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Can food be worth more than a thousand words? Nonverbal and intercultural communicative competence for tourism promotion

In the first chapter the notions of culture, cultural differences and intercultural communication will be explained and widely discussed, by comparing different culture classification methods which have been used as a basis by many anthropologists, sociologists and psychologists to conduct studies and experiments on cultural differences. One of the most famous among those classification methods is the Hofstede's dimensional paradigm, which will be taken as a basis in this work. However, those methods (and Hofstede's in particular) have been recently criticized as oversimplified, limiting and potentially counterproductive for addressing the complex dimensionality and multifaceted identities that characterize intercultural interactions in the global context (Sorrels 2012).
In particular, the model has been criticized for its nation-state basis for culture identification, its essentialism and its methodological flaws (Jack and Phipps 2013).

The aim of this work is to provide the most neutral and prejudice-free explanation of what dealing and making businesses with different cultures means, and it is therefore necessary to state here that the above mentioned classification methods are just used to better understand cultural differences and values inherent to those cultures. As it will be pointed out later, one of the main characteristics and skills that a good intercultural manager must have is openness: openness to the new, to the unconventional, to the unexpected, to the "Other" and to the differences. Exploring a new culture should be compared to the discovery of a new world, trying to understand details and shades through time and experiences.

The aim of the second chapter is to analyze intercultural communication from the perspective of nonverbal behavior. Every culture has a different way of communication, and this implies the existence of differences in nonverbal communication, too. Moreover, it is important to note that individuals tend to focus more on nonverbal behavior than verbal communication (i.e., words) when communicating: the latter represents only the 7% of the message (obviously considering a common face-to-face interaction between individuals) (Merhabian 1981). A profound knowledge of cultural differences in nonverbal behavior should be the foundation of an intercultural manager's communicative competence, as many judgments during negotiations are based on nonverbal signs, e.g. clothing, posture, gestures, space relationships, etc.

The third chapter will provide the foundation of intercultural communicative competence and a description of the characteristics and skills that an intercultural manager should have to work and deal with intercultural interactions and negotiations. The chapter will also provide an analysis of what intercultural training is, and how it should be conducted to provide managers with the best intercultural knowledge and experiences.

The fourth chapter will focus more on tourism, promotion and marketing related to regional development and local food and wine products. The aim is to understand how the intercultural communicative competence described in the previous chapters could be applied to international projects to promote typical wine and food products of a geographical area internationally. The chapter will also provide a "field" perspective on how companies which deal with tourism promotion organize their marketing strategies to promote their "product" (i.e. a particular geographic region and its typical food and wine products) to international interlocutors.

The fifth chapter will present the main research, describing methods, participants and the data analysis. The research is aimed at answering some questions about the importance of intercultural communicative competences in international tourism promotion and how some principles of intercultural training - described in Chapter 3 - are applied by tourism providers. […]

In Italy, regional development related to food is an increasing phenomenon (Paolini 2000) and is usually managed by small- and medium-sized companies which promote tourism abroad thanks to typical food and wine products related to a particular geographical area. International interlocutors are very interested in those products, and the "Made in Italy" brand should be used as an ace to raise attractiveness and develop intercultural tourism. Conversely, lack of intercultural competences and communication between the main "actors" in regional development would lead to a great loss for the country, not only because of its touristic potential, but also because such a loss would increase that negative feeling towards the "Other", that would be relegated to a unknown figure to stay away from, just because it is different.

Mostra/Nascondi contenuto.
INTRODUCTION "Spurred by the globalization of human activities and the increasing interface of cul­ tural traditions, we are in the midst of a historically unprecedented scope and pace of change" (Kim 2012, p.229). The lives of billions of people are connected with the rest of the world in many ways: one may get up in a Swedish bed bought at Ikea, have break­ fast with American cookies, wear Italian clothes, drive a German car, text with a Korean mobile phone and arrange a meeting with a Chinese client for 1 Dam, being sure to be punctual because of a hand-made Swiss watch; this is the well-known effect of globaliza­ tion. This is the era of a global and constantly interconnected world, which makes peo­ ple able to travel for thousands of kilometers in just a few hours, to reach relatives, have relaxing vacations or negotiate to reach business agreements. This constant and increasing contact with "the Other" is also leading to its homoge­ nization: the beauty and typicality of an individual and its thoughts and beliefs are re­ duced to a flat and anonymous profile put in the World Wide Web. The Internet is the best representation of the pace of change brought by globalization; an individual can have access to almost evetything in a velY short period of time and distance is no more a concern for the human being. Globalization and the Internet are interconnected, they go along with one another making intercultural contact easier, but also preventing indi­ viduals from deeply knowing the "other's" culture. This lack of knowledge leads to mis­ understandings and miscomprehensions, prejudices and stereotypes with the only con­ sequence of corrupting relationships with people of other cultures. Here comes the paradox: in a world where people are increasingly interconnected to one another, even sharing different cultural backgrounds, the lack of knowledge about those backgrounds is increasing, too, and the natutal and logical consequence of all this lack of knowledge is misunderstanding, which is dictated by prejudice and ignorance. This leads to the will to impose one's own worldview: as a consequence, racism, stigma- [11]

Laurea liv.II (specialistica)

Facoltà: Lingue e Letterature Straniere

Autore: Sebastiano Ridolfi Contatta »

Composta da 171 pagine.


Questa tesi ha raggiunto 508 click dal 16/02/2015.


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