As you may suspect, the importance of intercultural communication is growing in the agricultural community. We are in a global economy, which isn’t necessarily new, but our awareness of the importance of other cultures has increased in recent years. I like this chapter in your book, as I feel it seeks to explain how we can communicate better with people from culture’s different than our own instead of just explaining how different cultures communicate.
As we continue to discuss on this blog, agriculture has a culture all of its own with strong roots in community and family. I would argue that agriculture’s culture is closer to collectivist than the rest of the United States (you may need to refer back to figure 10.3 to remember where the Untied States appeared on Hofstede’s dimensions of culture). My argument for agriculture being collectivistic also aligns with face negotiation theory of conflict. I see agriculturalists typically being high context rather than low context. This communication style creates a culture that caters to in-groups, which we have certainly seen in agriculture. As these in-groups have similar experiences and expectations, they often feel certain messages or ideas are implied and not said leading to high context messages. This creation of in-groups is what can lead to poor communication with those outside of the in-group as we discussed with the “feed the world” message. In many cases, I see theories of intercultural communication applying to the communication of agriculturalists with members of the general public. Of course, as your book concedes, there are both ends of the spectrum in all cultures with certain individuals putting more value on the needs of the group than individual needs and vice versa. Sometimes these differences may lead to conflicts like family disputes when passing down the family farm to the next generation.
Think of a time when you interacted with someone from a culture different from your own. What elements of communication accommodation theory (CAT) and/or communicative theory of identity (CTEI) did you utilize to improve communication? What role did your personal identity play? What do you know now that may have improved your communication?
One subject discussed in your text that can sometimes be uncomfortable is the topic of “whiteness”. One blogger described what he called the “unbearable whiteness of urban farming“. Many of his points apply to other agricultural groups urban or not. I encourage you to read his entire post, but I have pulled his six recommendations for addressing this issues. These are:
1. Go to where people are at, not where you want them to be.
2. Don’t accommodate people to the extent of ignoring your own needs.
3. Don’t operate from assumptions.
4. Always be focused on leadership development.
5. Be aware of how privileges may be effecting group dynamics.
6. CELEBRATE non-white contributions to Food Justice.
How do these points align with theories in this week’s reading?