Beyond Culture Shock: Experiences of "The Other."

March 31, 1997 - 4:00pm

If you have travelled, it is likely you have experienced some form of "culture shock."

On May 3, the anthropology department of Malaspina University-College is hosting a one-day conference, "Beyond Culture Shock: Experiences of The Other," that will address culture shock in all its forms.

"Once outside of our familiar environment we feel a loss of control. Away from our points of reference we can feel displaced and with it comes a sense of rejection and lose of self-esteem," said Gary Tunnell, Malaspina anthropology instructor and conference co-host.

Many anthropologists have reported this phenomenon, however, diplomats, students, development workers, immigrants and tourists experience the same behavioral symptoms.

Culture shock can be felt, too, upon returning home after an extended stay in a different society. Once home, individuals may struggle to recreate a niche for themselves and old norms may be rejected and new values often confront old ones.

Conference participants have been asked to generalize these experiences to models and theories for understanding culture shock as an anthropological phenomenon, but also to present anecdotal information that can be humorous as well.

The conference will bring together social scientists and others interested in culture shock as a phenomenon for study. "As a concept culture shock is worthy of examination because of the amount of travel, international business, immigration/emigration, and the internationalization of cultures and societies around the world," said Andra Thakur, Malaspina anthropology instructor and conference co-host.

"Globalization is occurring faster than social scientists' ability to research and develop theory about the phenomenon, Thakur said. "Culture shock is a small part of the massive process of globalization but it is the hope of conference organizers that some useful theory may be generated by focusing upon it for one day."

The conference is open to the public. Attendees are asked to register two weeks in advance. The registration fee of $15 includes lunch and coffee.

To register, or for more information, contact Andra Thakur: (250) 753-3245, local 2250 or Gary Tunnell: (250) 753-3245, local 2246.

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