Social & Cultural Reality Theory in Action

Topics: Social constructionism, Reality, Social construction Pages: 9 (2539 words) Published: May 15, 2012
72251 Intercultural Communication
Assignment 1

Melissa Peters
ID: 3304924

Short answers

Q. 1. Challenge DeVito, O’Rourke and O’Neill’s (2000) definition of culture using Richards (1999) or Anae (1997). How do DeVito et al look at membership within a culture and how does Richards see it differently?

DeVito, O’Rourke and O’Neill’s (2000, p.99) definition of culture is very limited when describing modern cultures of globalised human society. Perhaps where people are isolated to villages, towns or countries with little communication with the outside world, the definition would be completely workable. But now, due to access of information, global trade, travel and immigration etc the world is becoming more and more an eclectic melting pot of human culture. For most, our individual ‘culture’ is not definitive, but active, highly influenced, and ever-changing. This is especially the case when addressing one’s culture from an individual, identity-based standpoint.

Cultural identity
As we can see in Parehau Richards opening speech of the 1998 ANZCA conference (Richards, 1999), Richards seeks to identify herself from both a Maori cultural and an academic standpoint, whilst weaving in the many social groups that have influenced her culture, including: * Two lines of tribal heritage

* European ancestry
* Catholic denomination
* Upbringing by Anglican grandparents in a rural community * Education as a Maori woman
* Academic position in a western learning institution.

There is no one ‘culture’ (according to the DeVito et al definition) that would express Richards’ diverse identity. Nor could her unique combination of values, beliefs, behaviours, communication styles etc, be packaged and labeled as any one particular ‘culture’.

DeVito et al assert that membership comes by way of either generational enculturation (passed down) or social acculturation (adopted). Richards’ expresses that membership is found by way of connection and association (through one’s denomination, ancestral origin etc); even to such things as places, mountains, rivers, workplaces etc. She uses this ‘connectedness’ to assist her communications to a socially and culturally diverse audience.

Q. 2. Explain 3 distinct ways that I communicate my culture to those around me. Choosing distinctive aspects of my culture indicate how they’re communicated

One of the best things about coastal living is to host visitors from elsewhere. Visitors love our lifestyle, and for many its a brand new experience.

We share our culture by showing the many things we do as part of our daily lives. Perhaps the most enjoyable, involves the sea.

My husband Julian, an avid fisherman, is glad to take visitors out by boat. He takes fishing seriously, as a sport, a way of life and as plain good therapy!

Fishing is very much part of Kiwi culture, and continues to grow in popularity. For us it has deeper cultural roots. As descendants of the sub tribe ‘Te Whanau Moana’ (the sea family) our life as a people, is connected to the sea. For men, it is a most uplifting and manly thing to return home with a 30 kg Kingfish or bin full of snapper.

The women and children spend hours on the beach, looking through rockpools, snorkeling, gathering shellfish. It’s a delight to come home with a bucket of ‘tuatuas’ (clam like mollusks) and make fritters. Gathering your own food is rewarding. It connects you to nature, teaches you to appreciate and look after the planet and allows you to contribute with your own hands to the needs of the family.

A third way I would communicate my culture is through relationships as a Christian. We are learning to follow the lifestyle and teachings of Jesus who modeled Christianity. A fundamental element of his culture is to ‘lay down your life for others’. For him, that was to the point of death. For us, it’s simply putting another’s needs before our own. So whether we...
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