Academic journal article German Quarterly

The Individual within Multi-Socio-Cultural-Realities: Culture Analysis as a Reading Strategy

Academic journal article German Quarterly

The Individual within Multi-Socio-Cultural-Realities: Culture Analysis as a Reading Strategy

Article excerpt

Campbell, judith G., and Günter G. Pfister. The Individual within Multi-Socio-Cultural-Realities: Culture Analysis as a Reading Strategy. Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, 2002. 278 pp. $40.00 paperback.

The Individual within Multi-Socio-Cultural-Realities contributes to the on-going discussion of a greater curricular role for cultural pedagogy in foreign language study (e.g., Claire Kramsch and Thomas Nolden, "Redefining Literacy in a Foreign Language," Die Unterrrichtspraxis 27 [Fall 1994]: 28-35). In the eight-chapter volume, Campbell and Pfister propose an instructional model for teaching culture based on Pfister and Posner's (1987) Cultural Inventory, which employs a cognitive-semiotic approach to cultural analysis. Chapters 1-3 focus on the theoretical foundation for this instructional model, chapters 4 and 5 outline the model's method and approach, chapters 6 and 7 provide a sample textual analysis of the fairy tale Der sü[beta]e Brei, and chapter 8 consists of concluding remarks.

In Chapter 1, the introduction, Campbell and Pfister provide initial background information. The discussion examines three periods in foreign language pedagogy. Through the mid-twentieth century, the humanist tradition prevailed with an emphasis on literary knowledge. From 1945 to 1970, there was the behavioral sciences approach focusing on language learning for travel. Currently a cognitive anthropological paradigm is dominant, emphasizing intercultural competence in the global information age. In order to achieve the requisite greater cultural awareness in foreign language learning, Campbell and Pfister argue that an explicit culture pedagogy is needed. Following a discussion of approaches, methods, and materials, the authors present the volume's primary objective: the expansion and refinement of the Cultural Inventory as a pedagogical method for analyzing culture in the classroom.

The next two chapters expand on the discussion of the theoretical framework. Chapter 2 outlines " [t]he theoretical approaches represented in the cultural inventory," drawing on Mary Douglas's Grid-group Theory as well as the work of such scholars as James Lett and Clifford Geertz. In chapter 3, Campbell and Pfister provide their own conceptual definition of culture based on the theories of Melford E. Spiro, with an emphasis on a semiotic framework.

Chapters 4 and 5 outline the approach and methods for the new pedagogical model. In chapter 4, discussion focuses on translation as a method of analysis, with an examination of key concepts, including metacode, emics, and etics. …

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