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Intercultural communication: interaction in a changing world

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  1. The importance of intercultural communication.
  2. International contacts.
    1. The new technology.
    2. The new population.
    3. The new economic arena.
  3. Domestic contacts.
    1. Immigration.
    2. Recognition.
  4. Studying intercultural communication.

When euripides wrote, all is change ; all yields its place and then goes in 422 B.C., he probably did not realize that he would be helping to introduce a book on intercultural communication. Yet, that study of intercultural communication is about change. It is about changes in the world and how the people in that world must adapt to them. More specifically, this book deals with that world changes that have brought us intro direct and indirect contact whit people who, because of their culture, often behave in ways that we do not understand. Whit or without our consent, the last three decades have thrust upon us groups of people who often appear alien. These people, who appear different, may live thousands of miles away or right next door. What is special about them is that in many ways they are not like us. This book is about those people and how to understand them and communicate whit them. Intercultural communication, as we might suspect, is not new. Wandering nomads, religious missionaries, and conquering soldiers have been encountering people different from themselves since the beginning of time. These early meetings, like those of today, were often confusing and hostile. In fact, over two thousand years ago the playwright Aeschylus wrote, -Everyone's quick to blame the alien.- In the 1990s intercultural contacts are more common and the in many ways more significant than those earlier meetings.

[...] Where Yankee technological know-how and marketing power once dominate world markets, Americans now find themselves jockeying for business amid a throng of muscular new competitors- competitors from different cultures that we need to understand if we hope to be successful in the new world. Domestic Contacts As changes throughout the world began to alter and even reconstruct life in the United States, a kind of cultural revolution took place within our own boundaries a revolution that made us redefine and rethink the meaning of the word American. [...]

[...] Cultures throughout the world also began to worry about international hostility as membership in the nuclear weapons club continued to grow. Dangerous and deadly secrets that had once been the private possession of a few powerful nations were now in the hands of countries over which we had no control, and even less contact. It was estimated that fifteen countries had the ability to launch ballistic missiles, and that twenty to thirty nations had developed the capability to produce mustard and nerve gases and other lethal chemicals. [...]

[...] As startling as these figures were, it seemed as if we all took special notice when the United Nations revealed, in July of 1987, that with the birth of a baby boy in Yugoslavia, the world now had five billion residents. Since that milestone the population has increased yet a another half-billion, and should reach the 6.3 billion mark before the year 2000. these numbers forced much of the world to re-examine the consequences of a crowded planet, a planet that more than ever before was binding its inhabitants together in crucial ways. [...]

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