Communication and
Culture
John A. Cagle
What is culture?

Sir Edward Tylor’s definition in 1871 (first use
of this term):
“that complex whole which includes knowledge,
belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other
capabilities and habits acquired by man as a
member of society”

Kroeber and Kluckhohn (1952)
Culture consists of patterns, explicit and implicit,
of and for behavior acquired and transmitted by
symbols, constituting the distinctive achievement
of human groups, including their embodiment in
artifacts; the essential core of culture consists of
traditional (i.e. historically derived and selected)
ideas and especially their attached values; culture
systems may, on the one hand, be considered as
products of action, on the other as conditioning
elements of further action.
John Bodley (1994): Diverse Definitions
Topical:
Culture consists of everything on a list of topics, or categories, such as
social organization, religion, or economy
Historical:
Culture is social heritage, or tradition, that is passed on to future
generations
Behavioral:
Culture is shared, learned human behavior, a way of life
Normative:
Culture is ideals, values, or rules for living
Functional:
Culture is the way humans solve problems of adapting to the
environment or living together
Mental:
Culture is a complex of ideas, or learned habits, that inhibit impulses
and distinguish people from animals
Structural:
Culture consists of patterned and interrelated ideas, symbols, or
behaviors
Symbolic:
Culture is based on arbitrarily assigned meanings that are shared by a
society
Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis

Sapir (1921): “Human beings do not live in the
objective world alone, nor alone in the world of
social activity as ordinarily understood, but are
very much at the mercy of the particular
language which has become the medium of
expression in that society.”
As a result of differences in language,
people in different cultures will think
about, perceive, and behave toward the
world differently.
 Reality itself is already embedded in
language and therefore comes preformed.
 Language determines, enabling and
constraining, what is perceived and
attended to in a culture, as well as the
upper limits of knowledge.

Cross-cultural Values
Americans










Freedom
Independence
Self-reliance
Equality
Individualism
Competition
Efficiency
Time
Directness
Openness
Japanese










Belonging
Group harmony
Collectiveness
Age/seniority
Group consciousness
Cooperation
Quality
Patience
Indirectness
Elashmawi &
Harris 1993
Go-between
Edward T. Hall's Model
High-context cultures
 Long-lasting
relationships
 Exploiting context
 Spoken agreements
 Insiders and outsiders
clearly distinguished
 Cultural patterns
ingrained, slow change





Low-context cultures
Shorter relationships
Less dependent on
context
Written agreements
Insiders and outsiders
less clearly distinguished
Cultural patterns change
faster
Cultural Classification--Hall

Low-Context Cultures - What Is Said Is More
Important Than How or Where It Is Said



U.S.
Germany
High-Context cultures - What Is Said and How or
Where It is Said Are Significant



Asia
Latin America
Middle East
Low-context in business
Business
before friendship
Credibility through expertise &
performance
Agreements by legal contract
Negotiations efficient
High-context in business
No
business without
friendship
Credibility through
relationships
Agreements founded on trust
Negotiations slow & ritualistic
High and Low Context Cultures
Factors /
Dimensions
High
Context
Low
Context
Lawyers
Less important
Very important
A person’s word
Is his or her bond
Get it in writing
Responsibility for
organizational error
Taken by
top level
Pushed to
lowest level
Negotiations
Lengthy
Proceed quickly
Examples:
Japan
Middle East
U.S.A.
Northern Europe
Basil Bernstein (1971)


Bernstein was interested in social class and the
ways in which the class system creates different
types of language and is maintained by language.
Relationships in a social group affect the type of
speech used by the group. The structure of
speech makes different things relevant or
significant.
Language codes


Elaborated codes provide a wide range of
different ways to say something. These allow
speakers to make their ideas and intentions
explicit.
Restricted codes have a narrow range of
options, and it is easier to predict what form
they will take.
Codes and Social Class

Bernstein says members of the middle class use
both types of code systems, whereas members
of the working class are less likely to use
elaborated codes.
Frederick Williams: Poverty Cycle




In dealing with the language of the poverty child, are we dealing
with language which is deficient or with language that is
different?
As the war on poverty has continued in the U.S., it has become
highly evident that the boundaries of poverty are often
subcultural ones.
Individuals in a poverty group can be identified by their common
socioeconomic problems, and these in turn are typically
associated with an equally common range of sociocultural
features - ways of life, education, attitudes, desires, and above all,
language and the ways of using it.
Much of the attention given to sociocultural aspects of poverty
can be seen in the kinds of cause and cures for poverty which
are often linked as part of an overall poverty cycle.
Everett Rogers (1962):
Diffusion of Innovations



Rogers began developing a practical theory to
increase the rate of diffusion and acceptance of
agricultural innovations in underdeveloped
countries.
Diffusion of Innovations was first published in
1962.
Rogers’ theory is now widely accepted and used
in many contexts—business, government,
technology, family planning, medicine, etc.
Diffusion in “Real World”
Joseph P. Bailey, “The Retail Sector and the Internet
Economy,” http://economy.berkeley.edu/conferences/9-2000/ECconference2000_papers/bailey.pdf
Innovations


Diffusion is the process by which an innovation
is communicated through certain channels over
time among the members of a social system.
This definition establishes that diffusion consists
of four main elements:
(1) the innovation
(2) the communication channels
(3) time and
(4) the social system.

The stages through which a technological
innovation passes are:
knowledge (exposure to its existence, and
understanding of its functions);
 persuasion (the forming of a favourable attitude to
it);
 decision (commitment to its adoption);
 implementation (putting it to use); and
 confirmation (reinforcement based on positive
outcomes from it).


Important characteristics of an innovation
include:
relative advantage (the degree to which it is
perceived to be better than what it supersedes);
 compatibility (consistency with existing values, past
experiences and needs);
 complexity (difficulty of understanding and use);
 trialability (the degree to which itcan be
experimented with on a limited basis);
 observability (the visibility of its results).


Different adopter categories are identified as:
innovators (venturesome) – 1-3%
 early adopters (respectable) – 13%
 early majority (deliberate) – 34%
 late majority (skeptical) – 34%
 laggards (traditional) – 16%

Consumer
Innovators
2.5%
Early
Adopters
13.5%
Early
Majority
34%
Late
Majority
34%
Laggards
16%
100%
Innovation 1
Laggards
Percent
of
adoption
Late majority
Early majority
Early adopters
0%
Innovators
Time
Innovation 2
Innovation 3
Del Hymes (1966)
1. What are the communicative events,
and their components, in a community?
2. What are the relationships among
them?
3. What capabilities and states do they
have, in general, and in particular
events?
4. How do they work?
The concept of a message is taken as
implying the sharing (real or imputed) of a
code (or codes) in terms of which a message
is intelligible to participants, minimally an
addressor and addressee, in an event
constituted by transmission of the message,
and characterized by a channel, a setting or
context, a definite form or shape in the
message, and a topic or comment.
The purposes, conscious and unconscious, the functions,
intended and unintended, perceived and unperceived, of
communicative events for their participants are here treated
as questions of the states in which they engage in them, and
of the norms by which they judge them.
FOCUS ON THE ADDRESSOR entails such expressive
or emotive functions as identification of the source,
expression of attitude toward one or another component or
the situation as a whole, thinking aloud, etc.
FOCUS ON THE ADDRESSEE entails such directive or
conative functions as identification of the destination, and
the ways in which the events and message may be
governed by anticipation of the attitude of the destination.
RHETORIC, PERSUASION, APPEAL, and DIRECTION
enter here.
FOCUS ON CHANNELS entails such phatic functions
as have to do with the maintenance of contact and
control of noise, both physical and psychological.
FOCUS ON CODES entails such functions as are
involved in learning, analysis, devising of writing
systems, checking code in conversation, etc.
FOCUS ON SETTINGS entails all that is considered
contextual, apart from the event itself, verbal and
nonverbal, etc.
FOCUS ON MESSAGE-FORM entails such functions
as proof-reading, mimicry, poetic and stylistic concerns,
etc.
FOCUS ON TOPIC entails such functions as having to
do with reference to objects in the world, to people, to
events, to ideas, etc.--all we usually associate with
content.
FOCUS ON THE EVENT ITSELF entails whatever is
comprised under metacommunicative types of function.
Descargar

Communication and Culture - California State University