Comm 371

dependent upon contexts.

 

2. Diversity of one’s social network predicts the likelihood of cross-cultural dating.

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3. Media images of attractiveness influence to whom we are attracted.

 

III. Intercultural Relationships: There are three communication approaches to the study of intercultural relationships. The social science approach identifies cross-cultural differences in relationships. The interpretive approach explores the in-depth nature of these relationships and the role communication plays in them. The critical approach examines the influences of various contexts in facilitating or discouraging the development and maintenance of intercultural relationships.

 

A. Social Science Approach: Cross-Cultural Differences

 

1. Differences in Notions of Friendship

 

a. Friendships are seen in quite different ways around the globe: Western cultures

 

tend to view friendship as more voluntary, individual-oriented, and spontaneous

 

in contrast to family or work relationships.

 

b. Notions of friendship are related to notions of identity and values.

 

c. In some collectivist cultures such as China, friendships are long-term and

 

involve obligations such as guanxi and mutual economic support in ways that

 

are not seen in a positive light in individualistic cultures.

 

2. Differences in Relational Development

 

a. Cultural differences may come into play at the very beginning stages of

 

relational development.

 

b. There are different cultural rules for how to address strangers relative to the

 

potential that they may or may not become friends.

 

c. Barnlund (1989) and colleagues found many differences in Japanese and U.S.

 

American students’ relational development.

 

d. More recent scholarship has found that the influence of a third culture can

 

complicate the stage model for intercultural friendships, but can also serve as a

 

useful background for building these friendships.

 

3. Friendships: As relationships develop more intimacy in this phase, friends share

 

more personal and private information.

 

a. Lewin (1948) suggests that there are three areas of information we self-disclose.

 

i. The outer boundary includes superficial information about ourselves and our

 

lives.

 

ii. The middle circle includes more personal information-like history, family

 

background.

 

iii.The inner core includes very personal and private information, some of which

 

we never share.

 

b. These areas may correspond with relational phases: i. In the orientation phase, superficial information is shared.

 

ii. In the exploratory phase, personal information is exchanged.

 

iii. In the stability phase, more intimate information is disclosed.

 

c. The most cross-cultural variation in Lewin’s studies was in the degree to which the outer area was more or less permeable.

 

d. What most people in the world consider simply a “friend” is probably what a U.S.

 

American would consider a “close friend.”

 

e. Collier (1996) found comparable differences among racial groups within the

 

United States.

 

i. European American students felt that developing a close friendship took only f

 

few months, whereas other groups felt that it took about a year.

 

ii. There were also differences in what each group thought was important in close

 

friendships: “Latinos emphasized relational support, Asian Americans

 

emphasized a caring, positive exchange of ideas, African Americans

 

emphasized respect and acceptance and Anglo Americans emphasized

 

recognizing the needs of individuals” (p. 315).

 

f. There are also cultural variations in how much nonverbal expression is

 

encouraged.

 

4. Romantic Relationships: Some intimate relationships develop into romantic

 

relationships.

 

a. Cross-cultural studies suggest both similarities and cultural differences in romantic relationships.

 

b. Gao (1991) identified common themes of openness, involvement, shared nonverbal meanings, and relationship assessment between Chinese and U.S. American students.

 

c. Gao also found that the U.S. students emphasized physical attraction, passion, and love, whereas the Chinese students stressed connectedness to families and other relational connections.

 

B. Interpretive Approach: Communicating in Intercultural Relationships

 

Although intracultural and intercultural relationships share some similarities, they have some unique characteristics that can guide our thinking about communicating in these relationships.

 

1. In the research of Sudweeks (1990) and colleagues, several themes emerged as important to intercultural relationships: competence, similarity, involvement, and turning points.

 

a. Language is important and may challenge intercultural relationships even when people speak the same language.

 

b. Although dissimilarity may account for initial attraction, it is important to find similarities in relationships that transcend cultural differences.

 

c. Time has to be made for the relationship.

 

2. Intimacy of interaction is important, and so are shared friendship networks and turning points were important to intercultural friendship development, such as doing favors for each other, self-disclosure, and so on.

 

3. Intercultural Work Relationships: The workplace can be the site of the most diversity (religious, language, ethnicity, race, nationality) for many people.

 

a. Encounters may be face-to-face or mediated.

 

b. Foxhole diversity becomes an issue (the view that one needs to think about the skills and expertise those in the “foxhole” with one really need, not simple those desired).

 

c. The challenge in the workplace is to get along with individuals who are quite different.

 

d. Power is an issue that exists in most work relationships and that must be negotiated.

 

4. Intercultural Relationships Online

 

The increased use of the Internet affords increasing opportunities to form intercultural relationships online, but online communication is both similar and different from real life relationships.

 

a. The lack of nonverbal cues (“line of sight” data, such as gender, age, race, etc.) may serve to facilitate the development of intercultural relationships.

 

b. Physical appearance may not be an initial factor in the development of the online relationships and may become less of an issue, but may enter into the equation at a later time.

 

c. Online relationships, such as those in “Cybertown,” are also similar to real life relationships.

 

d. Language differences can be a factor in the development of online relationships, too.

 

i. Nonnative speakers have more time to construct a message than they might in a face-to-face interaction.

 

ii. Misunderstandings can occur in areas such as humor, irony, sarcasm, and cynicism.

 

iii. Interactions between high-context and low-context individuals might also cause problems online, since there is a lack of nonverbal cues.

 

iv. Interactions between those from high power distance cultures and those from low power distance cultures might also prove to be challenging.

 

5. Intercultural Dating

 

a. Lampe’s (1982) study showed that people gave similar reasons for dating within and outside of their ethnic groups: they were attracted to each other physically and/or sexually.

 

b. The variations occurred in reasons for not dating.

 

i. Reasons given for not dating within one’s group were lack of attraction and so forth.

 

ii. Reasons given for not dating outside of one’s group were no opportunity and never thought about it.

 

c. More recent studies suggest that things have changed since Lampe’s study; according to one study:

 

i. 77% of respondents in one more recent study said it is all right for blacks and

 

whites to date each other.

 

ii. 91% of those surveyed who were born after 1976 said that interracial dating is

 

acceptable.

 

iii. Martin, Bradford, Chitgopekar and Drzewiecka (2003) found, however, that

 

individual dating experiences and societal contexts are closely related.

 

d. The likelihood of dating interculturally is influenced by family attitudes, geographic context, social status, and larger social discourses.

 

6. Permanent Relationships

 

a. There are other factors that do not clearly explain intercultural dating patterns.

 

i. In a recent study of internet personal ads, it was found that Blacks who knew they

 

did not want children were more willing to date other Blacks than were Blacks

 

who were unsure.

 

ii. Blacks in the West were less willing to date other Blacks than were those who

 

lived in other parts of the United States.

 

iii. Black smokers were less willing to date other Blacks.

 

b. In spite of substantial resistance to interethnic and interracial romantic

 

relationships, increasing numbers of people are marrying across ethnic and racial

 

lines.

 

c. Increasing numbers of multiracial people are likely to erode structural barriers to

 

intermarriage.

 

d. Major concerns of intercultural relationships include pressures from family and society and issues around raising children.

 

a. Sometimes these concerns are intertwined.

 

b. People in intercultural marriages tend to have more disagreements about how to raise children and are more likely to encounter opposition and resistance from their families about the marriage.

 

e. Romantic love is also influenced by society, and certain groups have been made to seem as if they are more attractive and acceptable as partners.

 

f. Romano’s interviews of people who had married spouses from other countries identified challenges in these marriages.

 

a. Challenges they shared with intracultural couples were friends, politics, finances, sex, in-laws, illness and suffering, and raising children.

 

b. Challenges that seemed exacerbated in intercultural marriages were values, eating and drinking habits, gender roles, time, religion, place of residence, dealing with stress, and ethnocentrism.

 

g. Romano also found that most intercultural couples have their own systems for working out the power balance in their relationships, which can be categorized into four styles:

 

i. Submission style: The most common style, with one partner submitting to the culture of the other and abandoning or denying his/her own. This model rarely works because people cannot erase their cultural backgrounds.

 

ii. Compromise style: Each partner gives up certain parts of his or her cultural beliefs and norms to accommodate the other.

 

iii. Obliteration style: Both partners deal with the differences by attempting to abandon their own cultures and forming a new third culture with new beliefs. This is difficult because it is hard to be completely cut off from your own cultural background.

 

iv. Consensus style: The most desirable model; it is based on agreement and negotiation. Neither person permanently tries to abandon his/her cultural ways but may temporarily suspend them to adapt to the context. This requires flexibility and negotiation.

 

h. She suggests that couples planning intercultural relationships should prepare carefully for the commitment.

 

7. Gay and Lesbian Relationships: Little information is available about cultural differences in gay relationships.

 

a. Homosexuality has existed in every society and in every era, and Chesbro (1981) suggests that in the majority of cultures outside the United States homosexuality is not considered problematic behavior.

 

b. There are several areas where gay and straight relationships differ: the role of same-sex friendships, the role of cross-sex friendships, and the relative importance of friendships.

 

c. Same-sex friendships may play different roles for gay and straight males in the United States because typically U.S. heterosexual men turn to women for their social support and emotional intimacy.

 

d. Earlier in the United States and in many countries male friendships have often closely paralleled romantic love.

 

e. This also seems to be true for gay men who tend to seek emotional support in same-sex friendships.

 

f. The same pattern does not hold true for women because both gay and heterosexual women seek more intimacy in same-sex friendships.

 

g. Sexuality may play a different role in heterosexual and gay friendships.

 

h. In heterosexual relationships, friendship and sexual involvement sometimes seem mutually exclusive.

 

i. In gay and lesbian relationships, friendships often start with sexual attraction and involvement but last after sexual involvement is terminated.

 

j. There is a clear distinction between “‘lover” and “friend” for both gay men and women.

 

k. Close relationships may play a more important role for gay people than for straight people because of the social discrimination and strained family relationships.

 

l. Many romantic relationship issues are the same for both heterosexual and gay couples; however, some issues (permanent relationships, relational dissolution) are unique to gay and lesbian partners.

 

m. Same-sex relationships, like heterosexual relationships, are very much influenced by the cultural and legal contexts in which they occur.

 

C. Critical Approach: Contextual Influences: It is important to consider intercultural relationships in the contexts in which they emerge.

 

1. Family and Neighborhood Contexts

 

a. We first learn how to respond to those who are different and how to respond in new situations through our family.

 

b. Parents often serve as models for our learning of communication responses.

 

c. Our parents’ social networks and the diversity or lack of diversity is likely to impact whether a child will date interracially or not.

 

d. The diversity of one’s neighborhood is also an influence on whether one has interracial friendships.

 

2. Religious and Educational Contexts

 

a. Institutions play a part in encouraging or discouraging intercultural friendships.

 

b. Recent research suggests that integrated religious institutions and educational institutions provide the best opportunities for intercultural friendships and the best environment for the improvement of attitudes about interracial marriage.

 

c. Having ethnically diverse friendships has a greater influence on interethnic romance than does a generally diverse social environment.

 

3. Historical and Political Contexts

 

a. History is an important context for understanding intercultural interactions and relationships.

 

b. The symbolic and material realm is important to understand culture.

 

c. Power has a direct effect on direction communication takes in intercultural relations.

 

d. There are many examples of how colonial histories have framed relationships.

 

e. The dialectical tensions lie in the social, political, and economic contexts that make some kinds of intercultural relationships possible, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, in the desires and motives of the partners involved.

 

f. Different cultural groups have different demographics, histories, and social concerns and larger structures, such as proximity, need to be studied in understanding interracial marriage.

 

· Item

 

Chapter 11 Extended Outline

 

EXTENDED CHAPTER OUTLINE

 

Conflict is inevitable. Worldwide, conflicts occur at many different levels: interpersonal, social, national, and international. Conflict among cultural groups can escalate into enormous tragedies that reverberate across generations. Three broad, complementary approaches to understanding conflict are the social science approach, which focuses on how cultural differences cause conflict and influence the management of the conflict on the interpersonal level, the interpretive approach, and the critical approach, which both focus more on intergroup relationships, cultural, historical and structural elements as the primary sources of conflict. These three approaches emphasize different aspects of the individual-contextual dialectic. Understanding intercultural conflict seems important because of the relationship between culture and conflict. Cultural differences can cause conflict, and once conflict occurs, cultural backgrounds and experiences influence how individuals deal with conflict. Unfortunately little is known about how to deal effectively with intercultural conflict because most of the research to date in the United States applies exclusively to majority culture members. This chapter reviews this information and identifies what can be applied in intercultural contexts and suggests some new ways to think about conflict.

 

 

 

I. Characteristics of Intercultural Conflict

 

A. The dialectical perspective is useful in thinking about intercultural conflict.

 

1. Intercultural conflicts can be viewed as both individual and cultural.

 

2. They can be seen as both personal and social.

 

3. The history/past-present/future dialectic can also be useful.

 

B. The economic context, the cultural identities and belongingness as well as political and religious contexts can contribute to conflict, as seen in the French riots detailed in the Martin and Nakayama.

 

C. People have varied beliefs on the effectiveness of riots and violence in effective change.

 

D. There may be multiple sources for conflict, such as economic, social, political, and religious sources.

 

E. Ambiguity is a typical characteristic of intercultural conflicts and causes people to resort to their default conflict style, which sometimes exacerbates the conflict.

 

F. Language issues are also significant in intercultural conflict; when you do not know the language well, it is difficult to effectively handle the conflict.

 

G. Different orientations to conflict and conflict management styles also complicate intercultural conflict.

 

II. Two Orientations to Conflict: Conflict should be thought of dialectically.

 

A. Conflict as Opportunity: This view is the one most commonly advocated in U.S. interpersonal communication texts.

 

1. Conflict is defined as involving a perceived or real incompatibility of goals, values, expectations, process, or outcomes between two or more interdependent individuals or groups.

 

2. This perspective is shared by many Western cultural groups, and Augsburger (1992) suggests that it is based on four assumptions:

 

a. Conflict is a normal, useful process.

 

b. All issues are subject to change through negotiation.

 

c. Direct confrontation and conciliation are valued.

 

d. Conflict is a necessary renegotiation of an implied contract, a redistribution of opportunity, a release of tensions, and a renewal of relationships.

 

3. The main idea is that working through conflicts constructively results in stronger, healthier, and more satisfying relationships.

 

4. Some of the benefits for groups who work through conflicts are:

 

a. Gaining new information about people or other groups.

 

b. Diffusing more serious conflict.

 

c. Increasing cohesiveness.

 

5. Individuals should be encouraged to think of creative, even far-reaching solutions to conflict resolution.

 

6. The most desirable conflict response is to recognize and work through it in an open, productive way.

 

7. Relationships without conflict may mean that partners are not resolving issues that need to be dealt with.

 

8. Conflict is a renegotiation of contract, so it is worthy of celebration.

 

B. Conflict as Destructive: Many cultural groups view conflict as ultimately unproductive for relationships, sometimes related to spiritual and/or cultural values (for example, many Asian cultures, Quakers, Amish).

 

1. Augsburger (1992) notes that this approach has four assumptions:

 

a. Conflict is a destructive disturbance of the peace.

 

b. The social system should not be adjusted to the needs of members; rather, members should adapt to established values.

 

c. Confrontations are destructive and ineffective.

 

d. Disputants should be disciplined.

 

2. The Amish, for example, see conflict not as an opportunity for personal growth but as certain destruction of their interpersonal and community harmony.

 

a. When conflict does arise, the strong spiritual value of pacifism dictates a nonresistant response-often avoidance.

 

b. This nonresistant stance prohibits the use of force in human relations, and legal and personal confrontation is avoided.

 

c. This extends to refusal to participate in military confrontation and in personal and business relations; they would prefer to lose face or money than escalate a conflict.

 

3. Cultural groups that view conflict as destructive often avoid low-level conflict and sometimes seek intervention from a third party, or intermediary.

 

a. Informal intervention: a colleague or friend is asked to intervene.

 

b. Formal intervention: professional help is used to intervene (for example, lawyers, real estate agents, counselors/therapists).

 

4. Discipline is seen as a means for censuring conflict.

 

5. The approach does not suggest the absence of conflict and is not just an objection to fighting but is a difficult (possibly risky) orientation to interpersonal relationships.

 

6. The “peacemaking” approach:

 

a. Strongly values the other person and encourages his or her growth.

 

b. Attempts to de-escalate or keep conflicts from escalating once they start.

 

c. Attempts to find creative negotiation to resolve conflicts when they arise.

 

7. Ting-Toomey (1991) suggests that these two orientations are based on different cultural values for identity and face saving.

 

a. The            dependent upon contexts.

 

2. Diversity of one’s social network predicts the likelihood of cross-cultural dating.

 

3. Media images of attractiveness influence to whom we are attracted.

 

III. Intercultural Relationships: There are three communication approaches to the study of intercultural relationships. The social science approach identifies cross-cultural differences in relationships. The interpretive approach explores the in-depth nature of these relationships and the role communication plays in them. The critical approach examines the influences of various contexts in facilitating or discouraging the development and maintenance of intercultural relationships.

 

A. Social Science Approach: Cross-Cultural Differences

 

1. Differences in Notions of Friendship

 

a. Friendships are seen in quite different ways around the globe: Western cultures

 

tend to view friendship as more voluntary, individual-oriented, and spontaneous

 

in contrast to family or work relationships.

 

b. Notions of friendship are related to notions of identity and values.

 

c. In some collectivist cultures such as China, friendships are long-term and

 

involve obligations such as guanxi and mutual economic support in ways that

 

are not seen in a positive light in individualistic cultures.

 

2. Differences in Relational Development

 

a. Cultural differences may come into play at the very beginning stages of

 

relational development.

 

b. There are different cultural rules for how to address strangers relative to the

 

potential that they may or may not become friends.

 

c. Barnlund (1989) and colleagues found many differences in Japanese and U.S.

 

American students’ relational development.

 

d. More recent scholarship has found that the influence of a third culture can

 

complicate the stage model for intercultural friendships, but can also serve as a

 

useful background for building these friendships.

 

3. Friendships: As relationships develop more intimacy in this phase, friends share

 

more personal and private information.

 

a. Lewin (1948) suggests that there are three areas of information we self-disclose.

 

i. The outer boundary includes superficial information about ourselves and our

 

lives.

 

ii. The middle circle includes more personal information-like history, family

 

background.

 

iii.The inner core includes very personal and private information, some of which

 

we never share.

 

b. These areas may correspond with relational phases: i. In the orientation phase, superficial information is shared.

 

ii. In the exploratory phase, personal information is exchanged.

 

iii. In the stability phase, more intimate information is disclosed.

 

c. The most cross-cultural variation in Lewin’s studies was in the degree to which the outer area was more or less permeable.

 

d. What most people in the world consider simply a “friend” is probably what a U.S.

 

American would consider a “close friend.”

 

e. Collier (1996) found comparable differences among racial groups within the

 

United States.

 

i. European American students felt that developing a close friendship took only f

 

few months, whereas other groups felt that it took about a year.

 

ii. There were also differences in what each group thought was important in close

 

friendships: “Latinos emphasized relational support, Asian Americans

 

emphasized a caring, positive exchange of ideas, African Americans

 

emphasized respect and acceptance and Anglo Americans emphasized

 

recognizing the needs of individuals” (p. 315).

 

f. There are also cultural variations in how much nonverbal expression is

 

encouraged.

 

4. Romantic Relationships: Some intimate relationships develop into romantic

 

relationships.

 

a. Cross-cultural studies suggest both similarities and cultural differences in romantic relationships.

 

b. Gao (1991) identified common themes of openness, involvement, shared nonverbal meanings, and relationship assessment between Chinese and U.S. American students.

 

c. Gao also found that the U.S. students emphasized physical attraction, passion, and love, whereas the Chinese students stressed connectedness to families and other relational connections.

 

B. Interpretive Approach: Communicating in Intercultural Relationships

 

Although intracultural and intercultural relationships share some similarities, they have some unique characteristics that can guide our thinking about communicating in these relationships.

 

1. In the research of Sudweeks (1990) and colleagues, several themes emerged as important to intercultural relationships: competence, similarity, involvement, and turning points.

 

a. Language is important and may challenge intercultural relationships even when people speak the same language.

 

b. Although dissimilarity may account for initial attraction, it is important to find similarities in relationships that transcend cultural differences.

 

c. Time has to be made for the relationship.

 

2. Intimacy of interaction is important, and so are shared friendship networks and turning points were important to intercultural friendship development, such as doing favors for each other, self-disclosure, and so on.

 

3. Intercultural Work Relationships: The workplace can be the site of the most diversity (religious, language, ethnicity, race, nationality) for many people.

 

a. Encounters may be face-to-face or mediated.

 

b. Foxhole diversity becomes an issue (the view that one needs to think about the skills and expertise those in the “foxhole” with one really need, not simple those desired).

 

c. The challenge in the workplace is to get along with individuals who are quite different.

 

d. Power is an issue that exists in most work relationships and that must be negotiated.

 

4. Intercultural Relationships Online

 

The increased use of the Internet affords increasing opportunities to form intercultural relationships online, but online communication is both similar and different from real life relationships.

 

a. The lack of nonverbal cues (“line of sight” data, such as gender, age, race, etc.) may serve to facilitate the development of intercultural relationships.

 

b. Physical appearance may not be an initial factor in the development of the online relationships and may become less of an issue, but may enter into the equation at a later time.

 

c. Online relationships, such as those in “Cybertown,” are also similar to real life relationships.

 

d. Language differences can be a factor in the development of online relationships, too.

 

i. Nonnative speakers have more time to construct a message than they might in a face-to-face interaction.

 

ii. Misunderstandings can occur in areas such as humor, irony, sarcasm, and cynicism.

 

iii. Interactions between high-context and low-context individuals might also cause problems online, since there is a lack of nonverbal cues.

 

iv. Interactions between those from high power distance cultures and those from low power distance cultures might also prove to be challenging.

 

5. Intercultural Dating

 

a. Lampe’s (1982) study showed that people gave similar reasons for dating within and outside of their ethnic groups: they were attracted to each other physically and/or sexually.

 

b. The variations occurred in reasons for not dating.

 

i. Reasons given for not dating within one’s group were lack of attraction and so forth.

 

ii. Reasons given for not dating outside of one’s group were no opportunity and never thought about it.

 

c. More recent studies suggest that things have changed since Lampe’s study; according to one study:

 

i. 77% of respondents in one more recent study said it is all right for blacks and

 

whites to date each other.

 

ii. 91% of those surveyed who were born after 1976 said that interracial dating is

 

acceptable.

 

iii. Martin, Bradford, Chitgopekar and Drzewiecka (2003) found, however, that

 

individual dating experiences and societal contexts are closely related.

 

d. The likelihood of dating interculturally is influenced by family attitudes, geographic context, social status, and larger social discourses.

 

6. Permanent Relationships

 

a. There are other factors that do not clearly explain intercultural dating patterns.

 

i. In a recent study of internet personal ads, it was found that Blacks who knew they

 

did not want children were more willing to date other Blacks than were Blacks

 

who were unsure.

 

ii. Blacks in the West were less willing to date other Blacks than were those who

 

lived in other parts of the United States.

 

iii. Black smokers were less willing to date other Blacks.

 

b. In spite of substantial resistance to interethnic and interracial romantic

 

relationships, increasing numbers of people are marrying across ethnic and racial

 

lines.

 

c. Increasing numbers of multiracial people are likely to erode structural barriers to

 

intermarriage.

 

d. Major concerns of intercultural relationships include pressures from family and society and issues around raising children.

 

a. Sometimes these concerns are intertwined.

 

b. People in intercultural marriages tend to have more disagreements about how to raise children and are more likely to encounter opposition and resistance from their families about the marriage.

 

e. Romantic love is also influenced by society, and certain groups have been made to seem as if they are more attractive and acceptable as partners.

 

f. Romano’s interviews of people who had married spouses from other countries identified challenges in these marriages.

 

a. Challenges they shared with intracultural couples were friends, politics, finances, sex, in-laws, illness and suffering, and raising children.

 

b. Challenges that seemed exacerbated in intercultural marriages were values, eating and drinking habits, gender roles, time, religion, place of residence, dealing with stress, and ethnocentrism.

 

g. Romano also found that most intercultural couples have their own systems for working out the power balance in their relationships, which can be categorized into four styles:

 

i. Submission style: The most common style, with one partner submitting to the culture of the other and abandoning or denying his/her own. This model rarely works because people cannot erase their cultural backgrounds.

 

ii. Compromise style: Each partner gives up certain parts of his or her cultural beliefs and norms to accommodate the other.

 

iii. Obliteration style: Both partners deal with the differences by attempting to abandon their own cultures and forming a new third culture with new beliefs. This is difficult because it is hard to be completely cut off from your own cultural background.

 

iv. Consensus style: The most desirable model; it is based on agreement and negotiation. Neither person permanently tries to abandon his/her cultural ways but may temporarily suspend them to adapt to the context. This requires flexibility and negotiation.

 

h. She suggests that couples planning intercultural relationships should prepare carefully for the commitment.

 

7. Gay and Lesbian Relationships: Little information is available about cultural differences in gay relationships.

 

a. Homosexuality has existed in every society and in every era, and Chesbro (1981) suggests that in the majority of cultures outside the United States homosexuality is not considered problematic behavior.

 

b. There are several areas where gay and straight relationships differ: the role of same-sex friendships, the role of cross-sex friendships, and the relative importance of friendships.

 

c. Same-sex friendships may play different roles for gay and straight males in the United States because typically U.S. heterosexual men turn to women for their social support and emotional intimacy.

 

d. Earlier in the United States and in many countries male friendships have often closely paralleled romantic love.

 

e. This also seems to be true for gay men who tend to seek emotional support in same-sex friendships.

 

f. The same pattern does not hold true for women because both gay and heterosexual women seek more intimacy in same-sex friendships.

 

g. Sexuality may play a different role in heterosexual and gay friendships.

 

h. In heterosexual relationships, friendship and sexual involvement sometimes seem mutually exclusive.

 

i. In gay and lesbian relationships, friendships often start with sexual attraction and involvement but last after sexual involvement is terminated.

 

j. There is a clear distinction between “‘lover” and “friend” for both gay men and women.

 

k. Close relationships may play a more important role for gay people than for straight people because of the social discrimination and strained family relationships.

 

l. Many romantic relationship issues are the same for both heterosexual and gay couples; however, some issues (permanent relationships, relational dissolution) are unique to gay and lesbian partners.

 

m. Same-sex relationships, like heterosexual relationships, are very much influenced by the cultural and legal contexts in which they occur.

 

C. Critical Approach: Contextual Influences: It is important to consider intercultural relationships in the contexts in which they emerge.

 

1. Family and Neighborhood Contexts

 

a. We first learn how to respond to those who are different and how to respond in new situations through our family.

 

b. Parents often serve as models for our learning of communication responses.

 

c. Our parents’ social networks and the diversity or lack of diversity is likely to impact whether a child will date interracially or not.

 

d. The diversity of one’s neighborhood is also an influence on whether one has interracial friendships.

 

2. Religious and Educational Contexts

 

a. Institutions play a part in encouraging or discouraging intercultural friendships.

 

b. Recent research suggests that integrated religious institutions and educational institutions provide the best opportunities for intercultural friendships and the best environment for the improvement of attitudes about interracial marriage.

 

c. Having ethnically diverse friendships has a greater influence on interethnic romance than does a generally diverse social environment.

 

3. Historical and Political Contexts

 

a. History is an important context for understanding intercultural interactions and relationships.

 

b. The symbolic and material realm is important to understand culture.

 

c. Power has a direct effect on direction communication takes in intercultural relations.

 

d. There are many examples of how colonial histories have framed relationships.

 

e. The dialectical tensions lie in the social, political, and economic contexts that make some kinds of intercultural relationships possible, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, in the desires and motives of the partners involved.

 

f. Different cultural groups have different demographics, histories, and social concerns and larger structures, such as proximity, need to be studied in understanding interracial marriage.

 

· Item

 

Chapter 11 Extended Outline

 

EXTENDED CHAPTER OUTLINE

 

Conflict is inevitable. Worldwide, conflicts occur at many different levels: interpersonal, social, national, and international. Conflict among cultural groups can escalate into enormous tragedies that reverberate across generations. Three broad, complementary approaches to understanding conflict are the social science approach, which focuses on how cultural differences cause conflict and influence the management of the conflict on the interpersonal level, the interpretive approach, and the critical approach, which both focus more on intergroup relationships, cultural, historical and structural elements as the primary sources of conflict. These three approaches emphasize different aspects of the individual-contextual dialectic. Understanding intercultural conflict seems important because of the relationship between culture and conflict. Cultural differences can cause conflict, and once conflict occurs, cultural backgrounds and experiences influence how individuals deal with conflict. Unfortunately little is known about how to deal effectively with intercultural conflict because most of the research to date in the United States applies exclusively to majority culture members. This chapter reviews this information and identifies what can be applied in intercultural contexts and suggests some new ways to think about conflict.

 

 

 

I. Characteristics of Intercultural Conflict

 

A. The dialectical perspective is useful in thinking about intercultural conflict.

 

1. Intercultural conflicts can be viewed as both individual and cultural.

 

2. They can be seen as both personal and social.

 

3. The history/past-present/future dialectic can also be useful.

 

B. The economic context, the cultural identities and belongingness as well as political and religious contexts can contribute to conflict, as seen in the French riots detailed in the Martin and Nakayama.

 

C. People have varied beliefs on the effectiveness of riots and violence in effective change.

 

D. There may be multiple sources for conflict, such as economic, social, political, and religious sources.

 

E. Ambiguity is a typical characteristic of intercultural conflicts and causes people to resort to their default conflict style, which sometimes exacerbates the conflict.

 

F. Language issues are also significant in intercultural conflict; when you do not know the language well, it is difficult to effectively handle the conflict.

 

G. Different orientations to conflict and conflict management styles also complicate intercultural conflict.

 

II. Two Orientations to Conflict: Conflict should be thought of dialectically.

 

A. Conflict as Opportunity: This view is the one most commonly advocated in U.S. interpersonal communication texts.

 

1. Conflict is defined as involving a perceived or real incompatibility of goals, values, expectations, process, or outcomes between two or more interdependent individuals or groups.

 

2. This perspective is shared by many Western cultural groups, and Augsburger (1992) suggests that it is based on four assumptions:

 

a. Conflict is a normal, useful process.

 

b. All issues are subject to change through negotiation.

 

c. Direct confrontation and conciliation are valued.

 

d. Conflict is a necessary renegotiation of an implied contract, a redistribution of opportunity, a release of tensions, and a renewal of relationships.

 

3. The main idea is that working through conflicts constructively results in stronger, healthier, and more satisfying relationships.

 

4. Some of the benefits for groups who work through conflicts are:

 

a. Gaining new information about people or other groups.

 

b. Diffusing more serious conflict.

 

c. Increasing cohesiveness.

 

5. Individuals should be encouraged to think of creative, even far-reaching solutions to conflict resolution.

 

6. The most desirable conflict response is to recognize and work through it in an open, productive way.

 

7. Relationships without conflict may mean that partners are not resolving issues that need to be dealt with.

 

8. Conflict is a renegotiation of contract, so it is worthy of celebration.

 

B. Conflict as Destructive: Many cultural groups view conflict as ultimately unproductive for relationships, sometimes related to spiritual and/or cultural values (for example, many Asian cultures, Quakers, Amish).

 

1. Augsburger (1992) notes that this approach has four assumptions:

 

a. Conflict is a destructive disturbance of the peace.

 

b. The social system should not be adjusted to the needs of members; rather, members should adapt to established values.

 

c. Confrontations are destructive and ineffective.

 

d. Disputants should be disciplined.

 

2. The Amish, for example, see conflict not as an opportunity for personal growth but as certain destruction of their interpersonal and community harmony.

 

a. When conflict does arise, the strong spiritual value of pacifism dictates a nonresistant response-often avoidance.

 

b. This nonresistant stance prohibits the use of force in human relations, and legal and personal confrontation is avoided.

 

c. This extends to refusal to participate in military confrontation and in personal and business relations; they would prefer to lose face or money than escalate a conflict.

 

3. Cultural groups that view conflict as destructive often avoid low-level conflict and sometimes seek intervention from a third party, or intermediary.

 

a. Informal intervention: a colleague or friend is asked to intervene.

 

b. Formal intervention: professional help is used to intervene (for example, lawyers, real estate agents, counselors/therapists).

 

4. Discipline is seen as a means for censuring conflict.

 

5. The approach does not suggest the absence of conflict and is not just an objection to fighting but is a difficult (possibly risky) orientation to interpersonal relationships.

 

6. The “peacemaking” approach:

 

a. Strongly values the other person and encourages his or her growth.

 

b. Attempts to de-escalate or keep conflicts from escalating once they start.

 

c. Attempts to find creative negotiation to resolve conflicts when they arise.

 

7. Ting-Toomey (1991) suggests that these two orientations are based on different cultural values for identity and face saving.

 

a. The conflict as opportunity orientation stems from a concern for saving individual dignity.

 

b. The conflict as destructive orientation stems from a value for maintaining harmony in interpersonal relationships and saving the dignity of others.

 

C. Cultural Differences in Conflict Views: A Dialectical Perspective. Cultural variation in appcimmcomm roaches to conflict seems to result from structural, individual, and interpersonal characteristics. Thinking dialectically, one can see that there is no single approach to conflict that is appropriate to all situations, and the best solution may be found at some middle ground.

 

2. as opportunity orientation stems from a concern for saving individual dignity.

 

b. The conflict as destructive orientation stems from a value for maintaining harmony in interpersonal relationships and saving the dignity of others.

 

C. Cultural Differences in Conflict Views: A Dialectical Perspective. Cultural variation in approaches to conflict seems to result from structural, individual, and interpersonal characteristics. Thinking dialectically, one can see that there is no single approach to conflict that is appropriate to all situations, and the best solution may be found at some middle ground.

 

2.

 
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