The article reviews the main approaches to the concept of interethnic communication in the structure of the communication approach of modern sociology. The modern communicative space, experiencing the impact of globalization and Informatization, is multicultural, multiethnic and fundamentally open to new options of problematization. At the same time, the pluralism of the agenda combines in this space with different levels of awareness and justification of the conflicting positions. Thus, the development of modern ethno-cultural communication is characterized by various, often contradictory trends that produce risks and conflicts. Having a great potential for conflict, this type of communication is managed through the use of communication styles, knowledge of cultural characteristics and specifics of intercultural interaction. The practical and theoretical level of this type of interaction is discussed in this article. The virtualization of culture has opened up new opportunities for interethnic communication. Virtual communication can precede and facilitate real communication by creating multiple platforms for dialogue.
Keywords: Intercultural communicationinterethnic communicationstrategies to prevent communicative conflict
Interethnic communication is an element of crucial importance for the modern multicultural communicative space (Allik et al., 2011).
The emerging risks can generate interethnic tensions and conflicts, making it urgent to search for new forms and communication organizing technologies, which can provide the comfort of intercultural interaction, prevent ethno-confessional tensions and conflicts (Belikova, 2018). Interethnic communication is traditionally seen as an interaction between representatives of various ethnic organizations and ethnic groups. This interaction, the content of which consists of acts of information exchange, simultaneous performing certain activities, is determined by a number of factors, including ethnic self-identification, ethno-cultural competence of the individual, tolerance, as well as the desire for ethno-confessional understanding in the diversity of modern cultures (Drobizheva et al., 2019).
An important role in interethnic communication is played by historical memory and its cultural traditions, as well as the language of ethnic interaction.
As we can see, the culture of interethnic communication, as a component of the culture of the ethnic group as a whole, takes a significant place in the structure of interethnic interaction among representatives of different ethnic commonalities.
Since the culture of any ethnos must be considered as a solid structure consisting of elements, each of them cannot be adequately understood in isolation from each other (Drobizheva, 1993). The same applies to the culture of interethnic communication.
In ethno-cultural terms in general, it is opposed by the tradition of ethnic self-preservation, which tends to cultural isolation and prefers artifacts of its own culture (Grigoryan et al., 2018). In conditions of globalization and expansion of the Anglo-American version of popular culture, such trends are often amplified.
How do these opposite vectors of ethno-cultural life match today?
In addition, the ethno-cultural interaction itself can proceed according to different scenarios.
Purpose of the Study
The article reviews the main approaches to the concept of interethnic communication in the structure of the communication approach of modern sociology.
Two possible types of interethnic communication had been identified by Max Weber already: a Patriarchal and competitive (Shamne, 2017).
The Patriarchal type of interethnic interactions presupposes the dominance of the economically and culturally developed ethnic group in relation to the less developed ("immature", "primitive"). The basis for explaining the dominance of one group over another is the ideology of "enlightened despotism" (Strizoe & Khrapova, 2018). Competitive type of interethnic communication is formed under conditions of society’s urbanization, which is characterized by selection based on professional qualities, excluding any ethnic (racial) or tribal ties. As a result, there is a decrease in the distance between social groups, and therefore only ethno-cultural characteristics can become a support for the preservation of the dominant status of a certain group.
The paternalistic form of interethnic relations is characterized by the guardian type of interaction, while the competitive type implies not only the presence of a kind of "rival"," competitor", often provoking conflicts, but also the possibility of mutually beneficial agreement and exchange, sustainable and equal dialogue (Van den Berghe, 1981). Do these types persist in the modern information-rich and globalizing communicative space or are they replaced by other scenarios of interethnic interaction?
In addition, according to Lewis Coser's views, which have become widespread in modern social science, conflicts are an inevitable part of everyday life, and they do not have to be destructive. Normative consent and cultural understanding between representatives of different ethnic and religious communities are often established through conflict (Weber, 2001). From this point of view, conflict is the first and inevitable phase of awareness and appreciation of the depth and magnitude of cultural differences and similarities, so the harmonization of relations between different cultures is impossible without it. In this case, shouldn't intercultural conflict be considered not only as a kind of communicative conflict but also as a possible beginning of the moving towards a dialogue mode of communication, a process of movement towards conflict resolution?
The modern communicative space, experiencing the impact of globalization and Informatization, is multicultural, multiethnic and fundamentally open to new options of problematization. At the same time, the pluralism of the agenda combines in this space with different levels of awareness and justification of the conflicting positions.
As L. Drobizheva has noted, any interethnic conflict begins with ethnic tension, a special mental state of the ethnic community, which is formed in the process of the group ethnic consciousness reflecting a set of unfavorable external conditions that infringe on the interests of the ethnic group, destabilize its position and hinder its development In this case, we observe unconscious drives or subconscious attitudes that fix the historically developed needs of ethnic development (as cited in Shamne et al., 2019). Escalation of ethno-cultural differences entails the growth of ethnocentrism, an increase in the speed and scale of mobilizing ethnic stereotypes disseminating in society, condensing of national interests and ideology that reflects them. Eventually, at the final stage of reflection, ideologies are transformed into sociocultural strategies focused on conflict or consensus of communicating actors. These features of modern ethno-cultural communication are associated with its non-definiteness, multivariance of forms and scenarios, risks of development and the increasing role of conscious choice.
In the modern theory of intercultural communication, the so-called model of intercultural conflict styles (Intercultural 117 Conflict Style model, or ICS model) is often used when solving intercultural conflicts. This model is based on cultural differences among conflict resolution styles, characterized by two characteristics — directness and emotionality. Direct strategy tends to negotiations, verbal exchange of points of view, open explication of the concerns by sides of the conflict and perception of ways to exit out of the conflict. Cultures that tend to indirect strategy concentrate more not on what opponents say, but on their behavior. They often use a mediator’s intervention. The emotional strategy involves externalization of emotions arising during conflict situations and accentuation of emotional discomfort associated with the object of the conflict. An unemotional strategy is based on the control of emotions and the inadmissibility of their manifestation in the conflict, and the appeal to reason and trust. Accordingly, there are four conflict resolution strategies such as discussion, which is productive in cultures of direct non-emotional style; involvement, allowing emotional reaction, as confirmation of its sincerity; adaptation, built on the involvement of images, metaphors, nonverbal means, third parties, which can mitigate the tension; dynamic style, preferring indirect emotional conflict resolution strategy, demonstrating the intensity of passions, conceiving a rational calculation. The practice has shown that this model corresponds to the ethnic specificity of different cultures.
At the same time, the presence in modern society of two stable ethno-cultural tendencies (tendency to communicate with others and the tendency for ethnic egocentrism) raises the question not only about ethno-cultural tolerance but also about its limits. Otherwise, ethno-cultural influence can easily turn into ethno-cultural expansion and even dictatorship in a multi-ethnic society. They are manifested when external ethno-cultural influences collide with cultural immunity, they are assessed as dangerous for cultural identity, the autonomy of private life, personal dignity by ethnic consciousness (Еrgunova et al, 2017). These limits are indicated in interpersonal relations, in social practices of mutual isolation, and in strive to limit or exclude the manifestations of foreign cultural behaviors and traditions. Ultimately, the relative, and therefore mobile, boundaries of ethno-cultural tolerance are determined by the competition of different models and practices of ethnic communication. These boundaries have developed over a long historical period of co-existence in societies with multi-ethnic indigenous population. Today, in the context of accelerated and multidirectional development of social mobility processes – migration, in particular – the lack of clear and recognized boundaries of tolerance often fuels interethnic tensions.
The processes of modernization in their global manifestation are steadily narrowing the scope of ethno-cultural patronage typical of pre-industrial societies. However, the milder manifestation of power and influence – ethnic domination – remains in the space of ethno-cultural communication. One of its forms is the basic ethno-cultural consensus defined by the country's indigenous population (mono- or multi-ethnic). As a rule, it takes the form of traditions and is informal, so it allows you to resolve problems freely and quickly in a variety of practices of everyday communications. The history of meta-ethnic communities forming (for example Americans, Russians) or multi-confessional multi-ethnic societies (Morocco, Turkey, India) shows that the conventions achieved inside them are impossible without ethno-cultural dominance.
The forming of network connections and dependencies in modern society as an alternative to hierarchical structures, as well as the virtualization of modern culture, has an impact on ethnic communication (Politsinskaya et al., 2019). The network organization changes the nature of its participants’ communication, it gives special importance to communication as a dialogue of equal ethnic groups and cultures. New forms of power and dependence in ethno-cultural communication are connected, in particular, with the ability of the ethnic community to generate new initiatives, which itself puts other communication participants in the dependent position of followers. It is obvious, power as dominance is preserved in the communication space created by a mono- or multi-ethnic actor as a space of mediation, a space of conflict resolution, a space of innovation and experiment.
The virtualization of culture has opened up new opportunities for interethnic communication. Virtual communication can precede and facilitate real communication by creating multiple platforms for dialogue. At the same time, virtualization has led to the emergence of network communities, often built on the basis of unbreakable unity of opinions and views of their participants, and purely complementary relations. It is impossible not to see that such communities, as well as ethnic groups, prefer something of "their own" rather than "alien", cultivate their own tradition rather than foreign innovation. Such communities can contribute to the development of interethnic communication only if they are open to others. In other cases, they may cultivate xenophobia, ethno-cultural exclusivity, and isolationism.
The development of modern ethno-cultural communication is characterized by various, often contradictory trends that produce risks and conflicts. Their optimal resolution should take into account the communicative style of the conflict and use tools focused on the traditions of the ethno-culture of its participants. The peculiarities of the modern space of ethno-cultural communication create new opportunities for its effective organization. Such an organization today involves not only the prevention and timely resolution of ethnic and cultural conflicts but also the definition of the limits of tolerance as a guarantee of the preservation of ethnic and cultural diversity, one of the foundations of the basic consensus in multi-ethnic societies.
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28 December 2020
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Multicultural context, learning environment, modern society, personality formation, informatization of the society, economics and law system of the region
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Belikova, E., Glazkova, N., & Strizoye, A. (2020). Technologies Of Intercultural Communication In Professional Communities. In N. L. Shamne, S. Cindori, E. Y. Malushko, O. Larouk, & V. G. Lizunkov (Eds.), Individual and Society in the Modern Geopolitical Environment, vol 99. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 98-103). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2020.12.04.12