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

By Paul Pedersen | Go to book overview

7
The Interdependence Stage

INTRODUCTION

The last stage in most descriptions of culture shock aims at the goal of a bicultural or multicultural identity. In this almost idealized target goal, the U- curve, the individual has moved from alienation to a new identity that is equally comfortable, settled, accepted, and fluent in both the old and new cultures. There is a sense of belonging to several cultures at the same time. Even though the individual is still different from the host culture in a variety of ways, those differences do not dominate or control the individual's identity any longer. A mutual adaptation has occurred that defines the profoundly significant common ground between visitors and the host culture. The differences between the visitor and the host culture are no more or less significant than the differences between any two residents of that host culture. The new culture has been internalized to the point where the visitor accurately and appropriately acknowledges some ownership, responsibilities and privileges in that new host culture. Ideally, that fifth-stage person will be referred to as a bicultural or multicultural person.

The attitudes, emotions, and behaviors of the person in the fifth stage of culture shock will accurately build on both similarities and differences between cultures. The person will exhibit a high level of trust and authentic sensitivity to the conditions of the host culture. The person will express humor and creativity and will accurately interpret the meaning of events in the host culture. The emotions of the previous four stages will be integrated and synthesized into this new identity with each stage contributing its own essential perspective to the development. The person will build on this new identity as a "transitional experience" ( Adler, 1975) in the encounter with other cultures and with an unfolding of the new self. This fifth stage then is not the end point or culmination of development but a state of dynamic tension between self and culture that opens new perspectives.

In this fifth stage, the person will have learned several insights about cultures in contact. First, each culture is a fabric of values attitudes and beliefs

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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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