Рефераты. Cultural Values

industrialized societies represent the mastery orientation; the back-to-

nature counterculture of young adults during the 1960s and 1970s, the

harmonious stance; and many peasant populations, the subjugation


The time dimension offers stops at the past, present, and future.

Human nature orientation is charted along a continuum stretching from good

to evil with some of both in the middle. The activity orientation moves

from doing to being-becoming to being. Finally, the relational orientation

ranges from the individual to the group with concern with the continuation

of the group, as an intermediate focal point.

Value orientations only represent" good guesses" about why people act

the way they do. Statements made or scales constructed are only part of an

"as if" game. That is to say, people act as if they believed in a given set

of value. Because the individuals in any cultural group exhibit great

variation, any of the orientations suggested might well be found in nearly

every culture. It is the general pattern that is sought. Value orientations

are important to us as intercultural communicators because often whatever

one believes, values, and assumes are the crucial factors in communication.


Let us take some American cultural patterns that have been identified

as crucial in cross-cultural communication and consider what assumptions,

values, and attitudes support them. Edward C. Stewart was a pioneer in

examining such American behavior in a cross-cultural perspective. His book

- American Cultural Patterns. This book describes dominant characteristics

of middle class Americans. Stewart distinguishes between cultural

assumptions and values and what he called cultural norms. Cultural norms

are explicit a repeatedly invoked by people to describe or justify their

actions. They represent instances in which the behavior and the value

attached to it seem at odds. Stewart writes, “Because cultural norms are

related to behavior as cliches, rituals or as cultural platitudes, they

provide inaccurate descriptions of behavior”. He points out that Americans

are devoted to the concept of self-reliance but accept social security,

borrow money, and expect a little help from their friends. Culture bearers

are usually more aware of their cultural norms than their systems of values

and assumptions. As Stewart explains, "being fundamental to the

individual's outlook, they [the assumptions and values] are likely to be

considered as a part of the real world and therefore remain unquestioned".

Table 1, illustrates some of the general value orientations identified

with North Americans. The left-hand column indicates what the polar point

of the orientational axis might represent. The Contrast American column

does not describe any particular culture, but rather represents an opposite

orientation. Of course, the American profile is drawn in broad strokes and

describes the mainstream culture; ethnic diversity is of necessity blurred

in this sweeping treatment.

Thus, with the reservations noted above, it can be said that in the

relationship of human beings and nature, Americans assume and thus value

and believe in doing something about environmental problems. Nature can and

should be changed. In addition, change is right and good and to be

encouraged. That toe pace of change has increased to a bewildering point in

the United States at the present time presents problems, but, as yet,

change has not been seen as particularly detrimental.

Equality of opportunity is linked to individualism, lack of rigid

hierarchies informality, and other cultural givens. It is manifested in

American laws regarding social conduct, privacy, and opportunity. This

contrasts with an ascriptive social order in which class and birth provide

the bases for social control and interaction.

The achievement orientation calls for assessment of personal

achievement, a latter-day Horatio Alger (Lee Iacocca) orientation. A future

orientation is joined to the positive value accorded change and action.

Directness and openness are contrasted to a more consensus-seeking approach

in which group harmony is placed above solving problems.

Cause-and-effect logic joined to a problem-solving orientation and a

pragmatic approach to problems defines the much-vaunted scientific method.

Intuition and other approaches to evidence, fact, and "truth" are

associated with being orientations and philosophical approaches to

knowledge and knowing. Competition and a do-it-yourself approach to life

are well served by a future orientation, individualism, and the desire for


The statements above simply point out some very general orientations

that have driven and, to some degree, still guide North American society.

Change is always in the air. Many have pointed out, as Stewart himself

does, that these orientations represent white middle class American values.

They do. They serve the purpose, however, of providing a frame of reference

for cross-cultural comparison.

Table 2 offers a contrastive look at some American and Japanese


Such culture-specific contrast alerts us to the need to examine our

cultural values and assumptions from the perspective of others. As one

studies the dimensions of contrast, one cannot help but marvel at the

communication that does take place despite such diversity. Okabe, in

drawing upon Japanese observations about some well-known American values,

reveals a new perspective to us. For example, the bamboo whisk and octopus

pot metaphors refer to a reaching out tendency in the United States as

opposed to the drawing inward of the Japanese.

Omote means outside and omote / ura combines both the inside and

outside world. In the heterogeneous, egalitarian, sasara-type, doing,

pushing culture of the United States, there is no distinction between the

omote and the ura aspects of culture. In the hierarchical takotsubo-type,

being, pulling culture of Japan, a clear-cut distinction should always be

made between the omote and the ura dimensions of culture, the former being

public, formal, and conventional, and the latter private, informal, and

unconventional. The Japanese tend to conceive of the ura world as being

more real, more meaningful.

Interpersonal relationships contrast on the basis of the role of the

individual and group interaction. Japanese patterns are characterized by

formality and complementary relationships that stress the value of

dependence or amae. Amae is the key to understanding Japanese society. The

concept of amae underlies the Japanese emphasis on the group over the

individual, the acceptance of constituted authority, and the stress on

particularistic rather than universalistic relationships. In the

homogenous, vertical society of Japan the dominant value is conformity to

or identity with the group. The Japanese insist upon the insignificance of

the individual. Symmetrical relationships focus on the similarities of

individuals; complementary relationships exploit differences in age, sex,

role and status. There are many ways in which the Japanese publicly

acknowledge a social hierarchy-in the use of language, in seating

arrangements at social gatherings, in bowing to one another and hundreds of

others. Watch Japanese each other and the principles will become quite

apparent. Notice who bows lower, who waits for the other to go first, who

apologizes more: (1) younger defers to older; (2) female defers to male;

(3) student defers to teacher; (4); the seller's bow is lower than the

buyer's; and (6) in a school club or organization where ranks are fixed,

the lower ranked is, of course, subordinate. These features of

interpersonal relationships lead to an emphasis on the public self in the

United States and on the private self in Japan, Americans being more open

in the demonstration of personal feelings and attitudes than the Japanese.

Let us look to this question in detail.


Numerous studies by social scientists of national character or culture

have appeared in recent years, initially as a response to the need for

knowledge of enemy countries in World War II. Most of these studies have is

asked a substantive question: what is the nature of the behavior shared by

all, or a majority, of the members of a national society? Once this shared

behavior is "discovered," its written description becomes an outline of the

national culture of that country. This approach has been extensively

criticized on the grounds that the behavior of the members of any complex

society is so variable that any attempt to describe the shared items

results in superficial generalization. Critics have also pointed out that

descriptions of national cultures frequently consist of statements of norms

only, and do not denote actual behavior.

At this point in the account of our own research it is necessary to

raise questions about the nature of national cultures. However, we shall

not attempt to claim that our answer to these will be valid for all members

of the Japanese nation. We do claim validity for our own subjects and are

also willing to guess that much of what we say will apply to the majority

of Japanese men who were socialized in prewar and wartime Japan in families

of the middle and upper income brackets. We shall not claim that our

subjects necessarily behaved in the manner suggested, for the description

itself pertains to norms or principles and not to behavior. In a subsequent

section we shall provide a description and analysis of the behavior of our

subjects with reference to these norms.

This procedure implies the concept of a "cultural model": essentially

a highly generalized description of principles, shared by a large number of

people and maintained in the form of personal values. To some degree these

principles or norms constitute guides or rules for behavior: sometimes

followed literally, sometimes not, but always available as a generalized

protocol for use by the individual in finding his way through social

relationships and in judging the acts of others.

The first half of the model we shall construct pertains to the

patterns of interpersonal relations in the two societies, Japan and

America. We recognize that as representatives of the class of modern

industrial nations, these two countries have cultures very similar in many

respects. The Japanese are, in fact, often called the "Americans of the

Orient," a phrase referring to their industrious orientation toward life

and nature; their interest in mass-cultural pursuits like baseball; and

their success with capitalist enterprise in a collectivist world.

Similarities in all these areas are a fact— but it is equally apparent that

some significant differences have existed in other aspects of social life

in the two countries. Among these differences the norms and patterns of

interpersonal behavior are probably the greatest. Thus, while a Japanese

and an American may share an interest in baseball which brings them closer

together that either one might be to a member of some other nation, the two

may differ so widely in their habits of behavior in social situations that

communication between them may be seriously impeded.

Studies of Japanese social norms have revealed the following general

features: articulate codification of the norms; strong tendencies toward a

face-to-face, or "primary group" type of intimacy; an emphasis upon

hierarchical status positions; concern for the importance of status;

elative permanence of status once established; and "behavioral reserve" or

discipline. These will be discussed in order.

articulate codification of rules

During the long Tokugawa period of centralized feudalism, Japanese

patterns of interpersonal behavior underwent an elaborate

institutionalization. The Shogunate attempted to fix the position of each

class with respect to the others and established written rules of behavior

for its members. The family system had developed historically along

patrilineal lines, and during Tokugawa times such patterns of relations

between kin were proclaimed as an official social code. After the Meiji

Restoration, the samurai class in control of the nation maintained these

formalized rules and even elevated them to the status of an idealized

spiritual expression of the Japanese ethos. The reason for this enhancement

of the Tokugawa code after the Restoration lay in the need to preserve and

strengthen national discipline and unity as a practical policy in

industrialization and other aspects of modernization. Thus, Japan moved

into her modern era in possession of a system of rules of social behavior

based on feudal and familial principles.

It is necessary to note that this system of codified rules was

consistently adhered to in actual behavior by only a minority of the

population: the samurai and nobility. The remainder of the population

followed the rules in part, or only in "public" situations where the

pressure for conformity was strong. In the decades subsequent to the

Restoration a generalized version of the code was adopted by the developing

business and official classes, and this is the situation which continues to

prevail in Japan today (although since the Occupation a considerable

liberalization of social behavior can be found in all classes and groups).

Since the student subjects of-the research project were persons from upper-

and middle-class groups socialized in prewar and wartime Japan, we can use

the gross aspects of this social code as a backdrop for the interpretation

of their behavior. The strength and the influence of this code were

enhanced further by the fact that up to the period of the Occupation, no

large migration to Japan of Westerners had occurred. In this situation

relatively few Japanese were presented with the need to learn the modes of

interaction of other societies—particularly the more "open" type of the

Western nations. This isolation was intensified during the militarist-

nationalist epoch of the 1930s and 1940s, in which the social code was

given renewed emphasis as a counter-measure against liberal trends. The

codified norms— on or ascribed obligation; giri or contractual obligation;

chu or loyalty to one's superior; ninjo or humane sensibility; and enryo or

modesty and reserve in the presence of the superior—were incorporated in

the school curriculum as ethical doctrine, and exemplified in a multitude

of cultural expressions.

primary associative qualities

An important aspect of Japanese social norms may be described in

Western sociological terms as that of "primary association." Emphasis upon

personal qualities, obligations between subordinate and superior, and

distinctions based on age or sibling birth-order are features suited to the

atmosphere of a small, highly interactive social group, like the family or

a feudal manor. It goes without saying that in the modern mass society of

Japan these rules have not always been observed, but the fact is that to an

extraordinary degree the Japanese have succeeded in organizing present-day

society into small, cell-like groupings, in which highly personalized

relationships are governed by an explicit code of behavior. Even in

impersonal situations, as in labor organizations, rules of primary

associative type have been used at least symbolically as models for

interaction and responsibility.


If Japanese social norms present an image of society in the character

of a primary group, it is at least a hierarchically organized primary

group—one in which there are explicit gradations of status from superior to

inferior. The family is ideally organized on patrilineal-patriarchal

principles, with the father as dominant, the eldest son superordinate to

the younger, and so on. Primogeniture was the law of the land until the

Occupation period, and, even though no longer so, it is still followed in a

great many cases.

Japanese business firms, government bureaus, and many universities and

schools are organized in ways reminiscent of this familial model; or their

organization may be more closely related historically to feudal or lord-

vassal principles. In such cases the employee and the employer, chief and

underling, or teacher and pupil occupy positions which carry with them

defined and ascribed rights and duties, in which the superior generally

occupies a paternalistic and authoritarian role. The term sensei means

teacher, or mentor, but its wide application to people outside of the

teaching profession suggests its connotation of benevolent but stern

authority and superiority. Likewise the term oyabun ("parent-status" or

"parent-surrogate"), while strictly appropriate only for certain types of

economic groups, is often applied to any highly paternalistic superior.

concern for status

All this would imply, of course, very considerable preoccupation with

matters of social status. It is necessary or at least desirable for every

Japanese to know his own status in the interaction situation, since it is

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