Understanding
Global Cultures
Cultural Metaphors
http://www.d.umn.edu/cla/faculty/troufs/anth1095/index.html#text
Cultural Metaphors
Unit of analysis
= the nation or national culture
 “national character studies”
 The Chrysanthemum and the Sword – Ruth Benedict
Cultural Metaphors
Other “units of analysis” may
include:
one person (e.g., Paul Buffalo)
 “life histories”
Paul Buffalo
Meditating
Medicine
http://www.d.umn.edu/cla/faculty/troufs/Buffalo/Intro-Temp2.html
Sharon Gmelch
Nan: The Life of an Irish Traveling Woman, Revised Edition.
Long Grove: IL: Waveland Press, 1991.
(ISBN: 0881336025)
http://www.d.umn.edu/cla/faculty/troufs/anth3635/cetexts.html#Nan
Cultural Metaphors
Other “units of analysis” may
include:
one person (e.g., Paul Buffalo)
the family (e.g., Strodtbeck, see later)
the community
a region (“culture area”)
•
•
•
•
•
•
Mesoamerica
The Northwest Coast (of North America)
The Upper Midwest
The Mideast
“Sub-Saharan Africa”
Aran Islands
John C. Messenger
Inis Beag: Isle of Ireland.
Long Grove: IL: Waveland Press, 1983.
(ISBN: 0881330515)
http://www.d.umn.edu/cla/faculty/troufs/anth3635/cetexts.html#InisBeag
Cultural Metaphors
Other “units of analysis” may
include:
one person (e.g., Paul Buffalo)
the family (e.g., Strodtbeck, see later)
the community
a region (“culture area”)
a culture
•
•
•
•
“Irish”
“Chinese”
“Mexicans”
“Bedouins”
Cultural Metaphors
but cultural metaphors can be
derived for ethnic groups
within and across nations
e.g., Anishinabe (Chippewa; Ojibwa)
e.g., Rom (Gypsies)
e.g., Irish “Travellers”
• sometimes incorrectly called “Gypsies”
e.g., Kurds
e.g., Basques
Mark Kurlansky
The Basque History of the World.
NY: Penguin Books, 1999.
(ISBN: 0140298517)
http://www.d.umn.edu/cla/faculty/troufs/anth3635/cetexts.html#BasqueHistory
Cultural Metaphors
Unit of analysis = the nation or
national culture
applies to a group, but not to every
individual within it
Cultural Metaphors
Unit of analysis = the nation or
national culture
because a good amount of evidence
suggests that there are commonalities
across regional, racial, and ethnic
groups within each of them that can
be captured effectively by cultural
metaphors
Cultural Metaphors
Unit of analysis = the nation or
national culture
Understanding Global Cultures
contains 28 metaphors
there are approximately 200 nations in
the world
• 193 according to The Times World Atlas
(2004)
Communication
Ken Livingston, mayor of
London England, indicated
that there were over 300
languages spoken in London.
(Following the terrorist attack of July 2005)
Communication
How many languages
are spoken in
St. Paul Minnesota ?
Culture Counts
and it counts quit a bit
Constructing Cultural Metaphors
Florence Kluckholn and Fred
Strodtbeck
Edward T. Hall
Geert Hofstede
Cultural Metaphors include, in
addition, the items on p. 11 . . .
Cultural Metaphors include . . .
religion
early socialization and family structure
small group behavior
public behavior
leisure pursuits and interests
Cultural Metaphors include . . .
total Lifestyle
work / leisure / home and time allocations to
each of them
aural space
the degree to which members of a society react
negatively to high noise levels
roles and status of different members of a
society
Cultural Metaphors include . . .
holidays and ceremonies
greeting behavior
humor
Cultural Metaphors include . . .
language
oral and written communication
Cultural Metaphors include . . .
nonoral communication
body language
• kinesics (motion)
• proxemics (space)
Cultural Metaphors include . . .
sports
as a reflection of cultural values
political structure of a society
the educational system of a society
Cultural Metaphors include . . .
traditions and the degree to which the
established order is emphasized
history of a society
but only as it reflects cultural mind-sets, or the
manner in which its members think, feel, and
act
not a detailed history
Cultural Metaphors include . . .
food and eating behavior
Cultural Metaphors include . . .
social class structure
rate of technological and cultural change
organization of and perspective on work
such as a society’s commitment to the work
ethic, superior-subordinate relationships, and
so on
any other categories that are appropriate
A Four-Stage Model of CrossCultural Understanding
I.
four-cell typology of process / goal orientation
II.
more specificity
III. inclusion of other “etic” of culture-general
dimensions along which specific cultures have
been shown to vary
IV. cultural metaphors are employed for
understanding a culture
they build on the “etic” understanding provided by
the approaches used in the first three stages
Emics / Etics
emics
 from “phonemics”
 viewing a culture from the inside
etics
 from “phonetics”
 viewing a culture from the outside
More on the “emics” and “etics” later
“Four-Stage Model”
One variable of the
“Four-Stage Model” is the degree to
which process such as effective
communication and getting to know
one another in depth should precede
discussion of specific goals
“Four-Stage Model”
Another variable of the
“Four-Stage Model” is the degree to
which a culture fosters and
encourages open emotional
expression
Fig. 1.1. Process, Goals, and Expression of Emotions
(p. 12)
Open Expression of Emotions and Feelings
Lower
Degree to
Which
Process Must
Be
Emphasized
Before Goals
Can Be
discussed
Lower
Higher
England,
Ireland, and
Scotland
China,
Japan, and
India
Higher
United States and
Germany
Mexico, Spain, and
Italy
More on the “Four-Stage Model” later
Cultural Metaphors
“Metaphors
are not stereotypes”
– Martin J. Gannon
Why?
Geert Hofstede (1991)
IBM study demonstrated that
national culture explained 50% of
the differences in attitudes in IBM’s
53 countries
“Given such studies, it seems that
culture influences between 25%
and 50% of our attitudes, whereas
other aspects of workforce
diversity, such as social class,
ethnicity, race, sex, and age,
account for the remainder of these
attitudinal differences.”
“Frequently, when a foreigner
violates a key cultural value, he or
she is not even aware of the
violation, and no one brings the
matter to his or her attention.”
once a visitor makes a major mistake it is
frequently impossible to rectify it
and it may well take several months to
realize that polite rejections really signify
isolation and banishment
“Even genuinely small cultural
mistakes can have enormous
consequences.”
“. . . Knowing a country’s language,
although clearly helpful, is no
guarantee of understanding its
cultural mindset, and some of the
most difficult problems have been
created by individuals who have a
high level of fluency but a low level
of cultural understanding.”
“Moreover, members of a culture
tend to assume that highly fluent
visitors know the customs and rules
of behavior, and these visitors are
judged severely when violations
occur.”
Cultural Metaphors
Understanding Global Cultures
describes a method for
understanding easily and quickly
the cultural mind-set of a nation
and comparing it to other nations
Cultural Metaphors
In essence the cultural metaphor
involves identifying some
phenomenon, activity, or institution
of a nation’s culture that all or most
of its members consider to be very
important and with which they
identify closely
the characteristics of the metaphor
then become the basis for describing
and understanding the essential
features of the society
Cultural Metaphors
each metaphor is a guide or map
that helps the foreigner understand
quickly what members of a society
consider very important
but it is only a starting point against
which we can compare our own
experiences and through which we can
start to understand the seeming
contradictions pervasive in most, if not
all, societies
Cultural Metaphors
book describes a dominant, and
perhaps the dominant, metaphor
for each society
but other metaphors may also be
suitable
Constructing Cultural Metaphors
Florence Kluckholn and Fred
Strodtbeck
Edward T. Hall
Geert Hofstede
Plus items on p. 11 . . .
Constructing Cultural Metaphors
Florence Kluckholn and Fred
Strodtbeck
note that each society has a dominant
cultural orientation that can be described in
terms of six dimensions
Florence Kluckholn and Fred Strodtbeck
1. “What do members of a society assume
about the nature of people, that is, are
people good, bad, or a mixture?”
• These kinds of beliefs are sometimes called
“existential postulates”
Florence Kluckholn and Fred Strodtbeck
2. “What do members of a society assume
about the relationship between a person
and nature, that is, should we live in
harmony with it or subjugate it?”
• These kinds of beliefs are sometimes called
“normative postulates”
Florence Kluckholn and Fred Strodtbeck
3. “What do members of a society assume
about the relationship between people,
that is, should a person act in an
individual manner or consider the group
before taking action?”
• individualism vs. collectivism (groupism) in
terms of such issues as making decisions,
conformity, and so forth
Florence Kluckholn and Fred Strodtbeck
4. “What is the primary mode of activity in
a given society, that is, being, or
accepting the status quo, enjoying the
current situation, and going with the
flow of things;
or doing, that is, changing things to
make them better, setting specific goals
and accomplishing them within specific
schedules, and so forth?”
Florence Kluckholn and Fred Strodtbeck
5.
“What is the conception of space in a given
society,
that is, is it considered private, in that meetings
are held in private, people do not get too close
to one another physically, and so on;
or public, that is, having everyone participate in
meetings and decision making, allowing
emotions to be expressed publicly, and having
people stand in close proximity to one another?”
Florence Kluckholn and Fred Strodtbeck
6. “What is the society’s dominant
temporal orientation”
past
present
and / or future?
Constructing Cultural Metaphors
Kluckholn and Strodtbeck note that
each society has a dominant
cultural orientation that can be
described in terms of these six
dimensions
but that other, weaker orientations
may also exist simultaneously in its
different geographical regions and
racial and ethnic groups
Constructing Cultural Metaphors
Florence Kluckholn and Fred
Strodtbeck
Edward T. Hall
made many discoveries in how people
learn language
analyzed the levels of learning
Edward T. Hall
1. “Context,
or the amount of information that must
be explicitly stated if a message or
communication is to be successful”
Edward T. Hall
2. “Space,
or the ways of communicating through
specific handling of personal space”
e.g., North Americans tend to keep more
space between them while communicating
than do South Americans
Edward T. Hall
3. Time, which is either
monochronic
(scheduling and completing one activity at a
time)
or polychronic
(not distinguishing between activities and
completing them simultaneously –
“multitasking”)
Edward T. Hall
4. “Information flow,
which is the structure and speed of
messages between individuals and / or
organizations”
Constructing Cultural Metaphors
Florence Kluckholn and Fred
Strodtbeck
Edward T. Hall
Geert Hofstede
Geert Hofstede
prominent organizational
psychologist
research is based on a large
questionnaire survey of IBM
employees and managers working in
53 different countries
especially significant because the
type of organization is held constant
Geert Hofstede
1. Power distance
or the degree to which members of a
society automatically accept a
hierarchical or unequal distribution of
power in organizations and the society
Geert Hofstede
2. Uncertainty avoidance
or the degree to which members of a
given society deal with the uncertainty
and risk of everyday life and prefer to
work with long-term acquaintances and
friends rather than with strangers
Geert Hofstede
3. Individualism
or the degree to which an individual
perceives him- or her-self to be
separate from a group and free from
group pressure to conform
Geert Hofstede
4. Masculinity
or the degree to which a society looks
favorably on aggressive and
materialistic behavior
Geert Hofstede
5. Time horizon
(short term to long term)
or the degree to which members of a
culture are willing to defer present
gratification in order to achieve longterm goals
The “three-dimensional approaches”
developed by Kluckholn and Strodtbeck,
Hall, and Hofstende
leave out many features of the cultural mindsets that are activated in daily cultural activities
neglect the institutions molding these mind-sets
are instructive, but are “somewhat lifeless and
narrow”
leave out many facets of behavior
Constructing Cultural Metaphors
Florence Kluckholn and Fred
Strodtbeck
Edward T. Hall
Geert Hofstede
Cultural Metaphors include, in
addition, the items on p. 11 . . .
Text:
http://www.d.umn.edu/cla/faculty/troufs/anth1095/index.html#text
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