You and culture
Up to this point in the unit, we have been exploring self-awareness. Now we look at how this helps to develop cultural intelligence. Understanding how you operate as a cultural being is a significant part of cultural intelligence.
In this topic you will:
- develop an understanding of society and the cultural self
- learn how to reference and write an introduction with a thesis statement
- explore the different forms of the cultural self
- continue to write your critical reflection
Looking back over the cultural self-awareness section, you are now asked to demonstrate your understanding of what it means to be culturally self aware.
- Think about this question: when you are self–aware, what are you aware of?
- Jot down your ideas
TIP: Articulating cultural self –awareness
Ideas developed here can be used for your critical reflection (Assessment 2).
Operating as cultural beings
For us to operate as cultural beings within society, we need to have the ability to stand back from ourselves and become aware of our cultural values, beliefs and perceptions.
Quappe & Cantatore (2005 p1) argue that cultural self-awareness becomes central when we have to interact with people from other cultures.
- Read the quote below:
“Misunderstandings arise when I use my meanings to make sense of your reality”.
- Explain what you think this means
Type your ideas here or write them down where you can save them:
This quote is important to think about as this is what we do on a daily basis when we interact within society.
Read about cultural awareness
Quappe and Cantatore (2005) discuss cultural awareness in the context of interacting with society.
- Read the section called: What is Cultural Awareness, anyway? How do I build it? (pp 1-3)
- As you read, note the stages of cultural awareness.
- Outline these.
- Why are these stages important in operating as a cultural being?
TIP: Incorporate your understanding of the cultural self and society
Make any further changes to your understanding of the cultural self within society above based on the reading extract you have completed.
Here is a brief summary of Quappe and Cantatore’s stages of cultural awareness:
My way is the only way –
At the first level, people are aware of their way of doing things, and their way is the only way. At this stage, they ignore the impact of cultural differences. (Parochial stage)
I know their way, but my way is better –
At the second level, people are aware of other ways of doing things, but still consider their way as the best one. In this stage, cultural differences are perceived as source of problems and people tend to ignore them or reduce their significance. (Ethnocentric stage)
My Way and Their Way –
At this level people are aware of their own way of doing things and others’ ways of doing things, and they chose the best way according to the situation. At this stage people realize that cultural differences can lead both to problems and benefits and are willing to use cultural diversity to create new solutions and alternatives. (Synergistic stage)
Our Way -
This fourth and final stage brings people from different cultural background together for the creation of a culture of shared meanings. People dialogue repeatedly with others, create new meanings, new rules to meet the needs of a particular situation. (Participatory Third Culture stage)
Thinking question: is there a next level?
Developing your notion of operating as a cultural being
Quappe and Cantatore (2005 p1) contend “what is considered an appropriate behaviour in one culture is frequently inappropriate in another one”.
One example of behaviour is Australian humour. While appropriate for many Australians, it is often seen as inappropriate by other cultures.
The Australian Government (2012) defines our humour as dry, full of extremes, anti-authoritarian, self-mocking and ironic.
View an excerpt of Australian humour in the video clip of Australian comedian Carl Baron opposite.
Please note: this video contains minor coarse language.
Your views on Australian humour:
- Why do Australians have a particular type of humour?
- Why may others view this this type of humour differently?
Understanding the many 'mes'
Brewer & Gardner (1996) note that there are three forms of the self. They are:
- the individual self – based on personal traits that differentiate the self from others
- the relational self – based on connections and role relationships with significant others
- the collective self – based on group membership that differentiate us from them
Alternatively, Vaughan & Hogg (2010) suggest that to develop cultural intelligence you need to begin by understanding the concept of the ‘self’.
They contend there are two different selves within our cultural being. These are:
- private self - your private thoughts, feelings and attitudes
- public self - how other people see you, you public image
Brewer, M. B., & Gardner, W. (1996). Who is this "we"?: Levels of collective identity and self-representations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71(1), 83-93.
Vaughan, G. M., & Hogg, M. A. (2010). Essentials of social psychology. Frenchs Forest, N.S.W: Pearson Australia.
Your many 'mes'
Using PowerPoint, create a number of slides that show your different ‘mes’.
- Find photos of your different ‘mes’.
- View the video tutorial on how to create a PPT slide show.
- Match your photos to the particular type of self you are describing. Insert them into your slideshow. You should create 2 – 5 slides for this task.
TIP: Assessment 3
This is an exercise to help you develop your skills for assessment 3.
Contribute to the wiki discussion question: Describe a photo which is your favourite representation of yourself. What do you think this photo says about you?
Connecting your many "mes"
The common link between the selves is: Society.
- The cultural self is historically and socially constructed: this is done through our relationships.
- The self is never constructed in isolation, it is always connected to our socialisation.