Communication Between Cultures

(Sean Pound) #1
These different identities we have discussed are important to the study of intercultural
communication because, according to Guirdham, they“can be used to identify similari-
ties and differences in behaviors, interpretations, and norms.”^7 Lynch and Hanson agree
when they point out,“Aperson’s cultural identity exerts a profound influence on his or
her lifeways.”^8 For the purposes of this
book, those “lifeways” offer insights
into how people communicate with
one another. The notion of identity is
so crucial to the study of intercultural
communication that Chapter 7 exam-
ines this topic in detail.


The Chinese say that if you know the family, you do not need to know the individ-
ual. A Hebrew proverb states,“My father planted for me, and I planted for my
children.”In Africa, the saying is,“A person who has children does not die.”And
in the United States, children are told,“The apple does not fall far from the tree.”
Although these ideas differ slightly, all call attention to the significance and endur-
ing quality of family and the universal form of dependence. Haviland and his associ-
ates point out the importance of family in this paragraph:“No matter how each
culture defines what constitutes a family, this social unit forms the basic cooperative
structure that ensures an individual’s primary needs and provides the necessary care
for children to develop as healthy and productive members of the group and thereby
ensure its future.”^9


What is unique about the deep structure institutions of family,
state, and religion that makes them endure?

Families are
instrumental in
people about their
identities, how they fit
into their culture, and
where to find security.

Courtesy of Edwin McDaniel

Deep Structure Institutions Supply Much of a Person’s Identity 73

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