ERIC Number: ED380851
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994-Jul
Minimalism vs. Maximalism in Intercultural Research and Training.
Like Antarctica, the fields of cross- and intercultural communication are claimed by many, explored by not so many, and understood by perhaps rather few. The most popular references in this area reflect a "maximalist" perspective, generally cross-cultural, which advocates the view that culture is a monolithic and static entity and that people's culture will largely determine their way of interacting with others. A "minimalist" perspective, largely intercultural, allows a greater focus to be placed on the individual and the situation. In their pursuit of descriptions of socio-cultural knowledge in intercultural communication, researchers from different disciplines have approached the area from different angles and some may have fallen victim to myopia resulting from ethnocentricity and ideological self-fulfillment. Four broadly delimited fields characterize present research interests: communication science, social psychology, anthropological linguistics, and sociolinguistics. The pursuit of problem identification and the desire to forward means for problem solution have resulted in a heavy focus on communication breakdown as opposed to communication success. Researchers are faced with a dilemma--they must deal with and explain systematic intercultural differences, but they also have to study each interaction as a separate achievement on its own. Situational adaptability is a means to raise the level of intercultural communication to a higher level of empirical validation and relevance to real people in a real world. An approach to intercultural communication as pertaining to situational parameters is both overdue and promising. (Contains 70 references.) (Author/RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Information Analyses; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A