Cultural shock/clash can be defined as the exposure to unfamiliar way of life leading to uncertain behavior to simulate in the culture. Ethnocentrism however, can be defined as the propensity to believe that one’s cultural or ethnic community is superior to the other groups.[ CITATION Bro01 \l 1033 ]. Chauvinism is the view, idea or thought that a particular gender is superior to the other.
In Iraq, ethnocentrism could be defined from the gender angle: the chauvinism way. The social relationship dictates that the male counterparts are seen as superior to the females. They are viewed as species with the right to have fun: the pleasure species. Women on the other hand are viewed as species created to serve men and ensure their pleasures are achieved. They are there to flower the men’s’ world. The difference between the two genders is viewed to so huge that they should not even have eye to eye contact with men. Insofar as this can be viewed as acceptable to the involved parties, it is not in a liberal society like mine, where men and women interact freely and have equal rights not to mention freedom in doing whatever they wish. The chains of chauvinism are deeply rooted in the Iraqi culture. So deeply it is that women are not supposed to work. Ultimate loyalty is expected from them towards their male counterparts and not equally expected from the males. Generally women are supposed to remain at home while men worked.
The communication style is very different. They only shake with the right hand and using the left is viewed as disrespect and dirty since it is the hand they use for cleaning in the bathroom. Receiving money using the left hand is viewed as bad omen. It is believed to be able to cause a business to fall or if it were school fees, influence the performance of the child negatively. The communication from the elderly is taken without question. Religious leaders are viewed with much admiration to be taken lightly. Whatever they say is viewed to be from God (Allah) and should not be questioned. Men are not supposed to speak to women unless they speak to you first. This, to a liberal individual seems way overboard. From a society where no one even pays attention to whom initiate any conversation but the conversation itself, where women can propose for marriages or even approach the males for intimate relationships.
Their political system is saturated with cultural beliefs with religious leaders having great influence on who becomes the leader and doesn’t. This is not so in a liberal society where leaders are elected using a very democratic process.
Culture in the work place is also much religiously influenced. People stop to pray in the middle of work. God is to be given the first priority at all times and should be served seven times a day at some specific times. When it reaches these times they kneel to pray leaving their work until they finished. This is unlike my society where most people pray for few hours on a day in a week. Most employees would find it hard to stand this type of working model. Most women are also not supposed to work, if they do, they are supposed to work with fellow women, children or the elderly. Little boys are however allowed to work. This indicates a high level of demeaning to the women; allowing a little boy to work but middle aged lady not to.
Cristofa, I. (2001). Cultural Shock. London: Priority Projects.
Malinowski, B. (2001). Man and culture: an evalution of the work of Bronislaw Malinowski. Chicago: Routledge.