When individuals or groups from different cultural backgrounds meet, certain preconceptions they have of each other influence their interactions. According to the social constructionist approach, culture is not necessarily based on nationality alone. Biases based on gender, age, social class, occupation, appearance, etc. May equally influence behaviour and communication outcomes, as they can constitute cultural barriers between individuals as well. In the following I will therefore use the term intercultural communication as referring not only to communication between people with different nationalities, but also to communication between members of different social groups. In this paper, I will first attempt to describe the nature of common preconceptions, i. E. Stereotypes, including concepts such as otherisation, prejudice and discrimination, how they influence communication and how they are created and reinforced by the media.
Differences Between Ethnocentrism and Cultural Relativism
To illustrate this, I will use specific media examples. I will then look at whether stereotyping is an inevitable process or whether it can be avoided. I will also address the question whether stereotypes ought to be seen as a positive or negative influence on intercultural communication. Finally I will try to determine the role stereotypes play in the study of intercultural communication, as some approaches to communication studies seek to discover average tendencies in national cultures, which can lead to similar categorisations and simplifications as in the process of stereotyping. I will evaluate the validity of such an approach and will conclude that stereotypes and categorisations are necessary to a certain degree as a sense-making device, but should at the same time be regarded with great caution. There is a variety of definitions of the term stereotype that generally agree about its basic nature but differ in certain additional aspects.
Its function is to justify (rationalize) our conduct in relation to that category” (ibid, cited in Gardner, 6999: 8). There seems to be common agreement that stereotypes are beliefs about the characteristics of an outgroup or its members. These beliefs can be based on a number of variables ranging from gender, sexual orientation, level of education, and social class to nationality. The characteristics associated with another party can be of a positive or negative nature. Asians are often said to be good at math, while Mexican’s have the reputation of being lazy Blacks are said to have a natural feeling for rhythm, while Native Americans are accused of having a tendency towards alcoholism – to name just a few common stereotypes.
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This preview shows document pages 6 - 9. Sign up to view the full document. I’ve been intrigued by the story of the Israelite Exodus from Egypt for more than a decade. More than any of its close rivals, including the tale of Haman in the Book of Esther, the Exodus looms large as an early and extremely influential psychological landmark in the lachrymose and highly dubious pseudo-history of the Jewish people. Most obviously, the putative liberation from Egypt is commemorated by Judaism every year, in the form of the Pesach, or Passover festival. Indeed, this festival is one of the most important features of the Jewish religious calendar.
Historian Paul Johnson remarks that Exodus “became an overwhelming memory” and “gradually replaced the creation itself as the central, determining event in Jewish history. ”Exodus has a power that exists independently from the trappings of religious myth, acting through the centuries as a defining narrative of victimhood, group vindication, and self-validation. Jews living under the Tsar produced endless Yiddish plays and satires containing barely concealed allusions to the Tsar as the latest incarnation of Pharaoh. Exodus is a foundation upon which Jewish identity, as well as Jewish religiosity, is built, and for this reason it has greatly preoccupied even the most atheistic of Jews, Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud among them. Moses, as a subconscious archetype, squats in the shadows of the Jewish psyche. The early reception of Exodus by non-Jews also plays an important role in the Jewish worldview, in the sense that the “virus” of “anti-Semitism” is said to have originated in response to it.
In this regard, there is an almost universal consensus among Jewish intellectuals that the earliest origins of “anti-Semitism” can be traced to the writings of an Egyptian priest allegedly offended by the account of the Israelite escape from Pharaoh. The theory relates specifically to a history of Egypt, the Aegyptiaca, written by an Egyptian priest named Manetho around the third century BC. Although the Aegyptiaca is lost to us, we are able to piece together much of its contents based on subsequent rebuttals by later Jewish writers such as Flavius Josephus, and also references to the text by several Greek and Greek-Egyptian intellectuals.