Culture as Common Sense: Perceived Consensus Versus Personal Beliefs . This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers. explaining the differences between North Americans and East . social contexts and are continually reconstructed within each new. Chapter One Commonsense: Intelligibility and Authority in Language. . reassures some Canadians that their suspicions of linguistic difference are well- founded. .. socio-cultural life, between ideas about language and their role in socio-cultural .. an analysis of a statement's production and reception in its social context. This thesis, GlobalMind, provides common-sense databases of various countries and lan- Automated Mechanisms for Cultural Contexts Analysis. .. other cultures without solving the language difference problems, the language.
Cultural fluency means familiarity with cultures: Cultural fluency means awareness of several dimensions of culture, including Communication, Ways of naming, framing, and taming conflict, Approaches to meaning making, Identities and roles. Each of these is described in more detail below. Communication refers to different starting points about how to relate to and with others.
There are many variations on these starting points, and they are outlined in detail in the topic Communication, Culture, and Conflict. Some of the major variations relate to the division between high- and low-context communications, a classification devised by Edward T. The physical setting, the way things are said, and shared understandings are relied upon to give communication meaning. Interactions feature formalized and stylized rituals, telegraphing ideas without spelling them out.
Nonverbal cues and signals are essential to comprehension of the message. The context is trusted to communicate in the absence of verbal expressions, or sometimes in addition to them. High-context communication may help save face because it is less direct than low-context communication, but it may increase the possibilities of miscommunication because much of the intended message is unstated.
Low-context communication emphasizes directness rather than relying on the context to communicate. From this starting point, verbal communication is specific and literal, and less is conveyed in implied, indirect signals.
Low-context communicators tend to "say what they mean and mean what they say. As people communicate, they move along a continuum between high- and low-context.
Depending on the kind of relationship, the context, and the purpose of communication, they may be more or less explicit and direct. In close relationships, communication shorthand is often used, which makes communication opaque to outsiders but perfectly clear to the parties.
With strangers, the same people may choose low-context communication. Low- and high-context communication refers not only to individual communication strategies, but may be used to understand cultural groups. Generally, Western cultures tend to gravitate toward low-context starting points, while Eastern and Southern cultures tend to high-context communication.
Within these huge categories, there are important differences and many variations. Where high-context communication tends to be featured, it is useful to pay specific attention to nonverbal cues and the behavior of others who may know more of the unstated rules governing the communication. Where low-context communication is the norm, directness is likely to be expected in return. There are many other ways that communication varies across cultures.
High- and low-context communication and several other dimensions are explored in Communication, Culture, and Conflict. Ways of naming, framing, and taming conflict vary across cultural boundaries.
As the example of the elderly Chinese interviewee illustrates, not everyone agrees on what constitutes a conflict. For those accustomed to subdued, calm discussion, an emotional exchange among family members may seem a threatening conflict.
The family members themselves may look at their exchange as a normal and desirable airing of differing views. Intractable conflicts are also subject to different interpretations. Is an event a skirmish, a provocation, an escalation, or a mere trifle, hardly worth noticing? The answer depends on perspective, context, and how identity relates to the situation.
Just as there is no consensus across cultures or situations on what constitutes a conflict or how events in the interaction should be framed, so there are many different ways of thinking about how to tame it. Should those involved meet face to face, sharing their perspectives and stories with or without the help of an outside mediator?
Or should a trusted friend talk with each of those involved and try to help smooth the waters? Should a third party be known to the parties or a stranger to those involved?
John Paul Lederach, in his book Preparing for Peace: Conflict Transformation Across Cultures, identifies two third-party roles that exist in U. Traditional elders are revered for their local knowledge and relationships, and are relied upon for direction and advice, as well as for their skills in helping parties communicate with each other.
The roles of insider partial someone known to the parties who is familiar with the history of the situation and the webs of relationships and outsider neutral someone unknown to the parties who has no stake in the outcome or continuing relationship with the parties appear in a range of cultural contexts.
Generally, insider partials tend to be preferred in traditional, high-context settings, while outside neutrals are more common in low-context settings. These are just some of the ways that taming conflict varies across cultures.
Third parties may use different strategies with quite different goals, depending on their cultural sense of what is needed. In multicultural contexts, parties' expectations of how conflict should be addressed may vary, further escalating an existing conflict. Approaches to meaning-making also vary across cultures.
There is No Such Thing as Common Sense | Cultural Detective Blog
Hampden-Turner and Trompenaars suggest that people have a range of starting points for making sense of their lives, including: Even though the starting points themselves are neutral, negative motives are easily attributed to someone who begins from a different end of the continuum. First Nations people tend to see time as stretching forward and back, binding them in relationship with seven generations in both directions.
Their actions and choices in the present are thus relevant to history and to their progeny. Government negotiators acculturated to Western European ideas of time may find the telling of historical tales and the consideration of projections generations into the future tedious and irrelevant unless they understand the variations in the way time is understood by First Nations people.
Of course, this example draws on generalizations that may or may not apply in a particular situation. Each has a distinct culture, and these cultures have different relationships to time, different ideas about negotiation, and unique identities. Government negotiators may also have a range of ethno cultural identities, and may not fit the stereotype of the woman or man in a hurry, with a measured, pressured orientation toward time.
Examples can also be drawn from the other three dimensions identified by Hampden-Turner and Trompenaars.
High-context and low-context cultures - Wikipedia
When an intractable conflict has been ongoing for years or even generations, should there be recourse to international standards and interveners, or local rules and practices? Those favoring a universalist starting point are more likely to prefer international intervention and the setting of international standards.Sociology for UPSC : Socio and Common Sense - Chapter 1 - Paper 1 - Lecture 51
Particularlists will be more comfortable with a tailor-made, home-grown approach than with the imposition of general rules that may or may not fit their needs and context. Specificity and diffuseness also lead to conflict and conflict escalation in many instances. People, who speak in specifics, looking for practical solutions to challenges that can be implemented and measured, may find those who focus on process, feelings, and the big picture obstructionist and frustrating.
On the other hand, those whose starting points are diffuse are more apt to catch the flaw in the sum that is not easy to detect by looking at the component parts, and to see the context into which specific ideas must fit. Inner-directed people tend to feel confident that they can affect change, believing that they are "the masters of their fate, the captains of their souls. Imagine their frustration when faced with outer-directed people, whose attention goes to nurturing relationships, living in harmony with nature, going with the flow, and paying attention to processes rather than products.
As with each of the above sets of starting points, neither is right or wrong; they are simply different. A focus on process is helpful, but not if it completely fails to ignore outcomes. A focus on outcomes is useful, but it is also important to monitor the tone and direction of the process. Cultural fluency means being aware of different sets of starting points, and having a way to speak in both dialects, helping translate between them when they are making conflict worse.
These continua are not absolute, nor do they explain human relations broadly. They are clues to what might be happening when people are in conflict over long periods of time. We are meaning-making creatures, telling stories and creating understandings that preserve our sense of self and relate to our purpose.
As we come to realize this, we can look into the process of meaning making for those in a conflict and find ways to help them make their meaning-making processes and conclusions more apparent to each other.
This can be done by storytelling and by the creation of shared stories, stories that are co-constructed to make room for multiple points of view within them. Often, people in conflict tell stories that sound as though both cannot be true. Narrative conflict-resolution approaches help them leave their concern with truth and being right on the sideline for a time, turning their attention instead to stories in which they can both see themselves.
Managing Conflict Ways of managing conflict also vary across cultures. For those accustomed to subdued, calm discussion, an emotional exchange among family members may seem threatening. However, the family may see their exchange as a normal airing of differing views. Is an event a skirmish, a provocation, an escalation, or a mere trifle? The answer depends on the perspective. In multicultural contexts, parties' expectations of how conflict should be addressed may vary, further escalating an existing situation.
As with communication, different understandings of time, space, nonverbal cues, equality, gender, etc. Everything from when to take breaks during a meeting, to how much eye contact to use can vary according to culture. So too will be the topics and pace of discussions and concessions, what to acknowledge to whom and when, and how to go about identifying or crafting a solution. One common cultural difference is between what is commonly called "high-context" and "low-context" cultures.
These terms refer to the degree to which speakers use nonverbal cues to convey their messages.
High-context cultures communicate with messages that assume a lot--they depend on an understanding of the context of the message in order for the message's meaning to be understood.
Low-context cultures spell everything out in the message itself. They stand alone more easily, without depending on a knowledge of the context. A high-context message of disagreement might be expressed to a spouse by the words chosen or the way they are spoken, even if no disagreement is explicitly voiced. All of us engage in both high-context and low-context communication. There are times we "say what we mean, and mean what we say. At other times, we may infer but not speak.
This is high-context communication. As people communicate, they move between high and low context. It is important to understand whether nonverbal or verbal cues are the most prominent. Without this understanding, those who tend to use high-context starting points may be looking for shades of meaning that are not present, and those who prefer low-context communication may miss important nuances of meaning.
Individualism and communitarianism is a second dimension important to culture and conflict resolution. In communitarian settings, group members are rewarded for allegiance to group values and cooperation.
Individualist patterns involve ideas of the self as self-directed and autonomous.
Culture and Conflict
Children raised in this milieu are rewarded for initiative, personal achievement, and leadership. They may be just as close to their families as a child raised in a communitarian setting, but they may feel more free to make independent choices. Duty, honor, and deference to authority are less prominent for those with individualist starting points than communitarian ones.