Cross-Cultural Pragmatic Failure: A Definitional Analysis with Implications for Classroom Teaching

| September 30, 2004
Cross-Cultural Pragmatic Failure: A Definitional Analysis with Implications for Classroom Teaching

Keywords: cultural imperialism, American culture, globalization, globality

Peter Dash

Bio Data
About the author – Peter Dash is currently an ESL lecturer in Korea and has worked for over eight years throughout China and Korea teaching. He has a Master of Science in Education and is currently studying for a Master of Applied Linguistics. He was an associate at Harvard University where his research focused on generational change and youth.

It is arguable that every culture may be deemed a potential but imperfect model that other cultures can consult. Although many regard it as an incarnation of democracy and a crystallized or epitomized model of human civilization, the United States as a cultural entity is definitely an imperfect one, which does not necessarily “direct” the process of globalization to the right track. As such, what this paper mainly concerns includes, first, why America has long been considered an easy target criticized as cultural imperialism/hegemony; second, whether the correlation between the process of globalization and American culture has decisively perpetuated the gap that distinguishes winners/dominators from losers/the oppressed or gradually ensured the realization of a global utopia; and third, what lessons are worth learning in a view that American culture has been imagined as culturally imperialistic no matter how acceptable or convincible it appears. In a world that is getting “smaller”, American culture is nothing less than one that has been equally influenced by globalization, whether regarded as a “bandwagon” or “juggernaut”, as others have. Hence it is not cultural homogenization, which proves unacceptable because of undermining the present globality that exists and serves as a pillar of globalization, but competitive co-existence among cultures with an approach to human friendliness that facilitates the process of globalization. In that sense, a positive and constructive attitude towards American culture, which closely refers to American value, language and technology, will help give a profound understanding of the relationships between globalization and the U.S. in terms of cultural factors.

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