What is high culture? What is low culture? How do they differ from each other?
High culture refers to the cultural products and activities that are associated with the elites in society. It includes things like fine art, classical music, and literature. Low culture, on the other hand, refers to the popular culture that is associated with the masses. This includes things like television, movies, and pop music.
There is a lot of debate over whether or not high culture is better than low culture. Some people argue that high culture is more refined and has more value. Others argue that low culture is more accessible and enjoyable. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference.
What is important to note is that high culture and low culture are not static categories. They are constantly evolving and changing as society changes. What is considered high culture today may be considered low culture in the future. And vice versa.
So, what does all this mean for our interpersonal relationships? Well, it’s important to remember that not everyone shares the same taste in culture. Just because someone enjoys high culture doesn’t mean they look down on those who enjoy low culture. And just because someone enjoys low culture doesn’t mean they’re not interested in high culture. We should respect each other’s differences and try to appreciate all forms of culture, even if they’re not our personal favorites.
The distinct impact of culture on communication is illuminated by John De Vitis’ discussion about low- and high-context cultures. Context is important in John De Vitis’ theory, which refers to the framework, background, and surrounding circumstances in which a transaction or event occurs.
High-context cultures rely heavily on nonverbal and implicit communication. The context is more important than the actual words being spoken. People in high-context cultures are typically more relational and place a greater emphasis on personal relationships. They communicate indirectly and often use silence as a form of communication.
Low-context cultures, on the other hand, rely more on verbal communication and explicit messages. The actual words carry more weight than the context. People in low-context cultures are typically more task-oriented and place less emphasis on personal relationships. They communicate directly and often use silence to indicate discomfort or lack of understanding.
While Hall’s theory is helpful in understanding how culture can impact communication, it’s important to remember that all cultures are unique and individual. There is no one right or wrong way to communicate. The key is to be aware of the role culture plays in communication and to adjust your communication style accordingly.
High-context cultures (including much of the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and South America) are relational, collectivist, intuitive, and contemplative. This implies that individuals in these societies prioritize interpersonal connections. Developing trust is a necessary first step toward any commercial transaction. Hall claims that high-context people are collectivist by nature and prefer group harmony and agreement over individual success.
They tend to be more intuitive, using intuition and experience to make decisions rather than rules or logic. They are also more contemplative, preferring to take a long-term view of situations.
In contrast, low-context cultures (including much of North America and Europe) are individualistic, task-oriented, analytical, and action-oriented. This means that people in these cultures emphasize individual achievement and competition. Hall explains that these cultures are individualistic, valuing independence and self-reliance. They tend to be task-oriented, preferring to use rules and logic to make decisions. They are also more action-oriented, preferring to take a short-term view of situations.
The terms high context and low context were first coined by anthropologist Edward T. Hall in his 1976 book, Beyond Culture. Hall used the terms to describe how cultures communicate differently. High-context cultures rely more on implicit communication, such as body language and tone of voice, while low-context cultures rely more on explicit communication, such as words and written messages.
In these cultures, people are ruled more by intuition and feelings than by logic. Words aren’t as crucial as the context in which they’re spoken, which might include a speaker’s tone of voice, facial expression, gestures, posture—as well as family history and position. “We are a homogeneous people who don’t have to speak as much as you do here,” a Japanese manager explained to an American regarding his culture’s communication style.
The high/low culture distinction is sometimes described as a vertical division, with high culture being superior to low culture. This is not always the case, however. The German sociologist Max Weber, for example, argued that there was also a horizontal division between elite and popular culture. Elite culture, he said, was exclusive—available only to a small number of people who had the education and taste to appreciate it. Popular culture, on the other hand, was inclusive—open to anyone who wanted to participate.
In recent years, the high/low culture distinction has come under attack from a number of quarters. Critics argue that it is elitist and condescending, that it denies the validity of popular culture and the creativity of its practitioners. They also point out that what is considered high culture in one society may be low culture in another.
When we say one word, we grasp ten, but you must utter ten in order to comprehend one. “In this area, each person thinks a different way and is surrounded by 10 unique voices. They compete for the same material goods while not understanding how they differ from one other.” High-context interaction is more indirect and formalistic than low-context communication. Flowery language, humility, and elaborate apologies are typical features of high-context interactions. People from low-context cultures place a premium on logic, facts, and directness.
They tend to be more task-oriented and less concerned with personal relationships. Culture shapes how we communicate, both verbally and nonverbally. It determines what we say, how we say it, and what things mean. Culture also affects how we perceive the world and how we interact with others.
Interpersonal communication is affected by cultural differences in many ways. For example, people from collectivist cultures (such as many Asian cultures) are more likely to communicate indirectly than those from individualist cultures (such as the United States). Collectivists tend to Harmonize whereas individualists tend to Confront. This means that collectivists are more likely to avoid conflict and try to please others, while individualists are more likely to confront others and express their own needs.
Cultural differences also affect nonverbal communication. For example, in collectivist cultures, eye contact is often avoided because it can be seen as aggressive or challenging. In individualist cultures, however, eye contact is seen as a sign of confidence and trustworthiness.
Understanding these cultural differences is important for effective communication. When communicating with someone from another culture, it is important to be aware of the potential for misunderstanding and take steps to ensure that your message is clear.