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The Issues Of The Miscommunication Cultural Studies Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Cultural Studies
Wordcount: 1890 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Among the problems faced to modern culture, there is one that is gradually becoming a defining factor in cross-cultural relations. The speech is going about miscommunication that is more and more form the style of the cultural processes of modernity. Miscommunication as the opposite side of understanding is one of the measurements in the process of communication between different cultures. However, the global conflict of cultures, witnesses, accomplices and the judges of which we are was generated by the lack of understanding of an unprecedented scale and intensity. And this lack of understanding beneath our eyes becomes more important in comparison to all other dimensions of communication within different cultures.

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I would like to discuss the problem of miscommunication in this project and use my own experience as an illustration of a communication breakdown between myself and a person from another culture. The main goals of my project are to explain and discuss how cultural miscommunication influences on our life, and to prove a thesis that miscommunication between different cultures and nations could be overcame through the specific knowledge and respect to a person whom we are communicating with.

First of all in the frames of this paper it is necessary to mention that real conflict takes place under special circumstances: in a state of globality. The state of globality is characterized by the activity of an already established and effective “global society”, where the contours of conventional cultures are broken.

Actually, no culture, ethnic group, nation, country or group of countries can no longer pretend that it is separated from the rest of the world and its affairs are “internal problems” that do not relate to any of the “foreigners”. It turned out that there are no foreigners at all: they’re gone in the sense that the culture had lost its previous, well-defined boundaries, and therefore alien and own largely mixed up, changed its previous topology and geography.

In the modern world “ethical issues”, and, in particular, issues of ethnic identity and ethnic prejudice achieved its culmination: the linguistic, cultural, status and other differences have become a stumbling block for the peaceful coexistence of many ethnic groups.

Defining the term “miscommunication” we should say that according to Gudykunst (2003), …

As serious psychological barriers in the process of cross-cultural communication the so-called “ethnic stereotypes” acts as relatively stable representation of the moral, mental, physical and other qualities of the representatives of different ethnic communities. Every person is a member of a certain ethnic group, and he or she consciously or subconsciously divides all people into “one’s own” (belonging to the same ethnic group) and “outsiders” (members of other ethnic groups).

According to Gumperz ( 1982) we see that on the verbal level culturological sign “of somebody’s own or someone else” is manifested in the semantics of the various nominative units: lexemes, phraseological units, syntactic structures, proverbs, small-format texts (for example, anecdotes and jokes).

Thinking about my own communication breakdown with a person from another culture I should say that it was connected with one dialogue misunderstanding. The person whom I communicated with was sure that only old people could be good advice-givers and young people should only listen to them and have no right on own decision of the problem. In that moment I forgot about cultural differences between us (my opponent is a Muslim and they respect old people more than other nations) and tried to prove that every person should has a right on own opinion and it is not a right position always only to listen to somebody’s words. Thus, it was the hot debate between us and as a result each of us was disappointed and even upset about result of our conversation. Only now I understood that both of us were wrong, because we used different “cultural” languages and we made several mistakes in our conversation. I would like to say that this example of miscommunication is rather simple, and it even has an ordinary character, but exactly such simple situations lead in future to hard consequences, when one cultural groups consider other groups bad educated and rude. Thus, I would like to look on this problem of cultural miscommunication through the prism of my new knowledge about this question and demonstrate a solution for this situation.

In the beginning of this part of my project I would like to say that all people should work for constructive dialogue between each other. It is a well-known fact that the entire history of humanity – is a dialogue. Dialogue permeates our whole lives. It considers a tool for the implementation of communication links, the condition of mutual understanding. Fitzgerald (1996) admitted that the interaction of cultures and their dialogue – is the most favorable ground for the development of interethnic and international relations. Conversely, when the society feels inter-ethnic tension and even, ethnic conflict, the dialogue between cultures is difficult, the interaction of cultures may be limited in the field of inter-ethnic tensions of these nations, bearers of these cultures. I understood that processes of cultural interaction are more complicated than we naively once thought; it was a theory that cultural dialogue is nothing more than simple “transfer” of the achievements of a highly developed culture in the less developed, which in its turn logically leads to the conclusion of the interaction of cultures as a source of progress. Now is actively studied the question of boundaries of culture, its core and periphery.

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I like Ting-Toomey (1999) words who said that … These words forced us to stop be rude and to respect other people. On my opinion every person should respect the point of view of another person and be patient during their communication. In my case cultural miscommunication was not only a result of different attitude to one problem, but also it was provoked by the lack of patience and respect to each other. We forgot one simple truth stated by Van Dijk (1997) who said that … Muslims are people who are marked by the culture from their birth and their specific traditions are sometimes strange for me, but it is not a reason to say that their culture is good or bad. I know that these people are different and their religion is different, but I even like them, because their historical, geographical and ethnic elements combine in an unique and original way.

Thinking about my situation I have read one interesting advice about how to avoid miscommunication in future and according to Lawrence (1999) … It means that we should use the space of variations around us and think about other possibilities to interpret information in proper way. By keeping our mind free from stereotypes and open to additional possibilities of the information understanding we can prevent future miscommunication conflict from happening. Also it is necessary to add that when a person became an initiator of a miscommunication conflict the simplest thing is to say: “I am sorry for the miscommunication which has lead to this situation”, but the simplest way is not always the right way. On my opinion it is necessary firstly to take into account opponents cultural specificity and only then to discuss with the person some sharp questions or situations.

I want also to listen to words said by Arcidiacono (2010) who thinks … Taking into account my own problem in communication and information from different readings I want to say that the first thing that should be used for overcoming miscommunication is a dialogue. Of course, at the beginning of the conversation, as it was above mentioned, it is necessary to say sorry for miscommunication and then to speak with a person in respectful and polite manner. Forthcoming manner could “save” many debates and dialogue is a communication with the culture, the realization and reproduction of its achievements, it is the discovery and understanding of the values of other cultures, the possibility of removing political, religious or other tensions between nations and ethnic groups. It is necessary to remember that dialogue is a necessary condition for scientific search for truth and the creative process in art. Dialogue – is a way for understanding of own “I-image” and possibility to communicate with others in proper constructive way.

I even think that dialogue between cultures can act as a conciliating factor that prevents the emergence of wars and conflicts. It can reduce social tensions and to create an environment of trust and mutual respect. The notion of dialogue is especially true for modern culture and it will help contemporary society to avoid miscommunication. The very process of interaction is a dialogue, and forms of interaction present different kinds of dialogic relations. The idea of dialogue has developed in the deep past. Ancient texts of Indian culture are filled with the idea of unity of cultures and peoples, macro-and microcosm, musings that human health depends largely on the quality of this relationship with the environment, from the consciousness of the power of beauty, understanding how the universe reflected in our being.

Basing on my researches I came to the conclusion that the influence of one culture to another is realized only if the necessary conditions exist for such influence. Dialogue between two cultures is possible only when a certain convergence of cultural codes and the existence or occurrence of a common mentality have a place. Dialogue of cultures – is a penetration into the system of values of a culture, respect to them, overcoming stereotypes, the synthesis of original and other nationalities, leading to mutual enrichment and integration into the global cultural context. In the dialogue of cultures is important to see the universal values of cultural interaction. One of the main objective contradictions inherent in all cultures is the contradiction between the development of national cultures and their convergence. Therefore, the need for dialogue between cultures is a prerequisite for self-preservation of mankind. A form of spiritual unity is the result of the dialogue of contemporary culture.

To sum up, I would like to say that in this research project I have discussed the problem of miscommunication and demonstrated its solution. There were also discussed cultural differences and their influences on our life. I strongly believe that dialogue between cultures was and remains central point in the development of mankind. Throughout the centuries and millennia occurred mutual enrichment of cultures that make up the unique mosaic of human civilization. I agree that the process of interaction and dialogue between cultures is complex and uneven, but only people who are ready go through all difficulties and hardships could be considered communication genii.


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