We live in a world today, where our assumption and stereotypes of people from different cultures are based on what we see through media and popular culture forms such as TV, movies, and sometimes celebrities. If we were to take time and list down what we think of different cultures how could we all say we know these things for certain? Some may have traveled to different countries and learned things, or perhaps know people from different backgrounds, but for the majority of people, they construct their knowledge through media and popular culture. Media, popular culture, and globalization play significant roles within the world of intercultural communication.


How do we define media? Well is the terms of broadcast, media is refers to the modes, means, or channel through which messages are communicated. For example speaking on the form is a medium of communication because we are connecting from one point to another. Mass media can be viewed in different forms such as newspapers, magazines, TV, movies, and even music. These are considered to be mass media because they spread out to a large audiences of people.


Network Media is defined as the World Wide Web, which connects multiple points to multiple points in addition to serving interpersonal and mass media. Since the growth of technology within the past decade it has tremendously helped the growth off mass media and it will continue to grow. According to MediaMaking, the media is composed of three elements, technology, social relationships or institutions such as broadcasting organizations and music and film companies, and culture form.  With technology due to the growth and new findings content providers must keep up to date with the most recent forms of delivering media because a majority of  today’s society is very much consumer driven. For example Apple makes a killing every year coming out with a new iPhone because people always want the latest, newest, and most technologically advance item they can place their hands on. Having the older model generally with have people feeling left behind. When it comes to culture forms is refers to formats such as newscasts, sitcoms, action dramas, or thrillers.


Media and popular culture and two terms that tend to get mixed and confused but are very much different from one another. Popular culture refers to systems and artifacts that the general public or broad masses with a society share or about which most people have some understanding. Some forms of popular culture are, hamburger and fries, baggy jeans. Tattoos, celebrities, music videos, sports, etc. in a world where media is so dominant, there is very little that not considered to be popular culture. From things in entertainment, fashion, health, and even religion, almost everything we know can be turned into things that are packaged, bought, and sold.


Globalization is known as the integration among people and their cultures. Many people have seen the American pop culture and have adopted the culture as their own and it continues to spread like wildfire. According to Intercultural Communication integration on a global scale has led to the fragmentation and disruption of economic, political, and cultural cohesiveness within nations and communities. Another way to view this would be cultural imperialism. Cultural imperialism is the domination of one culture over other through culture forms such as popular culture, media, and culture products. We see culture imperialism everywhere whenever we travel. I personally travel to Brazil back in 2012 and they are a very developed country, though they are not still necessarily caught up to the U.S they mainly have the same of technology that we do, and have adopted many of the culture we practice her. You can go into town and here many American artist being played on the radio, you see American TV shows on TV translated in Portuguese, and you’ll even see American type restaurants such as McDonald’s with lines out the door.

Media is around us constantly and it is a growing factor in everyone’s daily lives. With the power of media  it give many people to learn about one and other and cultures to merge and evolve.


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Day of the Dead 2

I attend the second day of the dead event that was on November 2nd 2015. The event was basically a skit of showing how in Mexican day of the dead culture they like to invite the spirits of those that passed into their homes. In this event they were wanting to invite the spirits of Captain Reinhardt and Col. Sharp who are the founders of our school and are buried at the cemetery down the road. They present a skit where they spoke on their what their vision was on the school and what it meant to them, as we all sat around on blankets.

I really like this event because it help us learn a lot of the history from he school and what it was founded on. I learned many things that I did not know. This pertained to our intercultural class because we spoke on how in the day of the dead culture, people love to make altars to bring forth the spirits of the ones that passed away. They build altars that bring forth the spirits. they brought a lot of artifacts that would pertain to captain Reinhardt and made and altar based on him and the history of Reinhardt.


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Day of the Dead Day 1

I attend the year of Mexico event that was held on November 1st 2015. This event was dedicated to remember our loved ones and bringing something forth to an altar, and sharing to one another about what they meant to us. The even started off with some readings that Dr. Gregory had provide for use which are basically like poems in remembrance of the dead. One by one afterwards people got up and had the option to share stories about people that we care for that our now gone.



This pertained to our intercultural class because of the sculls of the livings book that we had been reading. In the book they showed us many examples of different types of alter that people would make in remembrance of the dead and it all depended on different things that person would like. Such as their favorite foods, things, etc. this is a great learning experience because it may have seemed as if we were just talking about our loved ones only but we were also able to step in someone else’s culture.

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Let’s Get A Little Deeper

As an ethnographer, there a lot more than just learning simply about the micro culture. As an ethnographer your job is to get in-depth with the micro culture and emerge yourself so you can get a better understanding of what it is. As those that are interviewing our informants we need to get a better understanding of they say and their different terms and how to better get into better depth of their world by asking the right type of questions.


When involving ourselves into another culture we tend to hear words or lingo that we verily do not understand. We can find words that name things when informants talk with other members of their micro culture which we would call folk terms. We see folk terms around us without realizing. Football players use many terms as they are practicing and playing. They use terms such as nascar which means pick up the paste or terms such as grind which means work harder and do better. Learning their folk terms helps us get a better understanding of what they are conversation about and how to better interact.

When speaking to your informant it is best to ask descriptive questions to get a better response. According to the book, The Culture Experience, there are four types of descriptive questions: (1) grand tour questions, (2) mini tour questions, (3) story questions, and (4) native language check questions.


Grand tour questions are the most general kind of descriptive questions. They are normally asked to describe a space or an action of a situation. Mini tour questions ask for more detail that you have already discovered. They provide greater detail and a fuller picture of the informant’s world. Story questions helps the informants tell you about and actual events or places associated with the micro culture you are studying, for example “could you explain what happened at the mall?” then the informant would go forth with explaining the scenario. Native language questions was fairly new to me. They are a kind of descriptive question designed to check to see if term given to you by your informant is one the informant normally uses with other members of the cultural group. It helps insure that the terms you are learning from them are actual folk terms and not translations or approximations.


When in a micro culture that has many roles and different “players”, using a taxonomic structure can very well help you organize who is who and what their title is. According to The Cultural Experience, taxonomies are simply lists of different things that are classified together under a domain word by members of a micro culture on the basis of some shared certain attributes. For example if I were to speak about cars that could be considered the domain, then I would proceed to speak about different type of cars such as Honda, Chevrolet, and Dodges, and to even further break it down I could break each car company to their different subcategories such as Honda Accords, Civics, and Elements.


According to The Cultural Experience, the total meaning of any cultural category consists of all the shared categories it is related to in the mind of micro cultural members and the relationships that bind them to the category being defined. They would see these related categories as attributes that basically describe the category. When asking questions about attributes keep in mind there are four different types of attribute questions: definition questions, comparison questions, triadic sorting questions, and judgment questions. Definitions questions ask an informant to tell you what a single category means. For example when I gave an example of the different folk terms that football players use such as nascar, a descriptive question would be “you said nascar, what exactly does that mean?” then the informant would go into what they meant about that term.


Comparison questions ask your informant to compare two of the categories in the contrast set. For example if someone to explain why they felt their car was better they would compare it to another brand and speak on what the differences where. For example “take the Honda Accord the Chevy Tahoe, can you explain the differences?” Triadic sorting questions are similar to comparisons questions, but they ask the informant to compare three, not two, categories. For example they would say “between a Honda, Chevy, or Ford, which two do you think are the most alike and how are they different from the other?” When it comes to judgmental questions you are basically asking the informant to tell you what they prefer when it comes to something within their micro culture. Such as “what is your favorite car of them all?” asking these different type of questions will give you better responses rather than just plain or quick responses.

While learning about your micro culture learning how to properly speak to you informant and knowing what type of questions to ask to get better responses is very important. Knowing the lingo, folk terms, different attributes, will help you get a better understanding what they live in from day-to-day and what they experience. As we go deeper within our micro cultures and actually understand what is going on we might be able to see how they are living.

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Diving into Cultutre

How many of us can really say that we’ve discovered many other cultures? If I were to ask many people around me, that number could dwindle down to very few. Not many people are willing to come way out their comfort zone and experience someone else’s life or point of view. In the textbook the cultural experience we learn about doing that very thing of coming out of our little bubbles by learning about others around us that experience life through different lenses and backgrounds.  Learning about these outside of my own comfort level I focused on culture, ethnography, micro cultures, cultural informants, and did research on a specific ethnographic topic.



There are many attributes to the word culture. According to the textbook, The Cultural Experience, 4 out of the 6 attributes of culture that I found the most important. First we see that culture is learned and not inherited. We are not people who are automatically born with culture but we learn it from those that are around us such as parents, friends, family, and group members. we imitate what we see going around us and we learn from certain behaviors and are often corrected by mistakes which become part of our daily lives and later become such normal behavior that it becomes a part of who we are and what we define our culture to be.




Culture is also learned to be shared. Meaning that this is social knowledge that they are unique to individuals that are not a part of that culture. A popular example of shared culture for shared culture would be language. I speak English, and share that with fellow Americans because that is part of my American culture, but for those come to the united states and do not understand us, that is not understood to them and they see us speaking the same language and that as out shared culture even though some of us are very different from one another. Culture also generates behavior. When we are greeting one another different cultures use different form of behavior to greet one another. In the United States we tend to shake someone’s hand or say “Hi” or sometimes even both. Depending on where we are or how well we know that person our behaviors tend to be different such as if our parents or loved ones we might add a greeting with a hug or a kiss but we wouldn’t normally do that with a complete stranger.


Culture also interprets experience.  The book explains how when we enter any kind of social experience, we use our cultural knowledge to identify where we are and what is going on so that we will know how to behave. For example it would be out of the norm if we saw one of our professor come into class wearing bathing suits because that is not what we would expect them to be wearing that is outside the norm.


What is ethnography? According to The Cultural Experience, ethnography is defined as the process of discovering and describing a culture. It is known to be a research approach to gain cultural knowledge of a social group. You can present your findings in many ways such as writing, visual, oral presentations, or present them to a large audience. When jumping into a new environment people tend to bite ethnocentric, meaning they have their mind-set that their culture is superior then another and are not keeping an open mind to learning about the culture there are researching about.


Micro cultures, which is smaller groups inside society, is a part of many things we see day-to-day. Each of us are a part of a micro culture where there we like it or not. We are football players, teachers, an artist, police officer, and many other things. According to the textbook they are cultures associated with groups that form for a variety of reasons but do not consume every hour our lives. Everyone participates in several micro cultures at many times of our lives. When we interact with others that we have common interest that is another micro culture that we are a part of that can be different from another group that we identify with.


When you beginning to learn about the micro culture of your choosing, a great way to get a deeper look into your culture, is to find an informant. Having an informant will bring you deeper look into your topic with one on one interaction. There are many ways to finding an informant. You can contact someone who you already know that is involved in this micro culture. You can contact a perfect stranger, which at times can be difficult because you have to be able to find someone who is comfortable and willing to serve as an informant. Another way is through connections if others who may know an informants, which is called a go-between.

No Money, No Honey

This ethnography is written and studied by Melissa Cowell

First and foremost this is a topic that tends to be frowned upon in the world that we live in today. I took interest in reading and learning about thing because there are many girls my age and some that I knew personally that chose this path to go to in life to make money. I used to always wonder why girls always resort to this to make money. Yes, as we all know they make such large amounts of money in such short period of time but was that really worth the shame, risk, and life that it comes with.

Melissa Cowell begins by giving background on her informant, which she does not use her real name, Shadow. Shadow in high school was a very conservative girl when it came to her body, she was extremely modest. Clearly a lot has changed because now she is an exotic dancer.

She did a lot of background research on that for of “career”, which many people wouldn’t even consider it to be such thing. She learned that exotic dancers challenge societal norms of acceptability and are subjected to more abuse and less protection from social ostracism, which means exclusion from society, than most working people.

In her research she did many of her interviews by phone and was also introduced to another exotic dancer named Jasmine by Shadow. She learns a lot about what goes on during an average shift and what each other coworkers contribute to the club that they dance for. When you walk into Club X you would probably see a bouncer from the moment you walk in probably checking ID’s or making sure that everyone is safe.

When the bar is empty bouncers are also used to sometimes playing music. The DJ occupies the music during busier hours, while part of his job is to encourage tipping between songs with different sayings. Bartenders work at the bar that lines up against the wall. The bar staff assist the dancers, scheduling them, letting them leave, recusing them from crazy customers, and giving them tips on the right customers with money. She include a chart on the amount that the dancers tip out the bouncer, bartender, Dj, and cocktail waitress.

Many of the other dancers are minors and are not allowed to be in the bar unless they are dancing. Many of them that are friends with the bouncers and bartenders are sometimes allowed to stay their in between dancers. This reason because many of the girls are personally requested by customers and are bringing clientele to the bar which will later on benefit the others. Throughout there interview they spoke on different dances that they do personally on stage to attract various customers which is initially what makes them their money.

Many customers have been known to verbally or physically abuse the dancers, or to solicit them for sex. They do understand that what comes with the job, they are used to inappropriate comments. There are strict rules that touching dancers and prostitution are illegal. Neither are they allowed to do private house calls, mainly for safety reasons.

All in all, Melissa learned a lot from these ladies, but one question she failed to ask was why the informants chose that path and what let them to be exotic dancers. you learn a lot from setting yourself in others shoes. you get to see their views and think many of the things they think probably daily.

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Coming To America

When we try and look down the line of who we are and where we come from each and every one of will have a distinct answer. We all come from somewhere whether we realize it or not. Where are your ancestors from? When many people first came to the United States it was for new opportunities and engaging into a new world with the possibility of growth and freedom. With the United States becoming the country full of migrants and becoming the world largest melting pot many began to grasp the thoughts of intercultural relationships. Within chapter 5&7 of Intercultural Communication we see a beautiful tie between migration and interracial living. The world we live in the growing melting pot day by day and we see that different cultures interact with one another.


According to the textbook Intercultural Communication, Migrants is describe as people who move from their primary cultural context, changing their place of residence for an extended period of time. Within that definition a lone there are also different types of migrants. The most common form of migrant that we see are known as immigrants. Immigrants are voluntary migrants who leave one country and settle permanently in another country. Someone deciding to leave there country of origin is never easy. I know in close range that it is never easy. My mother is originally and immigrant to the United States. Her reason to come to come to this country was because she came from a third world country that didn’t give as much opportunities and came from a poor family. So in order to someday make a better life for her future children she felt that it was best to go somewhere where essentially all things are possible.


Lately in recent news today we are seeing refugees, people are forced to flee for safety from their country of origin due to war, fear of persecution, or famine. In world news we are seeing thousand and thousand Syrian refugees fleeing from their country. Issues began rising in Syria since 2011 when Syrian refugee-crisis-europerebels grew against the Syrian government and there preside Bashar Al-Assadnt. In the past year matter have gotten worst because of the rise of the terrorist group ISIS. More than 200,000 Syrians, according to CNN, have died in the past four years. According to the United Nations, another four million have left the country, mostly to Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Eight million Syrians have been displaced within their own country, others live in refugee camps just outside and many have escaped to foreign countries without any refugee protection, including jobs and educations. Many of these people are trying to flee their own country to make a better life for themselves and their children and are trying to make their way to European countries such as England, France, and Germany.

Every day we walk around and we see others that look different from us and that are from different cultural backgrounds. With the U.S. becoming such a large melting pot that it is, it is becoming the norm to see interracial relationships all around, for example with friendships or even romantic relationships we can see a variety of different cultures and race interacting with one another.

Parents with smiling daughter

Parents with smiling daughter

Generally when people think interracial relationships they think those that are black and white no other races are included much but interracial can mean any race or any cultural background you can think of. In the textbook Intercultural Communications, research shows (Martin Bradford, 2003), that those who had dated intercultural were more like to have grown up in racially and ethnically diverse neighborhoods and had family members who had dated intercultural. Even though our country is a large melting pot and there is an increased ethnic, racial, and cultural diversity within the U.S. and a greater acceptance then there was long ago of intercultural relationships, most people still live, work, worship, and socialize in largely segregated groups.

Closeup image of hands of businesspeople on top of each other as symbol of their partnership http://www.uschamberfoundation.org/initiative/diversity-and-inclusion

Closeup image of hands of businesspeople on top of each other as symbol of their partnership

The world that we live in today has changed it drastic was. The movement of migration has given opportunities for other cultures to merge and learn from one another and start new lives and form hybrid cultures. With many different people coming from all over the world for many different reasons our growing melting pot is growing more and more each day.

“Different roads sometimes lead to the same castle.” ― George R.R. Martin


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Beyond Culture

According to our textbook, Intercultural Communication, nearly 7 billion of us are from different. That means you reading this is from a different cultural background, which could simply be based of our lifestyle. Culture is viewed differently by different people around the world so it is seen as a hard concept to define. According to the book culture is defined as a central way we view, experience, and engage with all aspects of our lives and the world around us. Just with the definition there are many other key terms that can help us interpret what the word culture mean to us as individuals. I found 6 terms that I viewed as very important with the first two chapters of Intercultural Communications; system of shared meanings, symbols, cultural identity, cultural imperialism, hybrid cultural forms, and ethnocentrism.

According to the textbook Intercultural Communication, symbols is defined something  that stands for or represents another thing such as words, images, people, ideas, and actions can all be symbols. For example we can use the American flag as a symbol, which is a part of the American culture. To American the American flag represents freedom, justice, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and many other things. In other countries the symbol of the American flag can be completely different to someone else just based on the experience or beliefs. Many say that symbols represent a certain or specific thing but many do ask the question of if symbols are just defined by the person who uses them.  A common symbol that is used here in America is the thumbs up, we define that as the meaning of cool or yes while in many other countries such as Iraq. According to Slate.com giving someone the thumbs up is like say “up you pal!”

Symbols has also a system of shared meanings that are passed from generation to generation through symbols that allow human beings to communicate, maintain and develop and approach and understanding of life. In the book of Intercultural Communication, they use an example of a young single man who is described as a young working man who is making $70,000 a year in his late 20’s and is single. Our first thoughts on him are perhaps that he must be living a pretty decent life because we perceive him with the shared meanings of independent young man who is seen as a high value in American culture and a positive symbol. But the book later on changes the scenario and say this same young man is living a home with his parents and siblings, which for a majority of people your shared meaning for this man goes from independent to probably weird, strange, or even abnormal because he is an older man still living with his parents. According to the book the system of dominant U.S culture that places high value on human independence especially on men.

If it was a women I this scenario many would’ve seen this in a different light or even as normal if a women in their late 20’s had a good paying job but was still living at home with their parents. They could see it as she is possibly waiting till marriage or can be helping her family on finances. Some see things in a different point of view and would see and either male of female still being home as that age as an issue and can define it as sacrificing independence temporarily to achieve an ultimate goal of living independently.

Cultural identity is defined as our situated sense of self that is shaped by our cultural experiences and social locations. For example many people who see themselves to be a part of the American dominant culture are basically told that they have no culture because they are seen to because they are a part of the norm, while those that see themselves to be in the no dominant group are said to have culture because of their difference from the dominant group. A personal example of mine is would be that many would tell me that I have culture because I am a first generation American. My family is from Haiti, and me along with a majority of my cousins were born in the United States. Just for the simple fact that we have parents from another country many would say that we are cultured but if we were to ask others that have generations upon generations that have lived in the U.S they would see themselves as average Americans and not cultures even though most likely their ancestors are not American.

Ethnocentrism is the idea that one’s group own group’s way of thinking, being, and acting in the world is superior to others. We see this within many religious point of views and also within politics. The thought of ethnocentrism I feel is the basis of a lot of wars that we have had throughout history. For example during WWII we saw this with the rise of Hitler that believe that Jews we not worthy and terrible human beings and felts that those of blonde hair and blue eyes were superior above everyone. We also see this within radical religious groups such as Islam because many radical Muslims feel as if that other religions are ridiculous and there is superior and feel that killings and even sacrificing their own life for their religion is a way to show their religion is superior. We also see ethnocentrism within our own country when it comes to race. Many sometimes feel that their race is superior to another such as the civil rights era when African-Americans where fighting for equality because many of the country thought they were not worthy. According to the textbook, one of the many dangers of ethnocentrism is that it can blind individuals, groups, and even nations to the benefits of broader points of view and perception.

Cultural imperialism, is the domination of one culture over others through cultural forms such as popular culture, media, and cultural products. We see cultural imperialism a lot throughout the world today. The U.S is a very popular dominant culture, and many countries have grown to love that and embrace our cultures and way of life within their very own countries. We see in other countries widely that American media has made its way to their countries. I once visited Canada and was thinking my whole way there that is going to be such a drastic change from the U.S even though a majority do speak the same language. The moment I arrived I realized that it was like I was down the street from my home. Just watching TV I realized that they have embraced of lot of the things we do here. On television they had many of their own original shows they had also many of the same American shows and even some were translated to French. It shows that they are adopting too many of the things that are so popular in the U.S. Not only are people adapting through media but also through simple things like food. McDonald’s is a large company that can be seen across the world is had many of the chains in other countries. It not only is in countries but has learned to adapt to the countries taste in food and change the menu’s based on the region.

My very favorite cultural form is hybrid cultures. It is defined as a mix or overlap of cultures that produce new and distinct forms. The book uses a great example of a hybrid culture form that hits close to home. Reggae-ton is one of my favorite types of music which is a hybrid cultural blend with the world of reggae and rap, which is mostly popular is island and Latin influences and origins which grew into popularity in the mid 2000’s. Daddy Yankee which is one of the world’s most popular Reggae-ton artist had something once to say about this form of music at the 2005 Latin Grammy’s, “In the past year we didn’t have a true genre that speaks for Latinos. Right now we have that with the Reggae ton.’ We have seen many other form of hybrid music form such as jazz and rock.

Within intercultural communication we get to see the point of views of different cultures around the worlds, so how do we define culture? It’s difficult isn’t it? The terms system of shared meaning, symbols, cultural identity, cultural imperialism, hybrid culture form, and ethnocentrism are just some of their terms that can help us define different forms of culture and how it is showed differently around the worlds. Though 7 billion people of different cultures and ideas may have a different point of view of what their culture is or should be there is still ways that we seem to find our world interconnecting. As Jawaharlal Nehru once said “Culture is the widening of the mind and of the spirit.”

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