Saturday, March 31, 2012

Australian and New Zealand national worldview.

Worldviews can be thought of as a lens through which individuals see the world around them. Worldviews may include assumptions of cause and effect, notions of good and bad, and even what goals are desirable in life. These assumptions may also include ideas that cannot be proved but are nevertheless part of the individual’s belief system. This is demonstrated by how members of different groups may have varying concepts of how and why events occur, which they find to be valid and acceptable.
Culture and worldview are both dependant on each other. Not only are worldviews important in communication within a cultural group, but also they also help organise the way in which members perceive and think about various norms, symbols and behaviours. This influence of culture is observed in how individuals within a culture may hold a number of similar ideas or values. This might be something very specific, such as how one should treat a various individuals, or a larger, more general trend of behaviour. An example of this would be the concept of individualism/collectivism that refers to how individuals manage disparity between their own agenda and that of their group.

Religion usually serves a fundamental role in a national world view. The church has remained separated from the state, and also from the mainstream of ideas and culture in general. Australians, if active in religion, commonly affiliate with the Christian-based religions. Only about 25% of Australians consider religion to be "very important," in comparison to 58% of Americans. Twelve percent do not practice religion. Of those who do actively partake in religious practices, 25% practice Anglican religion, 25% Roman Catholicism, and 25% other Protestant religions. Fewer than 1% of those who practice consider themselves Jewish. The small number of people who consider religion to be important conveys a nation of little spiritual focus, and perhaps a diversely structured set of thoughts and life views.
Hall's High/Low Context:
We consider Australia to be a low-context culture. This implies that the population is less homogeneous and more diversified. The dominant communication style of Australians is very open. A low-context culture means that the communicative messages lie in the verbal messages opposed to the nonverbal. However, Australians tend to need a lot of background information on someone in order to communication with him/her.
Hofstede's Cultural Patterns:
Australia received a score of 29 on Hofstede's scale of POWER DISTANCE. A low power distance implies that power in Australia is spread out to everyone instead of being reserved to a few groups. This relatively low score implies that Australians believe that they are close to power, that they should have access to that power, that the powerful and the powerless should try to live in concert with each other, and that a hierarchy is an inequality of roles established for convenience (Samovar and Porter, 70).
Australia received a score of 27 on the scale of UNCERTAINTY AVOIDANCE. This score implies that Australians do not like uncertainty, that they want stability for members, they strive for consensus, follow many rules, and tend to have more stress and anxiety.
Australia received a score of 2 on the INDIVIDUALISM/COLLECTIVISM scale. This is a very low score and implies that Australians promote individualism, promote personal goals over allegiance to groups, and competition is encouraged.
Australia received a score of 14 on the MASCULINITY/FEMININITY scale. This score falls somewhat in the middle, yet leans toward the masculinity side. Australian characteristics on the masculinity side include ambition, differentiated sex roles, achievement, acquisition of money, and signs of manliness.
In general, the Australian culture is very human dominated, future-oriented, activity-oriented, and individualistic.
( Emirova F.)

New Zealand
New Zealand is a bi-cultural society with a well-developed environmental ethic. This ethic reflects deep connections of both cultures to nature and is expressed in such national symbols as the kiwi and silver fern. More significantly, the environmental ethic has given rise to a strong national conservation movement and ultimately to a consensus anti-nuclear policy. Polynesian peoples (now called Māori) migrated to New Zealand about 1000ybp and hold a genealogical view of their relationship to the unique indigenous animals, many of whom are held sacred (tapu) as ancestors. This understanding parallels the Darwinian evolutionary view that underpins the contemporary New Zealand conservation movement, arising from European science. The relatively recent settlement of New Zealand also makes apparent the ecological damage that both cultures have inflicted on the indigenous biota, leading both cultures to commit to ecological restoration programmes. Young New Zealanders develop this environmental ethic in many ways: subliminally, through identification with national symbols such as the kiwi; economically, as New Zealand’s primary sources of national wealth arise from healthy nature (farming, forestry, fishing, tourism); and formally, through a primary and secondary education system that includes strong components of environmental education. New Zealanders are proud of their emerging national identity as a ‘clean green’ country and of the unique natural history of their country.
(Zentsova A.)

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