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Intercultural Communication for Everyday Life,9781444332360
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Intercultural Communication for Everyday Life



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Written for students studying intercultural communication for the first time, this textbook gives a thorough introduction to inter- and cross-cultural concepts with a focus on practical application and social action.

  • Provides a thorough introduction to inter- and cross-cultural concepts for beginning students with a focus on practical application and social action
  • Defines “communication” broadly using authors from a variety of sub disciplines and incorporating scientific, humanistic, and critical theory
  • Constructs a complex version of culture using examples from around the world that represent a variety of differences, including age, sex, race, religion, and sexual orientation
  • Promotes civic engagement with cues toward individual intercultural effectiveness and giving back to the community in socially relevant ways
  • Weaves pedagogy throughout the text with student-centered examples, text boxes, applications, critical thinking questions, a glossary of key terms, and online resources for students and instructors
  • Online resources for students and instructors available upon publication at

Author Biography

John Baldwin is Professor of Communication at Illinois State University. His research interests include communication, intolerance and social identities. He has published articles on these and other topics in International Journal of Intercultural Relations, Revista Brasileira de Ciências da Comunicação, Southern Communication Journal, Howard Journal of Communications, Human Communication Research, Interamerican Journal of Psychology, and Psicologia: Reflexão e Crítica. He has published essays in major intercultural communication readers and is co-editor of Redefining Culture: Perspectives across the Disciplines (2006) and Communication Theories for Everyday Life (2004).

Alberto González is Professor of Communication at Bowling Green State University. His research and teaching interests include intercultural rhetoric, political discourse of Mexican Americans, and popular music as a mode of communication. His research has appeared in various journals including The Quarterly Journal of Speech, Southern Communication Journal, Communication Quarterly, Western Journal of Communication and Women & Language. He is a former editor of The International and Intercultural Communication Annual and he is a co-editor of Our Voices: Essays in Culture, Ethnicity, and Communication, 5th Edition.

Robin R. Means Coleman is Associate Professor in the Departments of Communication Studies and Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan.  She is the author of Horror Noire:  Blacks in American Horror Films from the 1890s to Present (2011) and African-American Viewers and the Black Situation Comedy: Situating Racial Humor (2000).  She is co-editor of Fight the Power! The Spike Lee Reader (2009) and editor of Say It Loud! African American Audiences, Media, and Identity (2002). Her current research focuses on the NAACP’s participation in media activism. 

Suchitra Shenoy-Packer is Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at DePaul University. Within the broad context of organizational communication, her research interests include assimilation processes experienced by underrepresented and/or marginalized workers, meanings of work, gender and diversity in the workplace, immigrant identities, and family communication. Her research has been published in the Journal of International and Intercultural Communication, Journal of Communication and Religion, Iowa Journal of Communication, and the Multidisciplinary Journal of Gender Studies, among others.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Intercultural Communication for Everyday Life: From Practice to Civic Action

Table of Contents

Part A. Foundations

 Ch. 1 A Rationale for Studying Intercultural Communication: Why Should We Know about Other Cultures?
1. Building a Rationale: Why Do We Need to Know about Intercultural Communication?
 a. The Personal Growth Motive
 b. The Social Responsibility Motive
 c. The Economic Motive
 d. The Cross-Cultural Travel Motive
 e. The Media Motive
f. Challenges of Studying Intercultural Communication
2. Where Did We Come From? The History and Focus of Intercultural Communication
Discussion Questions
Action Points
For More Information

 Ch. 2 Action, Ethics, and Research: How can I make a difference?
1. Muslim Veils in French School: How Can We Determine Right from Wrong in Intercultural Situations?
a. Ethics and Morality
b. Determining a Universal Ethical Stance
c. Ethical Relativism
2. ”Not in Our Town”: What is the Role of Intercultural Communication in Civic Engagement?
 a. Political and Civic Engagement
 b. Defending Civic and Political Engagement among College Students
 c. Doing Civic Engagement
3. How Can We Do Responsible Cultural Research?
 a. Assumptions that Guide Cultural Research
 b. Approaches to Studying Culture and Communication
 c. Differences of Focus in Culture-and-Communication Studies
Discussion Questions
Action Points
For More Information

Ch. 3 Origins: Where does our “culture” come from?
  1. The traditional view: Culture as inherited [basic “assumptions] of culture]
  2. The social and rhetorical construction of culture: a “layered” perspective [structuration]
   a. Communication as process/transaction
   b.  Communication: symbolic or accidental?
   c. Communication as constitutive [structuration theory]
  3. The building blocks of culture
   a. Values, beliefs, and such [treated briefly here]
   b. Mediated messages
   c. Rhetoric and ritual
   d. Verbal and nonverbal behaviors
4. The definition(s) of culture
   a. Traditional notions of culture (structural, functional, group, refinement)
   b. Growing trends in how to see culture (process, critical)
   c. Our (tentative) definition of culture
5. A model of intercultural communication [Baldwin]
   a. Intercultural component: The role of real cultural differences
   b. Intergroup component: The role of perceived differences (e.g., stereotypes, prejudice)
   c. Interpersonal component: The role of individual differences
Discussion Questions
Action Points
For More Information

Part B. Elements

 Ch. 4 Subjective Culture: What is the Base upon which Cultural Communication is Built?
1. Basic Building Blocks of Culture: What Are the Most Important Things to Know?
2. Cultural Values: What Are some Useful Frameworks for Understanding Culture?
  a. High and Low Context Cultures
  b. Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions
   i.   The dimensions
   ii. Critiquing Hofstede’s dimensions
   iii. Other dimensions and frameworks
  c. Culture-Specific (Emic) Approaches
 3. World View: What Are the Beliefs at the Center of Our “World”?
Discussion Questions
Action Points
For More Information

 Ch. 5: Identity: Struggle, Resistance, & Solidarity: How Can I Think about my Identity and that of Others?
1. An Introduction to Identity: Who Am I, Really? 
 2. Identity and Communication: How Do We Communicate our Identities?
  a. Social Identity Theory and Stages of Identity Development
  b. Identity is Created through Communication
  a. You are (culturally) what You Eat: Food as an Example of Identity
 3. Identity and Politics: How Can Our Identities Be Political?
  a. Identity Politics
  b. Punk Rock and Identity Politics: A Case Study in Brief
  c. Ideology, the KKK, and Subtle White Power
  d. Hegemony: National-Regional and Sexual Orientation Power Plays
 3. Identity in Intercultural Communication: What Are Some Problematic Ways to Think about the Identities of Other Groups?
  a. Orientalism
  b. The Symbolic Annihilation of Race
 4. Identity, Solidarity, and Civic Action: Can I Make a Difference?
Discussion Questions
Action Points
For More Information

Ch. 6 Intolerance-Acceptance-Appreciation: How can we make the world a more tolerant place?
1. Framing the Problem: Where Can We Recognize Intolerance?
a. Terms: What Are Some Different Types of Intolerance?
 i.   Stereotypes
 ii. Prejudice
 iii. Behavior
 iv. Policy and social structure
2. Debates: Where Does Racism Lie, and Who Can Be Racist?
a. Is racism an attitude or a behavior?
b. Should racism be determined by intent or result?
c. Is racism individual, institutional, or societal?
 3. Looking to a Better Future: What Are Some Causes of and Solutions for Intolerance?
  a. Understanding the Problem: Possible Causes of Intolerance
  b. Addressing the Problem: Possible Solutions to Intolerance
   i.  Contact theory
   ii.  Communicative solutions
   iii. Structural and policy solutions
Discussion Questions
Action Points
For More Information

Part 3 Messages

Ch. 7 Verbal Communication: How Can I Reduce Cultural Misunderstandings in my Verbal Communication?
1. Systems of Language and Culture: Why Is Talking across Cultures so Difficult?
a. Systems of Meaning
b. Speech Acts and Cultural Communication
c. Getting Things Done With Language
 i. Directives
 ii. Criticism
 iii. Apologies
 iv. Compliments
d. Explaining the Details: Seeking Ways to Explain Differences across Cultures
   i. Relational orientations
   ii. Face theory
   iii. Cultural scripts
   iv. Dimensions of difference
 2. Discursive Elements of Culture: What Happens when We Join the Elements of Language?
a. Cultural myth
b. Conversational episodes
c. Social dramas
d. Cultural metaphor
 3. Theories of Conversation and Culture: What Happens When We Actually Talk to Each Other?
  a. Communication Accommodation Theory
  b. Communication and Sites of Dominance
Discussion Questions
Action Points
For More Information

Ch. 8 Nonverbal Communication:  Can I make nonverbal blunders and not even know it?
1. Forms and Functions: How Should We Act Nonverbally When In Another Culture?
a. Channels (Forms) of Nonverbal Communication
b. Functions of Nonverbal Communication and Relations to Verbal Communication
 2. Issues in Nonverbal Communication: How Can I Compare Several Cultures at the Same Time?
a. Issue #1: I Can Understand Your Facial Expression—But Does It Mean what I Think it Means?
b. Issue #2: Why Are You Standing so Close to Me? Space and Other Aspects of Contact
c. Issue #3: Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?
d. Issue #4: Why Are You Being so Quiet? Cultural Understandings of Silence
 3. Nonverbal Violations: What Does your Nonverbal Behavior Mean?
  a. Culture and the Expectancy Violations Model
  b. Culture and Meaning: Semiotics
Discussion Questions
Action Points
For More Information

Ch. 9 Rhetoric and Culture [González]: How Does my Culture Relate to Persuasive Writing and Speaking?
1. Rhetorical Communication: How Does Culture Inform Persuasion?
2. Rhetorical Traditions: How Do People in Different Cultures Try to Persuade?
a. African American tradition: Rooted in resistance
b. Chinese tradition: Rooted in reflection
c. Latino/a tradition: Rooted in revolution
d. Native American tradition: Rooted in nature
e. Western tradition: Rooted in argument
f. Limitations when Considering Rhetorical Traditions
3. Vernacular Rhetoric: How Does Everyday Communication Seek to Persuade?
a. Vernacular Rhetoric in Africa
b. Vernacular Rhetoric in Toledo, Ohio
 4. Intercultural Rhetoric: What are the Implications for Civic Engagement?
  a. Hate speech and speech codes
  b. Differences and similarities among religious fundamentalist rhetoric
  c. The role of the Internet in intolerant speech
Discussion Questions
Action Points
For More Information

Ch. 10 Culture, Communication, and Media: How Do Media Shape our Views of Others?
1. Effects and Rituals: What Role do Media Play in our Lives?
a. Lasswell’s Model of (Mediated) Communication
b. The Transmission View vs. the Ritual View
c.     The Role of Media in Intercultural Communication
 2. Democratic Discourse and Diversity: What Issues Do Media Present to me as a Citizen?
 3. Media and Cultural Identities: Who Are “We” Now?
  a. Digital Media and Social Movements
  b. Gender Media Frames: The Social Acceptability of Showing Breasts
  c. Representational Absences as an Impediment to Intercultural Communication
 4. Beyond Traditional Media: How Do New Media and Culture Shape Each Other?
Discussion Questions
Action Points
For More Information

Part 4 Contexts and Issues

 Ch. 11 Global Media, Global Cultures: How Do Culture and Globalization Influence Each Other?
with William Lafi Youmans
1. Culture on the Global Media Stage: How Does the Global Flow of Information Impact Culture?
a. The Global Media Experience
b Satellite Television: The Progenitor of Global Media
c. Instantaneous Cultural Exchange: When Time Becomes Timeless
d. The Inequality of Global Media Flow
 2. Power and Globalization: What Drives the Global Media?
a. Global Media from Above and Below: Hip-Hop
b. The Challenges of Global Media Flows
Discussion Questions
Action Points
For More Information

Ch. 12 Adaptation and Intercultural Competence: How can I Be Effective in a New Culture?
 1. Cross-cultural adaptation: How Can I Better Adjust to a New Culture?
  a. Adjustment and Culture Shock: Defining Terms
b. Models of Cultural Adjustment
 i. The U-curve
 ii. Kim’s theory of cross-cultural adjustment
 iii. Different domains of adjustment
2. Rethinking Acculturation: What Happens when Cultural Groups Live Side by Side?
3. Coming Home: Will it be as Easy as it Sounds?
a. The Process and Nature of Return Cultural Adjustment
b. Making the Going and Coming Home Easier
 4. Intercultural Communication Competence: How Can I Get the Job Done…and Still Be Liked?
  a. Understanding Intercultural Competence
  b. Beyond the Multicultural Person: Intergroup Effectiveness
Discussion Questions
Action Points
For More Information

Ch. 13: Relationships and Conflict: How Can I Have Better Cross-Cultural Relationships?
1. Culture and Communication in Relationships: How do IC Relationships Grow and Thrive?
a. What Partners Bring with Them into Relationships
i. Cultural values
ii. Definitions and expectations for the relationship
iii. Motives
b. How Do Intercultural Relationships Work?
i. Relational development
ii. Relational maintenance
c. Unique Cultural Relationship Patterns
i. Confucian relationships and kuwan-shi
ii. Hierarchia and confianza in Colombia
d. Societal Power and Intercultural and Intergroup Relationships
i. Attributions and stereotypes
ii. Opposition to relationships
2. Relational and Organizational Conflict: How Can I Make Intercultural Conflict More Productive?
a. Cross-cultural approaches to conflict resolution
b. International negotiation
Discussion Questions
Action Points
For More Information

Ch. 14 The Political Context:  How Can We Use Communication to Shape Politics and Culture?
1. Politics, Culture, and Communication: How do Politics Relate to Culture?
2. Making Change Happen: What are some Examples of Successful Social Movements?
a. The Green Belt Movement
b. The Immigrant Rights Movement
3. Intercultural Political Leadership: What Strategies Can we Use to Bring about Change?
a. Majora Carter and the Bronx River Alliance
b. Servant Leadership and TOMS Shoes
Discussion Questions
Action Points
For More Information

Ch. 15 The Organizational and Educational Contexts: How Does Culture Shape Business, and How is Business Changing?
1. A New Contract: How are Technology and Information Changing the Culture of Work and Workplaces?
a. New Workers, New Contracts
b. Globalization and Corporate and Local Cultures
2. Cultural Variability: How Does Culture Shape the Organization?
a. Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner’s Cultural Orientation
i. Universalism-particularism
ii. Individualism-Communitarianism
iii. Neutral-Affective
iv. Specific-Diffusive
v. Achievement-Ascription
b. Orientation toward Time
i. Sequential-synchronic
ii. Reflective-impulsive
3. A New World: What are the Impacts of Globalization on Business?
a. Convergent and Divergent Hypotheses of Business in a Globalizing World
b. Types of Organizations
 i.  Monolithic organizations
 ii.  Multinational/plural organizations
iii. Multicultural organizations
iv. International organizations
v. Global organizations
vi. Transnational organizations
c. National/Corporate Cultures
i. Family
ii. Eiffel Tower
iii. Guided missle
iv. Incubator
4. Corporate Responsibility: How Can my Company Make a Difference?
a. Case Studies of Corporate Social Responsibility
b. Intercultural Organizing and Communication for Civic Engagement
Discussion Questions
Action Points
For More Information


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