The relationship between power and intercultural communication is clearly illustrated in our textbook “intercultural communication in Context”, Power has significant impact over the interaction of people having different culture, it’s sometimes decides people’s communication style. Since neighborhood consists of people, power is influential over the development and identity of neighborhood for sure. Identity, has close relationship with power, as I stated in my previous analysis about identity in Phillips, identity is determined by culture, this is also why people have different expectation and impression for people in different race, because people have different cultural background, which constructs distinct identity for themselves, so we behave, thinking in various way. So in previous analysis, I illustrate the relationship between identity and culture, that is, our own cultural background, experience plays important role in building up our sense of identity. I am going to discuss that how power and culture influence each other in specific context, Phillips will be an example.
The movie we watched in class on Wednesday really impressed me, the movie introduces the story about the history of Israel, their tough revolutionary way from crucial imperialism to democracy. Moreover, we can see how power influence culture in Israel, dictator in Israel has absolute power to interfere people’s life by controlling the spread of western culture, people were not allowed to have their own cultural preference, had seldom access to getting to know western culture. In the movie, the girl taking risk of being arrested to buy the CD of Michael Jackson, she is a big fan of American pop music, she almost being put into jail because of wearing Nike sneakers, everything related to American cultural is forbidden in Israel. The movie well illustrated how power influences over the spread of culture, government or dictator intervened people’s daily and belief by protecting dominant culture, prohibited any other culture that is different from dominant culture. Most time, power is harmful for the diversity of cultural development, excess power constraints people’s life and belief, creating an unhealthy cultural environment.
Power is dynamic, affected by many reasons, like race, economy, gender, geography, also culture. Power shifted, as the change in culture, the shift of power in Phillips can be a typical example, illustrates how historical context impact culture and power. In the early period, Phillips was constructed because it great transportation, which is very beneficial for the development of business, therefore, Phillips was the residence area for even the wealthiest family in the city, so the identity for Phillips was the place for rich people, later, immigrants from Europe came to Phillips to start their new life in New Continental, so at that time, the main ethnicity in Phillips is white, whites are the power can influence everything in Phillips, culture of European immigrants were dominant culture in Phillips. The shift in culture happened in the 1920’s, because of the Great Depression, the economic situation became awful; people lose jobs, industry and all the business couldn’t run normally, so we say sometimes power is affected by economics, whites in Phillips started to move out, from that time, whites culture lose there are dominant culture position in Phillips, which means, they lose the power in influence Phillips. The development of Phillips went into a state to “backward”, it was not as rich as before. Soon, due to the cheap rent and living expense here, black people and Latinos began to move into Phillips, either black or Latinos, they have their own distinct culture, which is totally different from whites culture. Until now, black and Latinos are still dominant race in Phillips, which means they have the power to construct the main culture in Phillips, also bring new identity.
Unlike earlier years, Phillips is not the symbol of rich area any more, adversely, now the mainly social problems here are: High crime rates, high poverty rate, and unemployment rate, political ignorance. These contemporary social contexts are current social issue in Phillips, as the change in composition of race, the new power, and new culture. For instance, government pays highly attention to these hot issue, recent years, under the support of community, many international companies started their business, hire people in Phillips, this action relieved the pressure of unemployment, increase income of residents, also decrease the crime rate, so the power keeps influence the context in community, currently, safety issue already replace poverty, became the most serious problem in Phillips, therefore, context is also dynamic, change as power change.
Power, culture and context influence each other all the time, once one of the factor changes, the others two shifted as well.
Martin, Judith, and Thomas Nakayama.INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION IN CONTEXT. 5TH. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010. Print.
Marks, Wizard. Phillips neighborhood network. The Alley in May, 05 1990. Web. 26 May 2012. <http://www.pnn.org/History/Stories/railroads_and_industry.htm>.