What is Culture Shock?

Meaning of Culture Shock

Culture shock is a concept that characterizes the phenomenon of the strange that occurs between two cultures , which are represented by individuals or by social groups.

Culture shock is not necessarily harmful, but it can cause discomfort due to the atypical situation . As a result of culture shock, acts of intolerance and discrimination or assimilation and coexistence may occur.

Culture shock occurs when culturally distinct or distant social groups come into contact. It is common for moments of strangeness to occur with respect to the characteristics of the other group, whether in their way of speaking, acting or interpreting reality.

Therefore, withdrawal or approach reactions can occur . Culture shock occurs within all of humanity at different times, but it is quite evident in the age of globalization due to the speed and high frequency of contacts provided by both global transportation and the Internet.

For Fraga, with the growing contact generated by economic globalization and the globalization of culture, it is important to study cultural clashes to humanize relationships and transactions between people and groups.

The globalization of culture is a multicultural phenomenon and goes beyond economic processes and their insertion and exclusion.

The globalization of culture seeks respect for the particular, while seeking the community of all.

This idea is close to the idea of ​​a global village , and culture shock studies can improve contacts between companies, institutions and individuals.

Culture shock is characterized by having four phases according to Oberg and Bellini. The phases refer to how people interact with the cultural differences of their home culture and with the foreign culture, so to speak.

The phases are: honeymoon; rejection regression and isolation; adjustment and adaptation.

Each of them has a specific characteristic and may not go through all the phases.

Bellini stipulates some characteristics for each phase.

The moment of the honeymoon is understanding as the first contacts and they are generally happy, since they refer to new experiences. It can last a few days or weeks.

The rejection period refers to the criticism, resentment and anger that arise from the difficulties that will arise from the differences and expectations created in the previous period.

The feeling of otherness is present and can lead to this rejection. From there, the regression process takes place with possible isolation.

In this phase, the person becomes critical of the environment that surrounds him and feels nostalgic for his own culture, idealizing it and forgetting its defects.

Isolation can come at this stage if the person chooses not to interact with the new local culture , other feelings are anxiety and longing.

And they can affect a person’s behavior and relationships with other groups. This period can last from 6 to 8 weeks.

The last stage is the adaptation that comes with the solution of the crises of the previous stage and he realizes the acceptance of the situation he lives.

Therefore, the relationship between cultures is the subject of the idea of ​​culture shock. At the same time that the phases are seen from an individual point of view, it is necessary to think that it can affect representatives of corporations and countries in the same way, which can damage intercultural relations.

The practice of othering , as anthropology affirms , can be of great help at this time. Otherness refers to the other and the construction of mutual respect and understanding.

It overcomes the idea of ​​empathy because it is not possible to put yourself in the place of the other, due to the cultural differences inherent in each social group.

Otherness focuses on the relationship with the other and not only on the ego and the point of view, and can be a key point to build more harmonious relationships.

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