian/index.htm
ð http://www.macgregoss.qld.edu.au/aussie.htm
ð http://www.vic.liberal.org.au/AbouttheParty/History/hawke&keating.htm#2
ð http://www.derechos.org/human-rights/ocea/
ð www.tai.org.au/Publications_Files/Papers&Sub_Files/Double%20Dividend.pdf