Compositional approach: culture as a collection of things shared by a group of people

What is the compositional approach?
To see culture as a whole, embodied in a number of things and shared by a group of people.
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What is the essence the concept of communities of practice?
It is an all-encompassing grouping principle rather than a fixed group. It describes an aggregate of people who, united by common enterprises, develop and share ways of doing things, ways of talking, beliefs, and values - in short, practices. It is crucial for its members to have a shared domain of interest and engage in joint activities and practice. It can be of different sizes, it can have different structures.
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What important implications do the different groups of people have for conceptualising culture?
  • cultural groups exist at many different levels, in different sizes and for different purposes
  • a cultural group can co-exist with another group (co-culture), be embedded in another culture (sub-culture) or overlap with another group
  • a person can belong to several different cultures at the same time
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What is the dialectical approach?
It is designed to reflect the processual, relational, and contradictory nature of intercultural communication. It offers a methodology to recognise the interdependent and complementary aspects of the seemingly opposite characteristics of culture.
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What are the six dialects?
  1. cultural-individual: some behaviours are idiosyncratic and others reflect cultural trends
  2. personal-contextual: some aspects of communication remain relatively constant over a range of contexts, while others are context-dependent
  3. differences-similarities: group differences and similarity co-exist with each other
  4. static-dynamic: some aspects of culture remain relatively constant while others are subject to constant change
  5. present-future/history-past: the past is seen through the lens of the present and what happens currently cannot be fully understood without knowledge of what is in the past
  6. privilege-disadvantage: privileges can be disadvantages at the same time
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