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.