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The Ethics of Intercultural Communication


Edited By Bo Shan and Clifford Christians

The revolution in media technologies and the political upheavals intertwined with them demand a new media ethics. Given the power of global media corporations and the high-speed electronics of media technologies worldwide, more and more people are either brought together through dialogue and communication technologies or assimilated by them into a dominant culture. In cultural conflict all over the world, people tend to emphasize absolute differences when they express themselves, and under conditions of censorship and oppression citizens are increasingly prone to violence. To take seriously dramatic technological changes in a complicated world of cultural diversity, media ethics does not simply need to be updated but moved forward in a new intercultural direction. The Ethics of Intercultural Communication presents a futuristic model for doing so.
Focusing on Oriental and Western cultures, the book’s key case studies are China, North America, and Europe, where intercultural issues are relevant to an increasingly borderless world. Chapters focusing on a single nation or culture analyze findings from a cross-cultural perspective. Comparative studies appeal to transnational theories and norms.
Multi-ethnic voices in any community are increasingly understood as essential for a healthy society, and the media’s ability to represent these voices well is an important arena for professional development and for enriching media codes of ethics. The news media are responsible for mapping the profound changes taking place and this book teaches us how.


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Foreword (Stephen J. A. Ward)


The Ethics of Intercultural Communication is a timely and substantial contribu- tion to the study of how cultures do, and should, communicate with each other through news media, art, imagination, dialogue, and other means. In a global world, linked by global media, there is an urgent need for scholars and others to think and act in the domain of intercultural and global communication. The background for this book is nothing other than the future of human- ity on this small blue planet. As cultures come into tension, and as global problems challenge a massively unequal world, how can the peoples of the world communicate and cooperate ethically to promote global peace, under- standing, and justice? This question is not another plaintive cry about the state of the world by well-meaning but naive idealists. It is not a purely theoretical question fit for the philosopher as she dreams about a perfect world in her study. It is a practical question that calls for the mobilization of ethical citizens for reform, guided by deep theory, revealing facts, and humane philosophizing. To put the matter darkly: We, as an international community, will either figure out how to address our differences or we will live in a world of increasing violence instigated by injustice, ignorance, intolerance, and parochial values. We must summon all of our energy to this task or we will live in a world of envi- ronmental and militaristic threats to our species and other sentient creatures. I view the ethics of...

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