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In This paper, we will discuss the cultural influence and intercultural communication. We will talk the tour of Maarten Troost’s Book Lost on Planet China (Troost, 2008). In addition, we will thoroughly investigate the impact of one culture on another. In addition, the central idea would be Due to American's cultural influence and help, China is becoming a major player in business and politics. Starting from the culture, the term "culture" refers to characteristics and values people and a group of people has learned and not given by the nature (Neuliep, 2014).
Culture Is a Kind of Storehouse or Library of Possible Meanings and Symbols
The pattern of thought is the common ways of thinking, which how a person thinks, what are his beliefs, his traditional values, and his emotions. Pattern behavior is the way of behaving in the society, from ways of speaking to the ways of conducting in a society, where behavior may be of many types like individual/interactive, intentional/unintentional. In addition, conduct may satisfactory/unsatisfactory. The pattern of artifacts is the ways a person using the objects and material around him/her on the earth, where artifacts may be machines, tools, media, etc. Imprints in nature are the remaining marks left by people or group of people in the natural surroundings of old and ancient objects like those that we found in the museum, these objects also having a great impact on culture. Conclusively "culture" is the growth in this world, which gives us the understanding of culture is all about (Neuliep, 2014).
Now coming to intercultural communication, it can be described as the sharing of knowledge between people belonging to different cultural backgrounds, where different cultural backgrounds include both cultural, national, traditional differences and difference in the participating to the various national activities. These activities can belong to their religion, national or other consequences occur in the society.
Intercultural communication as a human is a basic concept, but Intercultural communication as an academic field is comparatively a new one. Now if we look at the main factors of Hall's paradigm for Intercultural Communication; he explained this as a systematic empirical study and classification of nonverbal communication (the way of conveying the message in which words are not involved. His emphasis was mainly on the nonverbal communication, in which a person does not know how to express thoughts. In this focusing on intercultural communication not just on the macro level monoculture studies. A non-judgmental approach of cultural differences in the acceptance of the participatory training methods is in intercultural communication (Bourhis & Titsworth, 2009).
Now if we refer to the text of Troost Book "Lost on the Planet of China", we now discuss the influence of one culture on another (Troost, 2008). The influence of a culture depends upon its easiness, effectiveness, and advantages a person will get by following that culture. As we focus on the American and Chinese culture here. Chinese culture is about 5000 years old in the cultural history. There were the different period of times of different culture of Chinese including Han culture, Mongol, and Manchurian culture, but the rapid introduction of American culture occur in the late 20th century to the present times. The older Chinese people may not be like to adopt the American culture in contrast new generation of China is adopting the American culture more rapidly. Because of the advancement of technology and easiness of the American culture, Chinese are indeed adopting it as many other nations adopting US culture. The topic of this thesis paper would be:”The influence of American culture on China”.
Furthermore discussing intercultural communication, there may be some misunderstanding occurs between the people belongs to different culture. Because of the difference in communication patterns or the linguistic differences between different cultures, it is not easy to communicate. Different culture has some certain rules in their language or communication pattern that might not match with the other culture. So the problems that can arise in intercultural communication is thus to investigate the ways in which two different culture vary in linguistic and cultural communities. At the individual level, there may be four convenient aspects to consider verbal communication that are sound and writing, vocabulary and phraseology, grammar and gestures. For a better communication, both the communicators should understand each other’s verbal or non-verbal message (Bourhis & Titsworth, 2009).
Summary of Book
Now if we reference Troost book here “Lost on Planet China when a person visits some country, and he is not much familiar with their language and the people of that country also does not know that person's language, then a communication gap may arise among them (Troost, 2008). Now the only source of communication that can be used is non-verbal like using gestures for communication. They might use some keywords to understand each other message, but it will become tough to communicate in such premises.
In his book, Maarten Troost has charmed all his readers by telling all his funny stories and the events occur in his whole journey to the outside islands of the South Pacific (Troost, 2008). When he wanted to travel to a place, he settled to taking on the world's most populated and toughest nation that is China. In his Book Troost accompanied his readers on the most fascinating journey through the new affection of the modern world, from the fully populated area of Beijing and Shanghai to the Gobi desert and the back of the Tibet.
In China Troost went from place to place, had so many new experience as he described in his book he went to fudging deathly drivers in Shanghai, ate Yak in Tibet, decrypted the restaurants and hotel menus of the China, also told about the local favorites dishes like Cattle Penis with Garlic etc. he also told the event of visiting with Chairman Mao, and about the hiking with 80,000 other people up Tai Shan, which is China's most venerable mountain. This will explain that the Troost's experience of visiting China was very much exciting, thriller and adventurous. But in addition to his brand mark flaky adventures, the book also reveal a fact about a composite country, which is emerging in the world and soon they will change everything about them, that how they live and they think. As Troost showed, that China is not only the place of the cheap materials, where every store contains plastic products, but the real China is a mighty universe in itself (Troost, 2008).
Interspersing sections of cultural history and plenty of good and bad culinary tidbits-throughout his travelogue, Troost offers a serviceable primer on life in China It was not as comparable to Troost first two books but it was worthy to watch the events occurs in his whole journey to the Mighty Nation (Troost, 2008).
Acculturation can be defined as a cultural learning process when a person is exposed to a new culture or tradition or ethnic group. In early and one of the most useful and important definitions of acculturation underlined the direct contact with other ethnic groups and the fact is that both the groups that are engaged would experience some changes:
Acculturation is a process in which people from one cultural indeed tries to adopt the beliefs, values, terms and behavior of another group. Although acculturation is more often in the direction of minority group adopting or learning the habits and language pattern or customs of the new group, acculturation can be reciprocal, that is the people from the dominant culture can also learn or adopt the terms and values from the minority group. Assimilation of a cultural group into other can be described as the changes in the language pattern, individual values of the culture, the member’s role in the group of people and institutions, and the loss of political or ethnic identification. These are some major points to be considered.
One nation: what we can all do to save American future, he described it as that if you want to be relevant to your home, then you should know the important things related to your home. However, if you want to know about your neighborhood, then you should know about the things that are important to your neighborhood. In addition, the same thing is applied to a city, a state, a country. In addition, if you want to know all about the world then program that computer known as your brain with all the important information and stuff from all over the world in order to prepare yourself (Troost, 2008).
The theme of the acculturation focuses attention on the conflicts and negotiation between the members of two different cultures. Now we look at the issues and analyze the completely psychological and the cultural aspects of these phenomena that happen during the process of the acculturation. During the acculturation, the people exchange their ways and tries to communicate with each other, but because of the difference of their culture there is a possibility of conflict between them, and there may need negotiation in order to achieve some results that are fruitful for both. Research on acculturation includes the acculturation activities, changes in the behavior of the people. When people go to acculturation activities, there are a large numbers of individual and group differences between the members of both parties. Some of the differences are assimilation, marginalization, integration and separation strategies. The level of stress is different in a different strategy. Those who choose marginalization, experience more stress than, those who are pursuing the integration strategy. In addition, the result of those, who are pursuing the assimilation and separation strategy, would face the intermediate level of stress and adaptation. These are the basic differences between outcomes of all these strategies of acculturation. Now it depends on the situation and the theme, since integration requires significant negotiation, but the outcome of integration is in the least conflict, the concepts and finding here provide some guidance to people for the better outcome in intercultural relations (Troost, 2008).
The choice of particular acculturative strategy depends on the attitude of the individual towards other cultural values in the sense of individual and as a group. So now, the requirements to choose a strategy among these would consider two dimensions that are as an individual’s attitude of taking care of that culture, and the positive and negative attitude of individual towards the interaction with another group of people.
As an individual acculturation can be described as approaching one of the four different strategies available and that are the fundamental of the proportions given above:
Assimilation: when an individual is not fond of the significance of his culture and desires to identify and interact with the people of the other culture, Normally this happens when a member of minority group tries to interact with the members of dominant culture.
Separation: Whenever a person is more likely to its culture and avoids interaction or adopting the values of other cultures (Troost, 2008).
Marginalization: In this, a person tries to maintain the involvement in its own culture as well as likes to learn and adopt values from other cultures. Integration: When a person shows an interest in keeping his original cultural values in learning and adopting the traditional values from other cultures (Tsai, Ying & Lee, 2000).
Research has shown that when an individual tries to learn the values of some other culture there is a vast change occurs in them like change in their views, change in their attitude, and change in their behavior. These changes may be in positive or negative impact, but these changes give proof of the varying patterns of the different culture. It is important to remember that many people have experienced effects of acculturation, and most of them have survived and have been able to work in a productive way (Tsai, Ying & Lee, 2000).
Which acculturation not on , on of acculturation? However, the research has given the idea that acculturation may lead a person to the productive way.
Now if we summarize the acculturation the whole fact is how to learn, adapt and manage in a new culture, and how can we adapt the changes to avoid the conflicts and negotiate with others. In the development era, we are not here to avoid or criticize each other’s culture but we are here to improve the world as the modern world is growing rapidly. Therefore, everyone who adopts a culture that leads them towards the progress, or a culture that gives them something to achieve or learn, is going on the right path (Tsai, Ying & Lee, 2000).
The problem of culture is seldom grasped correctly. The goal of a culture is not the greatest possible happiness of a people, nor is it the unhindered development of all their talents; instead, culture shows itself in the correct proportion of these developments. Its aim points beyond earthly happiness: the production of great works is the aim of culture (Tsai, Ying & Lee, 2000).
The adequate study of culture, our own and those on the opposite side of the globe, can press on to fulfillment only as we learn today from the humanities as well as from the scientists.”
How America Influence China And How America Is Unable To Influence China:
The Chinese culture differs greatly from the American culture. Everything from personal relationships to the family relationships differs from each other’s culture.
Some of the cultural differences between Chinese and Americans are as follows:
Self: The concept of an individual in China is they do not give much importance to the self, they are more likely to think as a group or prefer to be group prior than self, and in contrast in America, people give much importance to the individuality and they are more autonomous.
Social Interaction: Social interactions in China are more hierarchical as they prefer family system. However, in America the interactions between the people are more casual than interactions in China.
Religion: In China, the most common beliefs are Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. Although the trio is the more famous way of living in China then the separate religions and we can see a clear effect of these religious values throughout China. In contrast, in America and most western parts of the world, a large scale of the population believes in Christianity.
Politics: Communism is more common in China, and they believe inhomogeneity for its people In contrast America is more likely to promote the individual freedom, and they follow the Democratic point of view in politics (Wu & Keysar, 2007).
Chinese culture has many traditional and cultural values. From the family values point of view, they organize many festivals where they perform their traditional activities. Many ancient Chinese cultural traditions are still followed by Chinese people today.
Now if we discuss the effects of globalization on the world. China is one the most important country that is affected by the globalization. In the older times, they do not follow the American or western culture but in 21st century they are more likely to follow and to adopt the American's culture values. We should say that China knows the importance of the advancement of technology and if they do not follow or if they do not adopt the effects of globalization, it is not possible for them to progress in the world at a quick pace. That is the reason which making China a major players on the global stage.
Firstly, there are many changes arise in the culture of China; the major cities have embraced the Americans modern traditions. As following the sky, rises American hotel chains China has adopted the western techniques to improve and progress their economic market. This adaptation is also affecting the progress of the Chinese politics. They are becoming powerful in their politics. The Chinese government has embraced the advancement but also limits the negative effects of advancement as they know they cannot prevent China from western influences, their government has allowed some traditions from the Americans culture into their culture (Wu & Keysar, 2007).
In addition, China is also adopting Americans culture in their eating, clothing, music, internet and other aspects of their daily life. Now in China big food chains and franchises like KFC and others has been opened which were not seen in their past times, in earlier times they were likely to eat more of their traditional foods like noodles or some other local dishes. Now they have introduced these western setups in their country. Like food, they also have started to wear clothes that belong to the western culture like suits, etc. China has introduced the famous American brands of America like Nike and Adidas. These American cultural values have been introduced in the late 19th century and the earlier 20th century. The use of internet is the most important adaptation China has made in their culture. They have been affected by the Americans companies like Google and Yahoo. It has introduced a way for China to get the information about the American’s concepts, this influence the Chinese culture heavily with the terms and values of the America (Troost, 2008).
American culture promotes the responsibility of an individual, promotes the dignity of work, the value of education in an individual's life, the advantages of the services. It also promotes the purpose of devotion greater than self-promotes and promotes distinction of the family.
Now if we discuss the overall impact of American's culture on China. China has also limited the American's culture to some extent. In the field of technology, China has limited the information that is available on the internet. They have applied Censorship, as they do not want to share the things that might affect negatively on their terms and culture. There is also the countryside in China, which is not aware of the globalization. In only some rare cases, these countryside people may get a chance to experience the effects of globalization. Now the overall influence of American culture on China has made them progress quickly in the modern world.
In This paper, we have discussed the cultural influence and intercultural communication between two major nations i.e. America and China. In addition, we have discussed the J.Maarten Troost's most adventurous tour to the world’s most confusing nation that is China and how he spent the time and shared his experience with the audience in his book. In addition, we have thoroughly investigated the influence of American's cultural influence on China. In addition, the main conclusion of this paper is, with the help of globalization China has issued as one of the major nation in the world. Due to American influence and help, China has improved their selves and their advancement in the 21st century is leading them towards the top.
Bourhis, J., Adams, C., & Titsworth, S. (2009). Style manual for communication studies (3rd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.
Neuliep, J. W. (2014). Intercultural communication: A contextual approach (6th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Troost, J. M. (2008). Lost on Planet China: One man's attempt to understand the world's most mystifying nation. New York: Broadway Books.
Tsai, J. L., Ying, Y.-W., & Lee, P. A. (2000). The Meaning of “Being Chinese” and “Being American”: Variation among Chinese American Young Adults. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology. http://doi.org/10.1177/0022022100031003002
Wu, S., & Keysar, B. (2007). The effect of culture on perspective taking. Psychological Science, 18, 600–606. http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2007.01946.x
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