Individual, Institutional and International: Three Aspects of Intercultural Communication
This chapter starts by revisiting the three main sets of overarching questions that guided the Macao International Forum out of which grew this book. The second part, “Individual Cultures and the Individual as Cultural Artifact”, focuses on the first corner of a three-part triangular perspective, and begins by considering the original meanings of “individual” and “artifact”, and how those meanings have developed and expanded over time. To some extent reversing the idea that artifacts are, by definition, things made by humans, I propose that each of us is as much an artifact as the objects we make.
In the third part of the chapter, Institutional Cultures, I contrast the relatively new idea of individuals as cultural artifacts, with institutional cultures, which have a long-documented history, even though individuals have been around for far longer than the institutions they eventually created. I also consider how such institutions, as extensions and manifestations of societal cultures, reflect the cultural values and beliefs of the individuals and groups who created them. The fourth section explores the amorphous idea of “International Culture”, using the concept of “Internet Culture” as a way of concretizing the notion of “International Culture”. The chapter concludes by connecting the three corners of the triangle – Individual, Institutional, and International/Internet Cultures – to the three main sets of overarching questions that guided the Forum.
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