The Dimensions of Cultural Context

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The Dimensions of Cultural Context

“The cultural context in which human communication occurs is perhaps the most defining influence on human interaction. Culture provides the overall framework in which humans learn to organize their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors in relation to their environment” (1). By going through the five dimensions of the cultural context of Brazil, a lot is revealed about the interesting culture, and gives a better understanding of how Brazilians live.

The first dimension in the cultural context is whether the culture is individualistic or collectivistic. Most Latin countries are collectivistic, but Brazil has a slightly higher individualistic rank compared to them. “Despite regional and social class variations, the Brazilian way of life has common traits that distinguish it from the customary ways of dealing with people and situations in North America and Europe and even in other Latin American countries” (2). Brazilians are more individualistic in other ways that they are more self-centered. They find ways to bend the rules and find alternative ways of doing things. Brazilians, though, are not one hundred percent individualistic. They are considered a good mix of being both individualistic and collectivistic because while many of them tend to bend the rules, there are those who place a very high value on the family relationships. There are many good parent/children relationships, and there is a lot of value placed on these. Many of the responsibilities are shared, but on the other hand, many of them are independent. According to Hofstede’s individualistic rank, “Brazil falls right in the middle at 38”, suggesting that it is easy to see that they are a mixture of both (1). Since Brazilians are such a mixture of both individualistic and collectivistic cultures, they have a social behavior that is guided by one’s own attitude, while the culture can still be taught to learn to cooperate and get along for the good of the group. The individualistic and collectivistic aspects of the Brazilian culture are both seen as vertical. The power distance is unequal and there is unequal power in these groups. “Socioeconomic inequality involves subtle forms of residential, educational, and workplace discrimination, in such ways that members of distinct socioeconomic strata tend to live, work, and circulate in different settings. The we...

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...ntext is the Uncertainty Avoidance. Uncertainty ranks high in Brazil, which “indicates a high concern for rules, regulations, controls, and issues with career security -- typically, a society that does not readily accept change” (3). Being different is thought of as dangerous. Brazil has a Uncertainty Avoidance Score of 76. Although the feelings associated with uncertainty are personal and subjective, they can be shared by whole cultures. Although anxiety creates the same physiological responses in humans, what triggers anxiety and one’s level of tolerance for it are learned. Through living in Brazil, these Brazilians have learned through their culture to have such a strong uncertainty avoidance.

By going through all of the five dimensions, a lot can be learned about a different country, and it becomes obvious about how different cultures can be, while at the same time, they can be pretty similar. Learning about Brazil has opened my eyes to look more deeper into cultures that I don’t know much about.

Work Cited Page

(1). Interculutal Communication: A Contextual Approach

(2). http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/brtoc.html

(3). http://www.cyborlink.com/besite/brazil.htm

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