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Etic and Emic Culture in Communication Research Paper

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Updated: May 13th, 2020

Introduction

There is no use denying the fact that we live in the world which is almost deprived of any borders. Blistering development of different means of transport and communication led to the appearance of such issue as globalization. Nowadays, it is easier for people to move across the world and investigate different countries and various cultures. That is why, another important issue, which is cultural relativism, obtains its significance. According to the main ideas of this phenomenon to understand the main sense of different cultures better a person should investigate peculiarities of different cultures taking into account the context, environment and conditions under which these unique features appeared. However, it is possible to admit that sometimes it could be rather difficult to investigate foreign culture because of a great number of various reasons.

First of all, sometimes the context of its appearance is not clear and is history could not be understood. Moreover, not rare are the cases when the culture of other people seems to be not so bright, developed and unique as the culture of the person who tends to investigate them. This arrogance towards traditions and customs of other people could prevent to accomplish the deep analysis of a certain culture and obtain credible results. Under these conditions, the necessity of a new approach becomes obvious. That is why, the change of the perspective is needed. To obtain credible results an investigator should analyze his/her own culture from the point of view of a foreigner , or from etic perspective , while the analysis of another culture should be accomplished from the point of view of a person who lives under its influence, of emic perspective.

This change of approaches could help to obtain more objective and credible information. With this in mind, it is possible to say that the given research paper is devoted to the analysis of two cultures according to the suggested pattern. I will perform analysis of my own culture from the point of view of an outsider and, at the same time, another culture from the point of view of an insider will be analyzed. To be more precise, I will analyze the peculiarities of communication in America and in Slavic countries, like Bulgaria of Poland in order to show that there is a great number of differences in the way in which this action is performed and the influence of mass media on the contingence of these two cultures. Moreover, I will analyze the current stage of development of cross cultural communication and the influence of different means of media on this process.

The Main Peculiarities of Communication

In this section, the main peculiarities of communication in America and the influence of mass media on it from the etic perspective are analyzed. The term etic is often defined as the approach to the investigation of culture peculiar to the outsider as members of the culture are too involved in it (Miner 1956). It is extremely vital to be able to analyze the culture from this point of view as it can help to obtain credible information. That is why, analysis of communication with the help of this approach should be performed. It should be said that according to Robertson, people build their communication basing on cultural phenomena and mentality peculiar to them (2006).

That is why, it should be said that to outsiders the way in which Americans communicate can seem to be the reflection of the development of American society and state. It could be the truth in some degree. The whole world knows the famous American smile which is taken as the sign of careless and light character of Americans. Moreover, according to the same stereotypes, American nation is one of the most friendly and communicative.

However, very often people face some other attitude and become surprised because of the discrepancy between expectation and reality. The thing is that the manner of communication also depends on the circumstances under which the process of communication is performed. Moreover, the mood of interlocutor also influences it. At the same time, it is possible to say that there are some general tendencies in communication peculiar for representatives of this culture. American communication style is very straight forward and business oriented. The main aim of the act of communication is the exchange of some information (Leonard, Scotter, & Pakdil, 2009) rather than some emotions. Americans use clear and simple constructions and the words which they pronounce are taken in a very literal way (Leonard et al., 2009).

It should be said that the means of mass media and other sources underline this fact. Watching different movies or TV series, spectators are able to admit the fact that the main characters use simple and straightforward constructions to show their emotions feelings and thoughts directly. Moreover, taking the fact that the majority of the most popular movies were created in the USA into account, it is possible to say that its culture and communication are not influenced but reflected by these different sources. That is why, mainly due to this fact many people all over the world obtain the image of American lifestyle and understand the main peculiarities of culture of people who live in this country. Thus, it is possible to say that for a culture outsider the manner of communication of Americans could seem rather understandable and awaited because of the influence of means of media.

Peculiarities of Slavic Manner of Communication and the Influence of Mass Media on It

In this section of our research paper I will investigate peculiarities of Slavic manner of communication and the influence of mass media on it. It has already been stated that emic approach, which is defined as the analysis of some culture from the point of view of an insider, should be used here.

There are several reasons for this choice. First of all, it should be said that the usage of this approach will help to understand the main peculiarities of the culture better because to describe and analyze them from emic perspective a person should obtain much information. That is why, it is vital to use it in our investigation. It should be said that there is a great difference between American and Slavic ways of communication which is determined by mentalities of people and their culture. The thing is that in Slavic culture emotions and feelings prevail over some rational aspects and, that is why, the process of communication is not so straightforward and communication oriented.

In other words, what is said is less important than how it is said. People give more attention to the emotional sphere and even sharing some important information they try to show their perception of it and feelings and emotions connected with the whole process. Additionally, members of this culture are often described as very gloomy and reserved people who smile rarely.

Though, it should be said that this stereotype is not completely true. The thing is that in Slavic culture the attitude towards strangers is different than in European and people do not have to be friendly (Pfetsch & Voltmer, 2012). Moreover, they take these people cautiously. Besides, with their fired they are rather friendly and smile a lot. However, nowadays, a certain shift under the influence of the means of mass media could be observed. Becker states that TV could lead to the appearance of new habits (2004) and nowadays the same process could be observed in this very culture. The latest findings show that people obtain some American like peculiarities of communication. Very often, behavior and gestures are copied. Moreover, people get the idea of American lifestyle and try to copy it to.

Conclusion

With this in mind, it is possible to say that emic and etic approaches used in the paper help us to obtain clear idea of the process of communication in different cultures and the influence of TV and mass media on it. Having compared the given models of communication, we manage to conclude that there is a great number of differences between them which are determined by mentalities of members of these cultures. Moreover, the thing which seems quite natural under the conditions of one culture is absolutely strange for another. Resting on these facts, it is possible to make a certain conclusion. It should be said that there are many various cultures in the world and each of them has its own peculiarities. However, due to the blistering development of means of media it is much easier to obtain at least slight idea of them and even copy some of the traits peculiar to other culture.

References

Becker. A. E. (2004). . Culture, Medicine & Psychiatry, 28(4), 533-559. Web.

Leonard, K., Scotter, J., & Pakdil, F. (2009). Culture and Communication. Cultural Variations and Media Effectiveness. Administration & Society, 41(7). 850-877. Web.

Miner, H. (1956). . Web.

Pfetsch, B., & Voltmer, K. (2012). Negotiating Control. Political Communication Cultures in Bulgaria and Poland. The International Journal of Press/Politics, 17(4). 388-406. Web.

Robertson, A. (2006). The Significance of Language, Culture, and Communication in Researching Post-Soviet Crime and Policing. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 22(2). 137-156. Web.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Etic and Emic Culture in Communication." May 13, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/etic-and-emic-culture-in-communication/.

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