The Dimensions of Cultural Context
“The cultural context in which human communication occurs is perhaps the most defining influence on human interaction. Culture provides the overall framework in which humans learn to organize their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors in relation to their environment” (1). By going through the five dimensions of the cultural context of Brazil, a lot is revealed about the interesting culture, and gives a better understanding of how Brazilians live.
The first dimension in the cultural context is whether the culture is individualistic or collectivistic. Most Latin countries are collectivistic, but Brazil has a slightly higher individualistic rank compared to them. “Despite regional and social class variations, the Brazilian way of life has common traits that distinguish it from the customary ways of dealing with people and situations in North America and Europe and even in other Latin American countries” (2). Brazilians are more individualistic in other ways that they are more self-centered. They find ways to bend the rules and find alternative ways of doing things. Brazilians, though, are not one hundred percent individualistic. They are considered a good mix of being both individualistic and collectivistic because while many of them tend to bend the rules, there are those who place a very high value on the family relationships. There are many good parent/children relationships, and there is a lot of value placed on these. Many of the responsibilities are shared, but on the other hand, many of them are independent. According to Hofstede’s individualistic rank, “Brazil falls right in the middle at 38”, suggesting that it is easy to see that they are a mixture of both (1). Since Brazilians are such a mixture of both individualistic and collectivistic cultures, they have a social behavior that is guided by one’s own attitude, while the culture can still be taught to learn to cooperate and get along for the good of the group. The individualistic and collectivistic aspects of the Brazilian culture are both seen as vertical. The power distance is unequal and there is unequal power in these groups. “Socioeconomic inequality involves subtle forms of residential, educational, and workplace discrimination, in such ways that members of distinct socioeconomic strata tend to live, work, and circulate in different settings. The well-to-do live in chic neighborhoods, usually centrally located, go to private schools, drive or ride in cars, and shop at malls. The urban poor live in favelas or distant housing projects, take long bus trips to work, go to public schools or drop out, and shop at smaller supermarkets or local shops. The rural poor in the country’s interior are practically invisible to the urban upper and middle classes” (2).
The second dimension in the cultural context is High or Low Context Communication. When it comes to Brazilians communicating in high or low context, they lean more toward the low...