Write a critical essay on intercultural theory using the critical perspectives from the course. Illustrate with examples and personal reflection.
LEARNING OUTCOMES RELEVANT TO THIS ASSIGNMENT
Understand and apply both the classic and new concepts and theories related to human communication, culture and interaction.
Recognize the impact of one’s own culture on intercultural interactions and adapt to cultural differences.
Perform and contribute as a good citizen: socially conscious and responsible, ethical, positive, supportive, and culturally sensitive, in a variety of contexts.
Design and facilitate culturally appropriate interventions for individual, organizational and social change
We read throughout this course several theories that help us analyse components of intercultural communication between individuals and groups. These theories, based on research conducted by researchers since 1970s reflect the worldview of the researchers and the context in which they conducted research. Who can argue that their positions in society, their gender, ethnicity, life experiences, location where they live and work have no impact on how they see intercultural relations and identify problems and theorise about them? We started this course with interrogations of the self: “Who are you? Where are you a local of?” These are not mere introductory questions. In the context of this course on intercultural research and study (as well as professional work) knowledge and awareness about one’s own self is crucial. Therefore, we are allowed to question the theories we read. And that’s what Holliday (2020) and Kramch & Uryu (2020) These critiques highlight the power relations in which some of these theories are embedded and how they implicitly or explicitly contribute to existing stereotypes and discourses about “the Other”. One area where this critique is most salient is the definition and theorising of identity. Based on this background and readings, you will write a critical essay on identity as discussed in intercultural theory and bring a critique to it:
For this assignment first choose one “classical” intercultural theory we read that is related to identity and explain it as explained by its author. Then, introduce its critique by either Holliday or Kramsch & Uryu, and their main argument about this theory. Make sure that you first explain the theory or concept as was introduced by its original author and then introduce its critique. For instance, if you are interested in discussing how Hofstede devised his “individualism vs collectivism” framework to compare national cultures, explain Hofstede’s work on this dimension first, let us understand fully his argument and theory. Then, question and discuss it within the critique of for instance Holliday and allow us see the point of Holliday’s critique of it.
Once you have explained the theory/concept and contextualised it within its critique, illustrate how the critique makes a difference in real life with an example: How does the critique change your approach as a researcher to a real life experience? How does this critique contribute to your interpretation of a specific case/conflict in intercultural communication? What difference does it make now to approach the phenomenon knowing this critique of the “classical” intercultural theory? For instance what difference do you see between interpreting and explaining an intercultural communication case based on Hofstede’s collectivism vs individualism framework and its critique by Holliday? Be specific with your example.
Finally, once you have discussed your example, now explore how this critique of intercultural theory may or may not contribute to your previous discussion of “Who am I?” in Assignment #1 and your perception of self and others in Assignment #2. Use the questions and bullet point concepts listed below for your discussion.
How does how we define identity impact our research and study on cultural difference and intercultural communication? How does this critique of intercultural theory expand the discussion of identity and our perception of self and others? How would the following concepts introduced by Holliday (2020) and Kramch & Uryu (2020) contribute to our understanding of self and others, and the communication in between?
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