Modern Family

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Modern Family is a comedy series that, I assume many of us watch and if not, has heard of it or seen clips from the show. The show is shot in a mockumentary style looking at the different ways the families live; different generations, ages, culture, and values. Modern Family is a great example of an international television show that has characters from different family backgrounds showing the relationships between parental and their children. This show shows an increasing way with communication technology and the way each person perceives one another family member.

There are many different cultures that are incorporated in this show whether it is Gloria being latino or Cameron and Mitchell being gay fathers.

Here is an example of Gloria Pritchett in the show:

One of the aspects I’ll be focusing on is the conflict communication style that Gloria uses because of her lack of ability to communicate clearly with other family members (being from another culture, different language, different accent, different morals, beliefs and values). Conflict styles have two dimensions, when we look at Gloria’s case, she is very concerned for herself and there is an importance for her as an individual to maintain her own face of her Latino culture.

When dealing with conflict, it is evident that Gloria is more dominating because she more hot tempered and seems to use the language barrier as a way to get angry at different family member because of the lack of understanding and communication. Another style of conflict communication that Gloria uses is obliging and just giving up on a situation because she cannot break the barriers of culture and understanding with others. There are times when her husband, Jay tells her to calm down or to repeat what she is trying to say. In this case, she is using an integrating style or a third party help; Jay and Gloria are both aware of what she is trying to say but they work together to help others understand.

To help us move forward in this conversation, try finding another character in the show or find a character in another TV show that incorporates the idea of internationalism and the way they use the Face Negotiation Theory.

–Crystal

Theory in News

So this week we are to talk about examining a current issue through cultural lens. One thing that this both a current issue as well one that is very powerful is the Israel Gaza situation currently unfolding in the Middle East. Though a cease has been reached it is still a story that is covered daily in the news media. When looking for a more cultural perspective on the issue I decided to check out a blog on Al Jazeera an Arabic news company for those of you who did not know.

When I started realizing while reading this blog that Al Jazeera has a much more personal approach to human tragedy on both sides of the issue compared to the US media, which it seems only wants to focus on suffering when blaming someone or something. But the Al Jazeera blog does a fantastic job of highlighting the suffering on both sides of this issue and is critical of both regimes for their complete joint inability to reach an end to the bloodshed. The blog talked deeply about the feelings of both peoples caught in the conflict. One quote the blog startled me in that Israelis see only themselves as victims and not the 1.6 million Palestinians with no sovereignty and are always under constant siege.
Ultimately this blog does the best job I’ve seen of showing the enormous consequences of two sides still failing to reach an agreement. I believe because this news source does a better job at handling the cultural problems betweens the Israelis and Palestinians then America media does and its clear to me that they aren’t tethered down by some bias like we face in the states.

What I pose to use find me another situation where a foreign news company handled a world issue differently it could be better or worse, and explain to me why its better or worse then American media. Use TV, radio, web, newspapers whatever you want.

Here’s my article

http://blogs.aljazeera.com/blog/middle-east/watching-war-gaza-afar

–Andrew Brightman

Theory in Music

Music can be used to connect cultures and to spread a message. Lyrics do this by telling a story and allowing the listener to put themselves in the situation of the artist and understand what they’re going through. The Beatles did this with all of their music and in particular, offered cultural context to their listeners by releasing the song “Revolution” in 1968.

Revolution was The Beatles’ first overtly political song. Lennon wrote the song as his way of protesting the Vietnam War, expressing his fears doubt in the government and the tactics being used to stop the spread of communism.

Anyone, anywhere in the world could listen to Lennon’s lyrics and understand where he was coming from or atleast get some sort of insight into the divide in society caused by the Vietnam War in the 60′s.

Take a read through the lyrics and hear where Lennon was coming from:

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it’s evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don’t you know that you can count me out
Don’t you know it’s gonna be all right
All right, all right

You say you got a real solution
Well, you know
We’d all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution
Well, you know
We’re doing what we can
But when you want money
For people with minds that hate
All I can tell is brother you have to wait
Don’t you know it’s gonna be all right
All right, all right

You say you’ll change the constitution
Well, you know
We all want to change your head
You tell me it’s the institution
Well, you know
You better free you mind instead
But if you go carrying pictures of chairman Mao
You ain’t going to make it with anyone anyhow
Don’t you know it’s gonna be all right
All right, all right

The overall goal of the Face Negotiation Theory is to describe how to effectively communicate across cultures. Ting-Toomey says in this theory that knowledge , mindfulness and interaction skill are the three requirements in intercultural communication.

Knowledge

The Beatles were knowledgable about the war, they were anti war activists and they made it their point to include political messages in their songs. One example is their speak about communist leader Chairman Mao in the song, a name that had been circling the news and was prevalent in the 60′s during war time. The Beatles realized they were in the middle of this revolution and by telling becoming knowledgable on the issue they felt comfortable telling their audience that the world would be okay as long as we stopped violence and promoted peace and unity, The Beatles own solution verses the governments solution: war.

Mindfulness

The Beatles are mindful of the various aspect of the situation in their lyrics. They talk about all these “solutions” that politicians and the war claimed to create yet they state their opinion by saying “you better free your mind instead”. They also address the contributions that were asked of the youth at the time , entering the war to fight and money needed to fund the war. Although The Beatles were not American the bigger picture here is how mindful the entire world was of the war and how large the “anti war” community was , The Beatles being a huge factor in this.

Interaction Skill

Interaction Skill is the ability to communicate something effectively, appropriately and adaptively. The reason why The Beatles message was effective was partially because of their fame which they used to spread their peaceful message.  They adapted their message into a song and were able to keep the vibe of the music light hearted although it dealt with a very pressing and serious issue. The Beatles were able to keep an appropriate tone for their song that they knew their audience, all over the world, would respond to in a positive manner.

-Gabby

Styles of Conflict Management: Election 2012

As the election season comes to a close, I’d like to compare the whole campaign process to the “Predictable Styles of Conflict Management,” within the face negotiation theory.

Avoiding
“I would avoid discussing my differences with the group member.”

I liken this to when candidates avoid to come out and answer questions on moral or social issues. An example of this is when a conservative candidate is clearly pro-life or believes in Creationism, and then when asked about their views on said topics, completely deflects and tries to talk about something else.

Here’s a link of a story from The New York Times written in March of 2010 that presents this.

Obliging
“I would give in to the wishes of a group member.”

I think this one is obvious here. Every single candidate takes money from big corporations, thus giving into their wishes and help vote on laws and policies that will benefit the private sector. No matter what candidates and politicians say, everyone does it. It’s just how the political world works today.

Here’s a video from YouTube that show’s this:

Compromising
“I would use a give-and-take so that a compromise could be made.”

The only part of this election season that can be compared to this is how, during the debates, the candidates each give each other time to give answers to the proctor’s (or audience member’s) questions. This is definitely something that the candidates could do a better job with, but they do it nonetheless.

Here’s a video that recaps the debate that I feel did the best job of this in this year’s debate season. I think Vice President Biden and Congressman Ryan did as a good a job as they could have with sharing the stage.

Dominating
“I would be firm in pursuing my side of the issue.”

This is related to how candidates have their main sticking point, something they run their campaign off of. In 2008, Obama used universal healthcare is one of his main running points. In 2012, he is using that again, as well as successfully completing the mission that resulted in the execution of Osama bin Laden. Romney uses his history in the private sector as one of the main reasons why people should vote for him.

Here is a story and video clip from ABC News from August of this year where Obama talks at Iowa State University about his healthcare plan.

Integrating
“I would exchange accurate information with the group member to solve the problem together.”

This is something that we, as voters, should be looking for with our candidates. As politicians, it is very important to be as bipartisan as possible. For example, just because a candidate’s party supports getting rid of funding for Plan Parenthood, does not mean that candidate should definitively should support that. They should support bills and policies that fall in line with what they think is right and what the people they represent feel is just.

Here is a story from Boston.com from earlier today about how Romney is looking to be more bipartisan. This is definitely a late play to get more votes.

Theory in Video: Waka Waka

The Colombian singer, Shakira, released this song Waka Waka for the 2012 FIFA World Cup. To begin, FIFA is an international event with over 32 participating teams. Waka Waka is based off of traditional African songs. It is speculated that Shakira learned these songs after the release of Dominican group’s song “El Negro no Puede.”  Furthermore, the instruments are traditionally South African and Afro-Colombian. This is a great fusion of multiple cultures into one cohesive piece. While you may not be able to speak the language, music brings people of all different languages and ethnicity together through the common love of beats and dance. The song was widely received and went gold.