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The Value of Cultural Stereotypes

Travel Forums General Talk The Value of Cultural Stereotypes

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1. Posted by Wocca (Inactive 3745 posts) 11y

Culture dictates how people generally think and interact with each other in society.

It would be too simplistic to merely state, "Oh! I treat everyone the same", when travelling or living abroad, especially in completely different cultures.

To stereotype is to formulate a standardized image of a group that assigns that group a number of characteristics. Of course, there will be exceptions to the stereotype rule, but ....

What value (if any) do you see in cultural stereotypes?

2. Posted by grink (Full Member 69 posts) 11y

jeez wocca- i thought id finished my degree when something like this comes up to haunt me... still....

i think stereotypes have a function in that a chunk of information is easily retained and follows the rules of parsimony-simplicity, which is easily computerised in the mind, in some form of memory system-if we had to remember every minute detail about every single person that we have or have not met.

and with time getting to know someone gradually brings more pieces of info to the picture so a stereotype can be either confirmed or broken. A stereotype also serves the function of having a reference point in memory to latch onto so we can understand new info.

But on the flipside i think that stereotypes taken as representative of a culture is more damaging then beneficial. For example-chinese and oriental people arent very well represented by the media in the uk- there has not been one english soap with a chinese/korean/japanese character in it. Adverts which in the last few months have consisted of stereotyped portrayals of chinese and the oriental culture. this does not show people in an accurate light-we are not all kung fu fighters who are stupid-you even had mainstream television shows mocking the fact that the japanese cannot pronounce r-what childish humour? I mean for god sake there was a whiskas advert which was very offensive too-stereotypes can often be true as they consist of stratified information that has built up over time. but they are no use for getting to know real people.

wow sorry bit of a rant there

3. Posted by Wocca (Inactive 3745 posts) 11y

Good rant, grink

I introduced this topic to third year university students this afternoon in Kunming. This particular class are finance majors, and don't have the same broader knowledge that you do.

Your comments about the UK media are very interesting indeed. This touches on the cause of stereotypes ...

4. Posted by Wocca (Inactive 3745 posts) 11y

Stereotypes make more sense when you consider the cultural roots of the group being stereotyped.

For example:

Nationality: Australian

Stereotype: Loud, boisterous and materialistic. Ill-mannered and ill-bred.

National Cultural Traits:Individualistic society with low power-distance, and very low uncertainty-avoidance that allows them to not worry about embarrassing themselves in public.

Of course, there are other examples but perhaps TP members would care to describe their national stereotype for themselves

5. Posted by remarcable (Respected Member 335 posts) 11y

Quoting Wocca

Stereotypes make more sense when you consider the cultural roots of the group being stereotyped.

For example:

Nationality: Australian

Stereotype: Loud, boisterous and materialistic. Ill-mannered and ill-bred.

National Cultural Traits:Individualistic society with low power-distance, and very low uncertainty-avoidance that allows them to not worry about embarrassing themselves in public.

Of course, there are other examples but perhaps TP members would care to describe their national stereotype for themselves

Hmm. That can be true for any culture. I hear the same comparisions when referring to Americans.

M.

6. Posted by aleah (Full Member 400 posts) 11y

Hi there,

National Sterotype

Nationality
: Swiss

Stereotype: rich, slow, neutral, loves chocolat (that's a fact), speaks many languages!

National Culture Traits: xenophobic to an extreme extend (specially in non-touristic areas in the countryside), a reserved attitude, are into language courses (specially in Australia) and there would be many more (eg. more political; WWII etc.)

That's actually quit difficult to think of Stereotype for my own country, I'm wondering how you imagine the Stereotype Swiss?

a+
-KAT-

7. Posted by Wocca (Inactive 3745 posts) 11y

Quoting remarcable

"...Hmm. That can be true for any culture. I hear the same comparisions when referring to Americans...M."

The Aussies don't like to admit that perhaps in reality, they are really are just miniature version Americans ...

Nationality: American

Stereotype: Brash, materialistic. A cowboy culture where individuals are obsessed with time and deadlines. A society plagued by crime and violence.

National Cultural Traits:American culture is task-driven and places great value on individual achievement and thinking. Monchronic, with a very low risk-avoidance, which allows Americans to speak without thinking - and often act without thinking, sometimes in a violent manner. It is a very masculine culture, which means that society appreciates assertiveness while respecting the goal of material acquisition.

8. Posted by remarcable (Respected Member 335 posts) 11y

The Aussies don't like to admit that perhaps in reality, they are really are just miniature version Americans ...

Touche! I think you are describing our President, more so a "typical" American

M.

9. Posted by Wocca (Inactive 3745 posts) 11y

Have we got any Brits that would like to comment on their own national stereotype?

Quoting remarcable

Hmm. That can be true for any culture. I hear the same comparisions when referring to Americans.

I can not honestly imagine Brits being the same as the Australians or Americans

10. Posted by cikusang (Respected Member 1361 posts) 11y

this does not show people in an accurate light-we are not all kung fu fighters who are stupid-you even had mainstream television shows mocking the fact that the japanese cannot pronounce r-what childish humour?

Can't a japanese pronounces the syllable 'r'? I thought in Hiragana the sound 'r' is one of the fundamental in learning Hiragana! (in fact)
Thanks, Grink. Good comments.

Lee

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