• Document: Can We Flip The Iceberg? Considering A New Approach To Intercultural Dialogue And Training
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Can We ‘Flip The Iceberg’? Considering A New Approach To Intercultural Dialogue And Training Young SIETAR Congress Ravensbrück, Germany October 18-21, 2007 Facilitated by Ruth E. Van Reken Reviewing “what is culture?” and the interaction of its visible and invisible elements What is culture? • “Customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group.” --Webster’s Tenth Collegiate Dictionary • “. . . System of shared assumptions, beliefs and values. It is the framework from which we interpret and make sense of life and the world around us.” --Paul Hiebert, Cultural Anthropology, 2d ed. The role of the visible and invisible layers of culture A look at Drs. Robert Kohl/Gary Weaver’s cultural iceberg Customs Food Language Traditions World View Values Basic Beliefs The Cultural Iceberg @ used by permission in Third Culture Kids: The Experience of Growing Up Among Worlds Historically, the visible elements of culture have been used to both express and identify the invisible layers. In today’s world, the visible expressions of culture are becoming more uniform throughout the world but the elements in the invisible layer are much slower to change. The result is more confusion between people because what they expect the person to be when they first meet isn’t necessarily how/who the person is. Cultural Identity in Relationship to Surrounding Dominant Culture Patterns of How People Relate to Surrounding Dominant Culture FOREIGNER HIDDEN IMMIGRANT Look different Look alike Think different Think different ADOPTED MIRROR Look different Look alike Think alike Think alike Copyright 1996-David C. Pollock/Ruth E. Van Reken The stress for many people in today’s globalizing world, particularly those who grew up among many cultural worlds, is not from the multiplicity of cultures they experience but comes when they try to repatriate or fit into some other cultural box others expect them to belong to but which is being defined in racial, nationalistic, or other more traditional ways of defining “culture”. Ironically, when people are in the foreigner or mirror box, who they are inside matches what others expect them to be when looking from the outside. Their identity is clear and life is relatively simple. When, however, they are in the hidden immigrant or adopted box, life can become quite complicated. Who others expect them to be is not who they are because they have learned their cultural cues amid and among various cultural groups. Another challenge for all in today’s highly mobile world is that they may be changing boxes as their mobility takes them from one cultural community or environment to another. Depending on their circumstances, some never know what it is to live in either the Foreigner or Mirror boxes where identities are relatively clear but may always be in one of the more ambiguous boxes of the Hidden Immigrant or Adopted. The reality of the challenges many face begins to grow. Perhaps one of the greatest gifts to give CCKs and CCAs is to acknowledge the reality that this world of multiple cultures they have experienced is a valid place of belonging, even if not rooted in one geographical place or ethnicity. Need to stop “pathologizing” the issues but begin to perhaps define new norms. What these patterns of cultural identity/relationship can lead to Hidden Diversity— a diversity of experience that shapes a person’s life and world view but is not readily apparent on the outside, unlike the usual diversity markers such as race, ethnicity, nationality, etc Ruth E.Van Reken and Paulette Bethel, CIES, 2003. Common reactions as people try to sort out identity issues… “Chameleon”—tries to find “same as” identity “Screamer”—tries to find “different from” identity “Wallflower”—tries to find “non-identity” Your turn: -Tell your stor

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