Culture and communication essay | COM 200 Interpersonal Communication | Ashford University

Culture and Communication essay with a quick turn around time. Using material listed from the class

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1) Explain two points detailing why it is so important to be aware of culture when thinking about communication, utilizing Bevan.

The first element requires that you get to the heart of the paper and think through the question of “why even care about culture when studying communication?”  If you answer that question, you will begin to think through the importance of culture.  If you think back to last week, when we defined communication, Bevan (2020) stated it is “a process where two or more individuals strive to create shared meaning using verbal and nonverbal messages in a variety of contexts” (Section 1.1. Para. 2).  So, in addition to communication being a “process,” it is about creating some “shared” meaning.  Many times, this shared meaning is already there, and we are simply affirming meaning and sustaining relationships.  But regardless, communication is fundamentally a social activity and so is culture.  Note any similarities you see in the definition of communication here and Bevan’s definition of culture. 

Also, consider these questions – Is communication possible without culture?  Is culture possible without communication?  If you answer no to both questions, this might help you to start thinking through why it is important to think about culture when addressing communication.

2) Explain how culture shapes verbal and nonverbal communication, utilizing Bevan.

We know that culture and communication are fundamentally linked.  Now, to get to the precision of the relationship, you are asked here to explain HOW culture shapes verbal and nonverbal communication.  Think about your own life.  Have your parents ever told you to sit still while in church or to close your mouth while you eat?  How are these nonverbal cues that are being shaped through culture and verbal messages?  The best replies will both explain “how” culture shapes verbal and nonverbal communication but also explain examples about how this transfers to specific patterns of communication (e.g., driving on the right side of the road). 

3) Describe the relationship between culture and two other themes that are central to culture from this list, utilizing Bevan:

  • Gender (Chapters 2 and 3)
  • High versus low context cultures (Chapter 3)
  • Dominant cultures versus co-cultures (Chapter 3)
  • Individualism and collectivism (Chapter 3)
  • Perceptual filters (Chapter 3)

Each of these themes is central to communication and Bevan covers each in detail in chapter three.  I suggest that you choose the two that you find most interesting and important and then detailing why you believe this.  Remember, you are required to comment on the “relationship” between culture and one of the themes, so try to focus on that.  And, once again, it is wise to begin with some fundamental definitions.

Here are some questions to answer to deepen your analysis of each theme:  How do our gender classifications of others as a man or a woman establish expectations for communication behavior?  How do low-context and high-context cultures set up different expectations for how much information is overtly shared with others?  Are you part of both the dominant culture and some co-culture?  It is possible to not be a part of some co-culture?  How might individualism versus collectivism shape specific patterns of communication?  How does culture train us in terms of our perceptual filters?  Part of perception is simply what we pay attention to.  How does culture teach us this through verbal and nonverbal cues?

4) Explain how paying attention to culture can help a person improve as a communicator, utilizing Bevan and, if you choose, one of the supplemental videos you watched.

Based on what you have learned this week on culture, how can this information be useful for someone in their daily life as a communicator?  Will cultural knowledge about the “norms” of others help us make sense of them and their behavior?  For instance, in America it is very common to smile at strangers.  But in Russia, it is considered strange, if not rude (Khazan, 2016).  In fact, there is even a Russian proverb that says, “laughing for no reason is a sign of stupidity.”  Extending this out, when asked to assess pictures of people with smiles and without, those in some countries assessed them as intelligent, while others judged them as significantly less intelligence.  And in many countries, smiling is associated with dishonesty, so we must understand how our nonverbal cues might be interpreted!

When they hosted the World Cup in 2018, Russian locals were trained to smile, to make tourist more comfortable (Dawson, 2018).  They were acting on this cultural knowledge to try to strategically welcome foreigners to their land.  Therefore, there are strategic reasons to be aware of cultural differences and perhaps adjust ours to meet various goals.  Russians wanted the tourists to be comfortable, spend money, and host other international events in the future, so they attempted to change patterns of nonverbal communication, perhaps just in the short term. When you do this segment of your paper, see if you can come up with other anecdotes to shine light on this topic.

Finally, note that there are many supplemental videos in the resources box.  If you find it easier to learn through watching and listening, rather than reading, I especially recommend that you watch some of the videos.

Good luck everyone, and feel free to email me with any questions.

Instructor P / [email protected]

References

Bevan, J. L. (2020). Making connections: Understanding interpersonal communication (3rd ed.). https://content.ashford.edu/ (Links to an external site.)

Dawson, A.  (2018, June 11).  Russian workers re undergoing training to learn how to smile ahead of the World Cup. Business Insider.  https://www.businessinsider.com/world-cup-russian-workers-are-learning-how-to-smile-2018-6

Khazan, O. (2016, May 27).  Why some cultures frown on smiling: Finally, an explanation for Bitchy Resting Face Nation.  The Atlantichttps://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/05/culture-and-smiling/483827/ (Links to an external site.)

Source: AU Prof. Cheri Ketchum

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