The word culture is used in various contexts as a very fluid idea to which a variety of meanings is assigned. Cross-cultural psychology explores the behaviours of people across cultures. The issues of national identities and the pressure of a cultural diversity pointing both at differences and at a sense of ‘otherness’ are opening up new perspectives in cross-cultural studies. Globalization, definitely an abused term, seems not to have produced either the success of the ‘global’ as such or the persistence of the nationalistic ‘local’. One’s own cultural lens generally reflects one’s perception of people from other cultures. The perception, however, is not a direct automatic transfer. It is an ‘interpretation’ of what appears in front of one’s eyes. This form of understanding becomes, therefore, an act of translation, meant in its Latin etymology. One’s orientations may play a relevant role in the perception making, at times, misunderstanding more frequent than understanding. Both people in the host country and people who migrate to other countries find themselves in a new situation. It may happen that some of them need to question themselves as to some values and norms in order to ‘rationalize’ their behaviours which, until that moment, seemed a natural choice or even seemed natural and not the result of a choice. It all leads to a new awareness of one’s own cognitive and psychological strategies.
|Keywords:||Behavioural Sciences, Cross-cultural Psychology, Identity, Translation|
Former University Foreign Languages Lecturer for the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Vitória, Espirito Santo (ES), Brazil
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