According to Tubbs & Moss culture is defined as “ A way of life developed and shared by a people and passed down from generation to generation”. Because cultures are so vastly different, effective communication between different types of cultures is essential to being a collective group such as a city, state or country. The main things that make each culture individual is their rights that are associated with the culture, their values which are very often implied and lastly their needs which are very often needs that aren’t noticed or talked about. These three things make each and every culture different and give each culture their own unique identity. Identifying is essential when there are disputes, as humans we tend to identify with those who are similar with us and we tend to contrast or negatively compare ourselves to those who are different from us or who have different cultural backgrounds. As far as relationships between different cultures or different people within cultures, there is always a sense of reality that is deeply rooted in power relationships; this often deals with who is on top in terms of politics. An important thing to note when studying intercultural communication is the issue of stereotyping. Stereotyping is defined as a generalization about an individual’s connection with others, and they are typically culturally bound. The good things about stereotyping in intercultural situations are that they can very often help predict behavior as well as allow for some positive communication. They do however usually aggravate power relationships as well as help to create negative cultural norms. Stereotypes can be considered mostly a good thing however with some limitations. Also when studying intercultural communication mass migration and diasporas play a role when discussing the physical locations of a group of people. Mass migration deals with the displacement of a large group of people and diaspora is a scattering of people from their home land. There are 4 elements of diaspora they are the scattering of people which can be either voluntary or not but it must be to at least 2 locations, there must be some type of relationship to a homeland, the group being displaced must be aware of their similarities as a culture and lastly for it to occur there must be at least 2 generations going through the process. These topics are all considered important when studying intercultural communication which is studied mainly to recognize the difference between cultures and within cultures.
For my application section I have chosen to link a clip from the movie The Last Samurai. This movie is a great example of intercultural communication because it tells the story of a man who was hired to train an army of a foreign country, was captured in the process and forced to work for the other side to tell their enemies secrets. Tom Cruise's character is quite hesitant when he first is captured and then the emotion really sets in and he begins to understand that he can communicate and relate with this new culture he is forced to reside with. He learns many things such as the specifics of non verbal communication in their culture because he cant speak their language so non verbal communication because a useful tool for him. He learns the power structure of the village that he is living in and realizes how men are the workers for the village and the women are meant to take care of the men. It is interesting to see in the movie how he interacts in the home is living in because he stays with a woman and her kids who have no father, during the time he spends there he uses only non verbal communication because he can't speak their language but nevertheless he is still able to convey his emotions to her and her family by gestures. Towards the end of the movie the woman who is taking care of him gives him her husbands armor to wear in battle and the entire exchange is done without speaking, this is an interesting scene to watch due to the heavy emotions as well as the intercultural and non verbal communication being used. During his time spend with the village I think he is able to truly determine the 3 things that make up the identity of the culture, he sees their rights associated within the village, he understands and adapts to their values and lastly but most importantly he is able to see their needs and do everything he can in his power to help achieve their goals.
For my personal application I would like to talk about my experience with intercultural communication back home in the international relations club that I was in at my high school. This club was mainly a politically driven organization however by looking beneath the surface it is not easy for me to see how much of a role intercultural communication played in many of our discussions. We often talked about issues such as problems in third world countries for example, we as a country have identified that these problems do exist in the world and the cultures are in need of our help, however because we are so tied up with other issues in other countries these have been pushed aside for the moment. Intercultural communication is essential to international relations because of the fact that we can not have relations with other countries internationally if we are not able to communicate in any way with people from those cultures. However by understanding things such as their rights, values and needs we are able to identify with that culture and help solve problems or assist in helping them obtain their needs. Furthermore by studying a culture to a certain depth we are also able to understand much more about their power structures which is one of the main things that we looked at in my organization-- various political power structures in countries around the world and how they are similar & different. By truly taking an in depth look at a society and by noting many things in regards to their intercultural communication we are able to further understand cultures that are different from ours and hopefully interact better with them in the future.