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CMM 106 : Intercultural Communication

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CMM 106 : Intercultural Communication

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CMM 106 : Intercultural Communication

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Course Code: CMM 106
University: Vesalius College is not sponsored or endorsed by this college or university

Country: Belgium


The critical review is where you will ‘review’ the first reading (key ideas, arguments, main points etc) and you also draw upon two other readings in this section. This is what makes the review ‘critical’ as you are providing the audience with a balanced perspective of your main reading based upon two other readings. Again summarising the main points of each reading will provide you with a perspective of how these readings are similar and different and will help you to identify some of the key concepts. 
Now you have your first draft you can re-read and edit as necessary.
A note on week one reading – The main idea of this reading is not the anecdote of Ho Man and Steven – this is merely the authors providing an example of intercultural communication – this section only deserves one paragraph of your summary – not the summary itself. 
So your critical review will hopefully be structured as follows:
Critical Review
Reference List


In order to understand intercultural communication, it is first important to understand culture and communication separately. Culture refers to the beliefs, ideas, manners, objects and behaviors common to individuals of specific society. Communication, on the other hand means the exchange of messages from one person to another, one group to another group and so on within a society. Intercultural communication hence, refers to the exchange of messages between individuals of different cultures.
This paper will review the article written by Scollon, Scollon and Jones (2011) titled Intercultural communication: A discourse approach to understand intercultural communication in-depth. The paper will systematically summarize the article first and then present a critical analysis. The analysis will be done by comparing and contrasting the article with other articles written on similar topic.
The authors first define intercultural communication in an interesting way by providing an instance of Christian Chinese and a Buddhist American. They explain that although this may seem a strange situation, most university students in Hong Kong are Christians while Buddhism has been growing rapidly as the most followed religion in California. The authors then move on to state that intercultural communication is more complicated that one thinks it is particularly in today’s rapidly globalizing world. According to the authors, it is problematic to define culture as it might have innumerable connotations. It might refer to the culture of two different nations, the culture of homosexuality, the Christian or Buddhist culture, the culture in universities and so on. However, the authors provide important segmentation of culture as it means to different people.
Culture, as per some views is a verb in the sense that it is not something that people reside in or possess rather, it is something that people act upon. Possessing specific abilities like singing certain kind of songs, or handling machines, dress in certain ways and so on refer to culture in this sense of the term. In regards to intercultural communication, this definition of culture is significant. As per this view, intercultural communication takes place if an individual focuses on the things a person is doing and the way he or she is doing it.
Communication on the other hand, is very complicated according to the authors because people mostly do not communicate or convey the things they mean always. The authors delve upon four different aspects of communication and the complexities associated with it. The first aspect is that language is filled with ambiguity, secondly, conclusions must be drawn about meaning, thirdly, these conclusions are mostly dormant or fixed and lastly, people take least time in drawing conclusions.  The article then segregates each aspect and explains them elaborately.
While explaining the first element, Scollon, Scollon and Jones (2011) start with ambiguity of words in language. They give several instances of sentences to explain clearly their point. According to the authors, the prepositions such as ‘in’ and ‘at’ are very difficult to understand because their meanings inhabit only partially in the words themselves. These words do not provide complete information about the sentence in which they are used. The ambiguity in language is also visible in the use of the sentences. The authors explain that sentences too produce ambiguity as per the contexts. Then, they move on to explain ambiguity in language at the discussion level. The famous example of the “two sorries” by the Bush administration in 2001 when a U.S. spy plane caused the crashing of a Chinese fighter jet and death of its pilot have been used to exemplify this ambiguity. In the two letters of apology, the Bush administration first said sorry to the loss suffered by the pilot’s family and the second one was an apology for landing on Chinese soil without verbal clearance. The entire episode brought to the surface the ambiguity in discourse of different cultures.
Critical review
While Scollon, Scollon and Jones (2011) were very clear and lucid in their explanation of intercultural communication, the examples were very basic. Nonetheless, they provided a thorough understanding of the term intercultural communication. One important thing to note in their article is that they have dedicated two separate sections on culture and communication. Further, the authors have broken down the different aspects and issues associated with culture and communication to explain those clearly. The complications related to intercultural communication have been thoroughly discussed by the authors.
It is but imperative to state that understanding intercultural communication cannot be confined to basic examples of interaction between Facebook friends from different cultures or so on. It needs an explanation of other important aspects associated with intercultural communication such as diversity, globalization, mobility or migration. Other important topics on intercultural communication may also include the question of citizenship and language. As Heugh (2013) points out in her article titled Mobility, Migration and Sustainability: refiguring languages in diversity, a certain pattern of migration has been visible in Europe that has brought about significant changes within the cultural and linguistic ecologies. Although the authors does not directly mention or explain intercultural communication, the terms and concepts of diversity explain it clearly. The author focuses mostly on diversity and on ‘super-diversity’ within the Australian context. With an understanding of Scollon, Scollon and Jones’ (2011) article, it becomes easier to understand the significance of diversity that is growing at a fast pace in the modern globalized world especially in Australia and the problems. Intercultural communication on such contexts becomes extremely crucial in order to maintain the reputation of a country promoting diversity.
In the article Citizenship, Language, and Superdiversity: Towards Complexity authored by Blommaert, (2013), the concept of super-diversity is further explained along with its complexities. The article also talks about the notions of citizenship, ‘dis-citizenship’ and claims that integration of cultures for some citizens might be disintegration for some other citizens of the same culture. Intercultural communication hence becomes even more difficult and complex.
The article, Citizenship and Superdiversity: Towards Complexity, by Jan Blommaert, sheds light on the challenges, which play a dominant role in understanding the concept of dis-citizenship. Focus is laid on the concept of superdiversity, which provides a hypothetical insight into the integration within the segments of the society. Through this hypothesis, the author exposes the readers to a polycentricity, instead of plurality. Similarity has been established between the forms of dis-citizenship.
The variable “language” relates to the aspect of communication. The people within the society belong to various socio-cultural background. Herein lays the appropriateness of the aspects of “intercultural communication”. Cultural diversity is enhanced through respecting the customs, traditions and cultural values. Language is one of an important component within this aspect, which enhances the respect for the social integrity. Hypothetical approach towards citizenship can be correlated to the aspect of language barriers, which contradicts the true essence of the term “cultural diversity”. Polycentricity indicates a pluralism, which enriches the existentialism for the citizens.
In concluding remarks, it must be stated that the authors of the main article in review have provided a strong overview of intercultural communication. The various examples used in the chosen article have provided a strong ground by which one could demarcate between just communication and intercultural communication. In addition, the complexities of cultural and communication have also been examined and explained. The article has elaborated lucidly on the issues faced by individuals in intercultural communication. These issues included ambiguity in language and the conclusions drawn by the receiver based on that ambiguity. While critically analyzing the article, other perspectives have also been included. The other two articles used to analyze the chosen article, have highlighted the concepts like diversity and super-diversity and its influence on intercultural communication in different settings.
Blommaert, J., 2013. Citizenship, language, and superdiversity: Towards complexity. Journal of Language, Identity & Education, 12(3), pp.193-196.
Heugh, K., 2013. Mobility, migration and sustainability: re-figuring languages in diversity. International journal of the sociology of language, 2013(222), pp.5-32.
Scollon, R., Scollon, S.W. and Jones, R.H., 2011. Intercultural communication: A discourse approach. John Wiley & Sons.

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