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Culture is much more deeply-rooted and interconnected with our sense of identity and self- understanding than people imagine. Thinking about what we can see and understand of a culture not our own is somewhat similar to the way we perceive an iceberg. Indeed, the same thing may be true even of what we understand to be our own culture. We may not even be aware how our specific culture dominates our value system and shapes our view of life, our interpersonal relationshps and so on.
Think of the iceberg. Though logic tells us we are only seeing a very small portion of an icerberg above water, it's still hard to imagine that we are seeing such a small part of it. Indeed, almost 92% of an iceberg lies below the surfance of the water. The first known use of an iceberg as an analogy to explain the concept of culture was by Edward T. Hall in 1976.
Other analogies or metaphors for culture have included an onion, a pot of flower plants and even a fish swimming in water
Iceberg image modified from Gary R. Weaver, "Understanding and Coping with Cross-cultural Adjustment Stress" in Gary R. Weaver, editor, Culture, Communication and Conflict: Readings in Intercultural Relations, second edition (Simon & Schuster Publishing)
-- Howard Culbertson
Cultural adjustment realities Cultual bingo icebreaker Bwanda Fusa game Cultural anthropology case studies Christianity and culture Path to cross-cultural understanding Culture shock Ethnocentrism Communication Contextualization Enculturation/Acculturation Ethics of change Mission Points of view Responsibility Values Kwast's culture model Light bulb illustration: What do you see? Missions and culture Monoculturalism My own culture shock PowerPoint presentations on cultural issues> Reentry: Coming home
Howard Culbertson, 5901 NW 81st, Oklahoma City, OK 73132
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