Primary Exam Question:

Given our understanding of differences across culture and the use of media in communication, how might culture and media interact (how does culture predict media use?)

In developing your response, draw from the following list of theories and concepts:

Hofstede's Cultural Dimensions
Self-Construal Theory
Uses & Gratifications Theory
Relational / Nonverbal Communication
Uncertainty Reduction Theory
Social Penetration Theory
Theory of Conversational Implicature
Speech Acts Theory
Politeness / Face Theory

My response:  given through examples

Maybe start with explaining hofstede's dimensions (5), self-construals (Kim, Markus / Kitayama) and Edward Hall (high / low context cultures)  Might reference culture shock, Fontaine's class here too.


Then get some good examples to bring the other theories in:

1.  Example of Claire / Miwa email / party disaster

- explain Claire's cultural background, changed habits over time

- explain politeness / face needs

- explain cultural difference of uncertainty avoidance


2.  Example of Jeff vs. Spazz - online gaming differences (collective gaming vs. individualist gaming:  City of Heroes vs. Return to Castle Wolfenstein)

- Explain uses / gratifications, how it might apply to culture- different cultures fulfill needs differently


3.  Example of Chat program - people of two cultures interact without realizing it

When talking about high / low context cultural differences- bring in the theory of communicative responsibility (such as high context person A talking to low context person B) - as the informer, person A judges that he needs to raise the context level of the communication in order to create an isomorphic meme (meaning) state

This theory builds on theory of conversational implicature - answer the question of how implicit / explicit do we need to be in a conversation?  This 'quantity' maxim can violate expectations and be seen as either appropriate, indirect, or condescending, depending on the case.  Both parties judge the conversation and will alter levels of their communicative responsibility to become more like the teacher or more like the student- based on factors such as who is the source of the shared meaning,in-group climate, and shared experiences.

Expectancy - violation theory (Judy Burgoon) applies here as well.  In a face to face context, we might dismiss anxiety and uncertainty (Anxiety - Uncertainty Managment Theory - Gudykunst)  based on culture, but online, we might not due to our lack of knowledge of who we are dealing with.  This anxiety would cause increased stress and would cause us to behave differently (similar to experiencing culture shock).

Bring in online dating:  deception theory - easier to be fooled on the Internet, even easier to be fooled by other cultures (because our tendency is to miss cultural clues) - which may make us suspicious of other cultures


Hofstede's Cultural Dimensions (Hofstede; Edward HALL)
Self-Construal Theory (Min Sun Kim, Marcus and Kitayama)
Uses & Gratifications Theory
Relational / Nonverbal Communication (Joe Walther) (Bateson:  content / relational portion of comm, dominant / submissive)
Uncertainty Reduction Theory (Gudykunst - AUM theory, Wiseman (IC), Sunnafrank)
Self-Disclosure (Altman & Taylor)
Social Penetration Theory
Theory of Conversational Implicature (Grice;  Communicative Responsibility (Aune))
Speech Acts Theory (Searle)
Politeness / Face Theory (Brown & Levinson, Goffman)
Pragmatics (Clark, Holtgraves, draw from Searle)