Tuesday, April 28, 2009

intercultural -artifact.

A diaspora is a dispersal of people from their homelands. Throughout our world's history, there have been many diasporic groups. For examples, diasporas occurred because of religious persecutions, the Irish potato famine, after the Holocaust, the native Americans journey west, African slaves to America, and the movement of Jewish people. These mass migrations occur under four specific elements. These elements are...

1. A diaspora is a scattering of people, voluntary or not, from one place to at least two destinations. 
2. The group of people must have some relationship to an actual or imagined homeland. They have a notion with a particular homeland, which they are being taken away from. 
3. The group has a self-awareness of their own identity. 
4. The diaspora is multigenerational and must exist over at least two generations. 

In the picture on top, many people are making their way from their homeland to a safer place to live. Years ago, when one did not follow the set religious standard or beliefs, they were often forced to leave their hometown. The people above are fleeing from religious persecution in hopes of finding a better place to live and practice their beliefs freely. 
In the picture on the bottom, the people are suffering from the potato famine in Ireland. With little to eat, they were forced to move elsewhere to live a better life. Many Irish people moved to the East coast of the United States to start completely over with their families. 

"It ain’t where you’re from, it’s where you’re at"
- Paul Gilroy

intercultural - personal.


As mentioned in the previous blog, culture is the way of life developed and shared by a group of people and passed down from generation. Our culture depends on where were are from, the family we are born into, and the society we grow up with. As we interact with others and begin to mimic their actions as children, we start to socially construct our culture.  Intercultural communication involves the interaction between members of different cultures. These cultures can be defined and distinguished in terms of race, ethnic, or socioeconomic differences. 
Often times people are able to experience different cultures and learn more about their own cultures when they travel to different places in the world. Culture is often defined and determined by the continent, country, state, city, or town you live in. Living in the United States, we are accustomed to busy lives, meals on the road, and our own personal space. Americans often experience culture shock when they visit other countries and are exposed to different traditions, values, and actions. I have traveled to many different U.S. states, Canada, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Italy, and Ecuador. I have experienced culture shock in all of these places and often times feel a little uncomfortable getting use to various customs. 
The biggest shock I have experienced traveling has been in Ecuador. I went to Quito, Ecuador for Christmas three years ago to visit my brother, who was studying abroad. When my parents and I met his host family, we were greeted with warm hugs and kisses on both cheeks. After a long flight, I was no expecting this gesture, but became used to it by the end of the trip. Throughout our trip, I saw meat hanging and being sold on the sides of the street, I saw little boys walking around trying to shine shoes, and i saw the respect the people showed for everyone. Often times when we would visit churches, my mom and I had to put these pieces of cloth around our legs because our skirts were not below our knees. The respect these people showed for God and others was incredible. 
Being there over Christmas break, I was fortunate enough to be able to share Christmas lunch and a present exchange with them. For a typical Christmas meal at home, we usually have ham with a bunch of side and a plethora of desserts, ranging from cutout cookies to cake. For lunch in Ecuador, we had fish soup, accompanied by a cheese soup. It was very different to experience this odd meal. At first I was skeptical, but it ended up being very good. When we were opening presents, I was surprised at how happy they were to receive strawberry and blueberry jam. However, apparently they do not have jam in Ecuador. After the dad had opened one of his presents, he did this odd snapping thing with his fingers. Even though it seemed odd to my parents, my brother and I recognized it easily. The all boys high school were my brother went to school always did the same thing when they though they had done something "cool." I asked my brother about and it and what it meant, and he told me they do that in Ecuador to call one of their children. It was very interesting to see how two different cultures could use the same hand signal in daily life, but they meant completely different things. 

Monday, April 27, 2009

intercultural - definitional.

CULTURE: the integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generation (Merriam Webster Dictionary). 
CULTURE: the quality in a person or society that arises from a concern for what is regarded as excellent in arts, letters, manners, scholarly pursuits, etc. (dictionary.com)
CULTURE: an integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for symbolic thought and social learning (wikipedia.com).

In the study of communication and according to Tubbs and Moss, culture means "a way of life developed and shared by a group of people and passed down from generation to generation." Culture is composed of "religious and political systems, customs, and language as well as tools, clothing, buildings, and works of art." While many may believe that we are born with our culture, we are actually born INTO it. We learn our culture, it is not innate. Because of this, culture is commonly said to be socially constructed. When we are born into the world we learn how to act and learn what is socially accepted by imitating and mocking those we grow up around. 
Culture can be characterized into two different types of culture: collectivist cultures and individualist cultures. 
In collectivist cultures, the tendency of people in a given culture is to value the group identity over their individual 
identity. In this culture, group obligations are more important that individual success. Within this type of culture many
different factors are important to the members of the group. People belong to collective cultures so they can feel
important by belonging to the group, interdependent, and to avoid direct conflict. This type of culture is also known as
high - context cultures. High context cultures, according to Tubbs and Moss, are more skilled in reading nonverbal
behaviors and they assume others can do the same. Also, people within this culture tend to speak less and listen more.
As mentioned previously, communication within this culture is more indirect and less explicit. The Japanese culture is
a good example of a collectivist culture and a high-context culture.
The other type of culture, an individualistic culture, involves people who have the tendency to value individual identity
over the identity of the group they belong to. They tend to value their own value over the group's individual. These people
are independent, emphasize personal goals,and communicate directly. In contrast to collectivistic cultures, individualistic
cultures are low-context cultures and emphasize verbal messages and the shared information they encode.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

mass communication - personal.

I have never sat down to watch an entire news segment on television. Since I am not a regular news watcher, especially at school, I usually just tune in to the beginning segment where the key stories are highlighted and mentioned. This is a perfect example of how the mass media sets an agenda for the public. They decide what stories are important, how to present them, and how long to keep them in the news. Since these stories are highlighted, these are the stories we view as most important. Once the story is no longer presented on the news, we lose interest in it and move on to the next big thing. This is exactly what I do because I only watch the key segments. 
I remember being in sixth grade, at which point I did not watch any news. It was a regular day at school until we got to lunch time. There was all this buzz in the cafeteria. Rumors were flying around everywhere. I did not really know what was going on, but no one really knew. All I knew was something big happened and my neighbor's mom was taking me home instead of taking the bus. When Joey and I got into the car, the first thing we did was ask his mom what was going on. She told us that someone had crashed two planes into the Twin Towers. I had no idea what she meant by that. It was unimaginable. 
Once I got home I asked my mom, and she told me to turn on the television in order to understand. When I finally turned the t.v. on, almost every station was broadcasting the coverage of the crash. I remember sitting their and just continuously watching the planes fly into the buildings. I was in shock. I was in awe. I could not believe it. But honestly, who could? For several weeks, even months, this was one of the main stories on the news. Even though this was a very serious event and the news stations had every right to continuously show the crash and cover the story, they were still setting the agenda for the public. In this case, this was definitely the top story. But after several weeks, life continued and other things in the world happened. I was very young then, but I imagine that the 9/11 story took the place of other stories. Therefore, as an audience we were watching this story, even though other events were occurring. In this case, the news picked for us which story was most important. 

mass communication - artifact.

The messages portrayed by the mass media and the mass media themselves play a large role in social construction. Mass media brings a very large and diverse audience together through a shared set of commonalities. Although it may bring people together, it does not necessarily mean it physically brings them together. They just become intuned to the same stories and news coverage, but they still remain autonomous on their living room couch. Because they are alone, the audience becomes vulnerable to the mass media's product, viewpoint, or new story. 
Since mass media's audience tends to be alone and vulnerable, they use their technologies to help persuade those sitting home on their couch alone. Technologies are the physical means of producing, reproducing, and distributing goods, services, and cultural products. They are the ways in which a company presents their information or product. For Fox News Channel, it is how each news story is presented and the physical setting in which it is presented in. The set of Fox News is very patriotic and consistently use blue, red, and white on their stage and in their outfits. People who constantly watch this news station may be persuaded one way or another on a specific issue because of they way the station uses patriotism to present and portray issues. Even though technologies are constantly evolving, if Fox News continues with its patriotic theme, viewers will continue to be persuaded towards patriotism. 

mass communication - definitional

GATEKEEPER: a person in charge of a gate, usually to identify, count, supervise, etc., the
traffic or flow through it. (dictionary.com)
GATEKEEPER: guardian; monitor (dictionary.com)
GATEKEEPER: someone who guards an entrance (dictionary.com)
GATEKEEPER: a person who, by selecting, changing, and/or rejecting messages, can influence
the flow of information to a receiver or group of receivers. (Tubbs and Moss)
GATEKEEPING: the process through which ideas and information are filtered for
publication. (wikipedia.com).

In mass communication, gatekeeping is an essential aspect, which exists in all types of
mass media. It is important that the publications made by different mass medias get passed
through a chain of people. It is important for information to be approved by more than one person,
which is why gatekeeping exists. A common gatekeeping flow would start with the editor-in-chief,
pass to the senior editor, onto a freelance writer, back to the senior editor, next to an assistant
editor, back to the writer again, onto an art director, then to the managing editor, and finally back
to the editor-in-chief. This complicated process is necessary for finding errors and producing an
accurate product. All of these gatekeepers mentioned have different choices to make, which are influenced by
seven different variables. These variables are economics, legal restrictions, deadlines, ethics,
competition among media, news value, and reaction to feedback.
The term gatekeeping was coined by Kurt Lewin. He used this term to describe a wife or
mother as the person who decides what food ends up on the table for dinner. It later evolved into
the communication context in the 1950's when White applied it to journalism (similar to above). 
According to the University of Twente's website, "In the 1970s McCombs and Shaw took a different direction when they looked at the effects of gatekeepers' decisions. They found the audience learns how much importance to attach to a news item from the emphasis the media place on it. McCombs and Shaw pointed out that the gatekeeping concept is related to the newer concept, agenda-setting. (McCombs et al, 1976). The gatekeeper concept is now 50 years old and has slipped into the language of many disciplines, including gatekeeping in organizations."

Saturday, April 18, 2009

rhetoric and public culture - Personal

According to Pierce, a message is rhetorical when produces or encourages change, even if that was not the intended effect of the speaker. In Com 152, we were asked to give both a informational and persuasive speech. Both of these speeches used rhetorical language. The persuasive speech would be an example of a rhetorical message intending to persuade an audience. The informational speech could be an example of a rhetorical message without the intention of creating action. For both of my speeches, I spoke about the non-profit organization Invisible Children and the ongoing war in Northern Uganda. 
For the informational speech, I strictly spoke about important statistics and facts of the war. I explained this war has been ongoing for the last 22 years and it has displaced many people. I mentioned how many of the children are stolen and forced to fight and kill their families and neighbors. The Lord's Resistance Army(LRA) has abducted 66,000 children so far. I mentioned that the war was started by the LRA as a response to the political powers. Throughout this speech, I talked a lot about the effect of the war on the people and how it was such a detrimental experience; however, I never suggested ways the audience could help. 
Instead of using facts and statistics in the persuasive speech, I resorted to explaining ways in which the audience could help. I suggested participating in programs such as Schools for Schools, the Tri campaign, and the book drives. I also mentioned attending the Displace me event, where thousands of people imitate the displaced. This speech was rhetorical because I asked them to help Africa, to make a change, and to take action. Even though I did not do this in the informative speech, it is quite possible change could have come about because it is such an emotional subject.