Christina/ April 22, 2011/ Culture

The topic “Communication beyond (cultural) borders” seems to be one of the most interesting and controversial issues at present. Meanwhile I am thinking about dedicating a PHD-thesis to this subject due to enduring fascination and repeated “critical incidents“, leaving me reflective.

Such a project typically starts with research. 15 years ago such an investigation has been done in some public libraries. By now, “Uncle Google” became a brilliant alternative. With “his” help it is not only possible to discover sound scientific articles online but also a bunch of curios that bring up questions. Today, I’d like to report on some of those curios.

Already in february this year I reported on Ethnomarketing. One of the fields where economic calculatio beats cultural concerns, cause: Even though the religious conditioning of (islamic) immigrants alienates western business people, they still can do business with them. One of my today’s research lead me to the first “International Conference on Islamic Marketing and Branding.” Side note: the conference also disposes of a Facebook page however could not convince more than 12 people. The conference took already place in November 2010 without being covered by international press. In any case I do not remember any reports on it.

The conference took place in Malaysia, generally known as a muslim conditioned country. Unfortunately there aren’t any results from the meeting on the website. I wonder, however: Is this a step to a concession of western profiteering towards a new promising target group, which comprises of 1,2 billion people world wide or is it a separation of muslims who want to be advertised according to Islamic regulations or is it an approach of both sides towards building intercultural competence?

Looking for one of the papers of the conference in the internet I come across this websiteIdiots Guide to Islam. I am sure that plenty of such sites – of all religious motivations – can be found on the net. This is my question: Does mankind need such concepts of the enemy to justify and stabilize its own identity? In the sense of an “In-Group”?

One of the positive outcomes of the “Arab revolution” is definitely the increased news coverage on the events in the affected countries. That is to say that finally we get some information about the inhabitants. The “Neuen Zürcher Zeitung” writes about “Touria.” It is again about the (stereotype) fovourite topic of the western media: “Some women share the same problem in the North African Kingdom: the suffer from the paternalistic structures which keeps them in a tight corsett – and lets them down upon breaches “, the article claims. The report concludes with a promising outlook: “Maybe the story leads to a promising way out of the isolation that many morrocan women are faced with.” Yes, the article is not untrue. But: Is that really all that can be said about the “new North Africa”, by that I understand Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt after the revolution. Is there really nothing else to say but that they still have a long way to go until they reach a (western) democratic standard? Shouldn’t we feel happy for the people over there and support them in their struggle for freedom according to their standards? And I’d like to get back to what I said before: is suppression of and violence against women truely an Islamic phenomena? Yes, I do believe that our intercultural understanding towards alleged different-minded peoples is back to square one.

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