Blog Post #5 – Intercultural Paradox

The us-them dynamic was almost inevitable as we began working as a team in the beginning of the semester. I oftentimes find it prevalent when we work in our groups because of the way our team divides the work. We usually divide it between those in the US working on one part and those in the Netherlands working on another. This not only inherently created “two groups” within our own but also created a wide gap of communication. Moreover, the us-them dynamic was even more evident when looking for global connections in our community. Through this self-exclusivity, our group members often found themselves in an observational strategy where we find their cultural establishments to be unique and different to that of regular American culture we perceive ourselves. This helped in clearly identifying their establishments as globally different, unique and specific. Moreover, Van Asperen’s idea of Communicative Moral Universalism describes when individuals have their own choice in determining their behavior and their culture is not a defining factor for that. Our classroom and our group members are all aware and inclusive of each other’s differing ideas that stem from different backgrounds, experiences and ideologies. Through this Communicative Moral Universalism, we are able to receive different approaches and ideas to tackling assignments believe each person’s differing outputs are valuable and impactful on our final product. I’m so relieved to be in a group with different backgrounds and ethnicities because it definitely helps in finding new ways to view things and view new ways to be productive.

One Comment on “Blog Post #5 – Intercultural Paradox

  1. Van Asperen had two intercultural ideologies: monism and relativism. When working in our intercultural teams in finding globalization in our communities, we first began with a monism approach and then a relativism approach. In the monism approach, Van Asperen says that, “it’s either yours or mine, but actually it’s mine.” When working together, we found that American students had a different working dynamic than those in the Netherlands. The way we had worked together was difficult because we found it challenging to choose 10 photos for our photo essay. While some of us said, “this picture is definitely worth putting in,” others thought differently and we couldn’t seem to find an equilibrium. Furthermore, it was even more difficult because we created an “us-them” dynamic (especially those in the US) when choosing the photos. For example, we thought it was challenging to find “culturally different” establishments in the Netherlands because those in the US didn’t think they were “exotic” enough (because of how different our views on culture were between us). This further extended the “us-them” dynamic, a position that us in the US inherently acquired. Eventually, we reached a relativism approach because we determined that culture is not synonymous to being astronomically foreign. Although aspects in the Netherlands weren’t as exotic as those in America expected globalization to be like in the Netherlands, they were still examples of globalization because they utilized different cultures in the influence of their establishments!

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