Building Communities (Chapters 7-8)

The next section argues that digital technology builds communities across cultures. More particularly, this section emphasizes the effects of digital divergence between social norms and languages.

First (Chapter 7), Faiza Derbel and Anne R. Richards discuss a collaborative project between their respective students in Tunisia and the Midwest of the United States. Their case study demonstrates the kind of intercultural barriers and perceptions operating between the two groups as they attempted to collaborate on a professional communication project. This study relevantly explores the divergences of these two groups, but carefully so, in that it makes no judgments except to describe the difficulties both groups of students experienced in the project.

In a similar cross-cultural study (Chapter 8), Heeman Kim and William Faux survey students in the United States and in South Korea to see how they view themselves and others in computer-mediated communication environments. They conclude that cultural variables dictate the values each group places on voice and agency. This discussion mirrors Barry Thatcher’s (2011) work in intercultural communication, especially in digital environments, and how different cultures think about their interactions with and in them.