The Five Stages of Culture Shock: Critical Incidents around the World

By Paul Pedersen | Go to book overview

6
The Autonomy Stage

INTRODUCTION

The persons who emerge from the detachment of stage one, the self-blame of stage two, and the hostility of stage three are in a position to build a new perspective between their former identity and the new host culture. The person begins to establish an objective, balanced, and impartial view of the whole situation. It is now possible to experience both the positive and the negative aspects of the host culture situation. As in previous stages, it is likely that the individual will regress to earlier stages from time to time but will gradually evolve toward a synthesis.

There is a new sensitivity resulting in new skills and understandings about the host culture and the person's own identity. The need for defensiveness is diminished as the host culture is perceived as less deliberately--or malevolently --hostile. The person is now able to move into new situations with greater awareness of self and others. The person demonstrates an increased competence, and an ability to relax and enjoy the host culture, and is able to articulate this new understanding to others. Sometimes the person overestimates the degree of his or her own adjustment and considers himself or herself an "expert" on the host culture. The individual may overestimate the degree of his or her own understanding in this newly discovered autonomy. However, the individual is now a more fully functioning person and is less dependent on others. The person can see himself or herself as both an insider in some areas and still an outsider in other areas. It is easier to cope effectively even though imperfectly in the host culture. Although the person now has the insight to understand the host culture, he or she may not yet have the ability to act in the most appropriate ways.

The person going through stage four will accurately perceive differences and similarities between the old and new ways as legitimate. The emotions of this stage tend toward self-assurance, a more relaxed attitude, increased warmth in one's relationships to others, and an ability for empathic caring. The behaviors that go along with this stage are typically independent decision making, a sense of being in control, a self-image as an "old hand" in the host

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The Five Stages of Culture Shock: Critical Incidents around the World
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • 1 - Experiencing Culture Shock 1
  • Conclusion 11
  • 2 - Critical Incidents Around the World 14
  • 3 - The Honeymoon Stage 26
  • Introduction 26
  • Conclusion 77
  • 4 - The Disintegration Stage 79
  • Introduction 79
  • Conclusion 132
  • 5 - The Reintegration Stage 134
  • Introduction 134
  • Conclusion 199
  • 6 - The Autonomy Stage 201
  • Introduction 201
  • Conclusion 243
  • 7 - The Interdependence Stage 245
  • Introduction 245
  • Conclusion 263
  • References 271
  • Index 277
  • About the Author 283
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