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Showing posts from January, 2017

Reflections on Being a Stranger in a Foreign Land

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Reflections on Being a Stranger in a Foreign Land
By Todd L. Sandel, Ph.D.
In 1944 the scholar, Alfred Schütz, known for his writings in sociology and phenomenology, published an essay, “The stranger: An essay in social psychology.” He claimed that while most people operate according to the “cultural pattern” of a standardized scheme, with common sense “recipes” for how to act and how to interpret others’ actions, the stranger experiences the world differently. Such a person has moved from the familiar to the unfamiliar, and thus experiences a “crisis”: the stranger “has to place in question nearly everything that seems to be unquestionable to the members of the approached group” (p. 502). What is seen by “in-group” members as an objective, standardized way of navigating the world, to the stranger is experienced as a “subjective chance” that depends more on “personal circumstances and faculties” than an objective, impersonal system open to all.
It is not difficult to see how Schütz’s es…

America's Wall Builder

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The freely elected leader (do I call him President?) of the United States of America has "fulfilled" a campaign promise and begun to build his wall. This first wall is not a physical structure, but a political one, in the form of a directive that keeps certain people from entering the US. Fortunately, within 24 hours protests broke out, supported by lawyers and the ACLU, and a judge temporarily and partially blocked the directive. As I write this it is impossible to know what will happen next. But I fear that it will not be good.
A couple months ago, and after the election of November 2016, I wrote an introductory piece as incoming Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of International & Intercultural Communication. This is the 10th year of the journal, and in this short piece I looked both forward and backward in time, reflecting on what is the aim of this journal, and what I see it to be in coming years. I framed the piece by reflecting on two November 9 (11-9) events, the fi…
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Happy New Year!

As 2016 became 2017, we as a family got to celebrate it together. For us this takes some effort as we live and work in multiple places: Donna, Pearl and me in Macau, Sarah in Houston/Rochester, and Robbie in Norman, Oklahoma. But as this picture attests, we got to have a "happy time" together here in this part of the world. And as we approach another "new year" that of the Rooster, I hope and pray that the future takes us to a better time and place.

More thoughts coming soon!