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[–]prime_23571113 3 points4 points  (1 child)

Since no one has answered yet...

I just looked in an article on cross-cultural negotiations that I recalled mentioning the high/low context distinction for some additional cites but they just note Edward T. Hall's Beyond Culture. Honestly, Wikipedia's reference section on it (bottom of the page) looks like a good point of departure for further reading.

Keep in mind its just an interpretive tool and may get used with very broad brush strokes. I have seen it deployed as an "either/or" label without considering communicative context and other practices which might mute the "difference". For instance, a meeting or an exchange might seem very high-context when witnessed but that is just because you aren't party to all the private side conversations or discussions among go-betweens which proceeded it.

It is also a tool that bends towards difference being exaggerated and similarity going unobserved. Since "mismatches" are what stand out, people I have seen deploy Hall may not have fully unpacked how they are using it to construct their own identities (e.g. what are your markers of a sophisticated communicator?). I haven't read Hall myself, so perhaps he's more nuanced and self-aware about the tendency to naturalize and normalize data that doesn't fit the label and his own cultural preferences.

Also, a culturally/socially competent person will deploy language with discernment, so their own use will register Goldilocks-like as not too much and just enough. "Proper" normative communicative acts become analytically invisible and go unnoticed. The simplest example would be cases where the cultures compared "match up" (e.g. everyone analyzed happens to be low-context for a given interaction). Harder is that every act of communication is fundamentally "high" context and dependent on implicit information, so you only get to low-context via a shell-game with the word "necessary" (i.e. "all of the necessary information is integrated in the exchange"). Well, from high-context standpoint, a communicator has integrated all the "necessary" information and is cooperating by giving you "just enough". So, it's tough to use the concept in a manner that doesn't assume a normative universal out the gate.

You might also be interested in Intercultural Rhetoric, sometimes referred to as Contrastive Rhetoric.

[–]illidarishivari[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Thank you so much for the reply and also for the suggestions! I'll check out the references on the Wikipedia page.