Interdependence of People and Cultures in the Global Society of the Twenty-First Century

Interdependence of people and cultures in the global society of the twenty-first century means all citizens of the world must pay greater attention to intercultural communication and the challenges it brings. |
Thesis |
Intercultural communication is the communication between people from different cultures. These groups may be defined by their nationality or by geographical boundaries; by the ethnicity or religion; by their occupation, class status or gender.Inter-cultural communication research has developed through various disciplines namely the behavioural sciences, anthropology and the language sciences. The term "intercultural communication" became prevalent in TESOL only in the 1980s. Interest in the subject grew in the United States of America as a result of the international competitive needs in Post World War 2 international diplomacy and business. In contrast, in the United Kingdom large scale immigration increased the need to better understand intercultural communication issues.At the beginning, research in this field concentrated on how to help diplomats interact better in the foreign countries they were posted to. In 1959, Hall "The Silent Language" studied the "out-of-awareness" aspects of communication - the "paralanguage of pitch, rhythm and intonation", the "silent language" of gestures and movements (kinesics) and the use of time (chronemics).It is a fascinating field of research and through the subsequent decades more research by psychologists and linguists identified the complexity of intercultural communication. Some examples include Tiandis' (1995) studies on concepts of individualistic (American or German) versus collectivist (Brazilian or Japanese) cultures.As early as 1966, Kaplan's contrastive studies in the writing of ESL learners illustrated the different ways cultures have of expressing themselves, for example Westerners are direct in their approach, whereas Latin-Americans favor a more loop-like style of writing. It is not...