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Chapter One introduces students to the importance of intercultural communication in today’s multicultural world.  Intercultural communication is put into context first then foundational terms are introduced and defined.  In addition, the important implications in the study of intercultural communication are discussed. Finally, a preview of chapters is provided.


I.          Intercultural communication: A Requirement for the Interdependent Global Society


II.         The interdependent global society


III.       The requirement for intercultural cooperation

A.    Social challenges

B.    Ecological concerns

C.    Humanitarian and legal cooperation

D.    Political issues

E.     Security concerns


IV.       Technology


V.        Developing intercultural awareness

            A. Individual uniqueness

            B. Generalizing

            C. Objectivity

            D. Compromise in intercultural communication

            E. Communication is not the universal solution



Chapter Two extends the discussion of intercultural communication by expanding on the concepts of communication and culture.  The components and characteristics of communication are outlined, as are its uses and definition.  A definition of culture is presented along with its functions, elements, and characteristics.


I.          The uses of communication

            A.         Communication helps fulfill interpersonal needs

            B.         Communication assists with person perception

            C.         Communication establishes cultural and personal identities

            D.         Communication has persuasive qualities

II.         Defining human communication

III.       The ingredients of human communication

IV.        Components of human communication

            A.         Communication is a dynamic process

            B.         Communication is symbolic

            C.         Communication is contextual

1.     Number of participants

2.     Environmental context

3.     Occasion

4.     Time

D.           Communication is self-reflective

E.           Communication is irreversible

F.            Communication has a consequence

G.          Communication is complex

H.          Misconception about human communication

1.        Communication can solve all problems

2.     Some people are born effective communicators

3.         The message you send is the message received

V.        Culture

A.           Culture defined

B.           Characteristics of culture

1.      Culture is shared

2.      Culture is transmitted from generation to generation

3.      Culture is based on symbols

4.      Culture is learned

5.      Culture is dynamic

C.            The elements of culture

1.     Worldview

2.     Religion

3.     History

4.     Values

5.     Social Organizations

6.     Language


Chater three introduces students to the concept of deep structures and the role they play in the development and perpetuation of culture.  A lengthy discussion of the nature, forms, and functions of family is provided, as well as cultural variants in family interaction.  Specifically, how cultural differences in gender roles, group orientation, aging, and social skills influence the family.


I.          The deep structure of culture

            A.         Deep structure institutions transmit culture’s most important messages

            B.         Deep structure institutions and their messages endure

            C.         Deep structure institutions and their messages are deeply felt

            D.         Deep structure institutions supply much of a person’s identity

II.         Family

            A.         Definition of family

            B.         Forms of family

                        1.         Nuclear families

                        2.         Extended families

C.         Globalization and families

            D.         Functions of family

                        1.         Reproductive functions

                        2.         Economic functions

                        3.         Socialization functions

                          4.         Language acquisition function

                        5.         Identity functions

             E.         Cultural variants in family interaction

                          1.         Gender roles

                          2.         Individualism and collectivism

                        3.         Individualism and the family

                        4.         Collectivism and the family

A.          The elderly

      1.          United States

                          2.         Latino

                        3.         Arab

                        4.         Asian

      5.         East African

      6.         American Indian

      7.         African American

B.     Social skills

                        1.         Communication skills

                        2.         Aggressive behavior

C.      Developing communication competence through the family 


   In Chapter Four, students are introduced to the concept of worldview, its manifestations, and its relationship with  culture.  Worldview is framed using the major constructs of religion, secularism, and spiritualism.  Similarly to the previous chapter, the role of culture in intercultural communication is contextualized by providing a simplied outline of the belief systems of some of the worlds major religions, including: Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism (though the latter is not, strictly speaking, a religion).  In each case, the authors explain the origins, core assumptions, and cultural expressions of each belief system. 


I.      Worldview and culture

II.     Manifestations of worldview

III.  Constructs of worldviews

A.    Atheism as a worldview

1. Rejection of God

2. Role of the individual

3. A set of ethical standards

4. The frailty of death

           IV.   Religion and human behavior

A.     Religion in the twenty-first century

1. Globalization and religion

2. Violence and religion

           V. Selecting religious traditions for study

           VI. Common elements of religion

A.    Speculation

B.    Sacred writings

C.    Religious rituals

D.    Ethics

VII.         Christianity

A.    Core assumptions

B.    Cultural expressions of Christianity

1.                   Christianity and community

2.                   Christianity and individualism

3.                   Christianity and “doing”

4.                   Christianity and the future

5.                   Christianity and courage

6.                   Christianity and notions about death

VIII.       Judaism

A.          Origins

B.          Core assumptions

C.          Branches of Judaism

D.          Cultural expressions of Judaism

a.      Oppression and persecution

b.     Learning

c.      Social justice

d.     Family and community

e.      Judaism and ethics

f.      Jewish notions about death


IX.                  Islam

A.          Origins

B.    Core assumptions

1.     One God

2.     The Koran

3.     Submission

4.     Predestination

5.     Judgment

6.     Five Pillars  of Islam

C.    Cultural expressions of Islam

1.         The message and response to jihad

2.         A complete way of life

3.         Sharia law

4.         Gender

D.              Ethics and Islam

E.               Islamic notions about death


X.              Hinduism

                        A. Origins


B.     Sacred texts

1.     The Vedas

2.     The Upanishads

3.     The Bhagavad-Gita

C.    Core assumptions

1.     Divine in everything

2.     Ultimate reality

3.     Brahman

4.     Multiple paths

D.    Cultural expression of Hinduism

1.     Complete way of life

2.     Dharma

3.     Karma

4.     Four stages of life

E.     Ethics and Hinduism

F.     Notions about death


XI.            Buddhism

B.    Origins

C.    Core assumptions

1.     The four noble truths

2.     The eightfold path

D.    Cultural expressions of Buddhism

1.     The use of silence

2.     Impermanency

3.     Karma

E.     Buddhist ethics

F.     Buddhist notions about death


XII.         Confucianism

                         A.  Confucius the man

                         B.  Core assumptions

C.    Analects

D.    Cultural expressions of Confucianism

1.     Jen (humanism)

2.     Li (rituals, rites, proprieties, conventions)

3.     Te (power)

4.     Wen (the arts)

E.     Confucianism and communication

F.     Confucianism and ethics

G.    Confucian notions about death



Be sure to read all of your exam carefully. In Communication courses there are always rewards for those who pay close attention to messages. J