Luciana Benincasa, Generalizations, overgeneralizations and intercultural communication: The stereotype of the Greek nation at commemorative ceremonies in schools., Προσχολική & Σχολική Εκπαίδευση, 6|2018, 73-94

This paper has a double aim: (a) to approach a stereotype of the nation as overgeneralization and obstacle to intercultural communication and (b) to suggest ways to start to “escape” from stereotypical thinking. The first aim is pursued through a comparison between two conceptualizations of the level of “programming” of the human mind: (a) Hofstede’s model of the “software” of the human mind and (b) a stereotype of the Greek nation widely used in schools, as it is presented in the literature. Both constitute theories of the patterns of thinking, feeling and potential acting among the members of nation. The first (scientific) theory is explicitly articulated on three levels:  individual, group and human nature. The stereotype of the nation may be viewed as a folk theory. Meant to serve the management of everyday life, it does not have to be explicitly formulated or satisfy the requirements of a scientific theory.  The school stereotype was subject to thematic analysis. The comparison suggests that this national stereotype tends to abolish the lines that, In Hofstede’s schema, keep the levels of mental programming clearly separate. As a result, the stereotype constitutes an overgeneralization. As such, it is viewed as an obstacle to successful intercultural communication. Thus, I argue for the need of critical self-examination as the means of acquiring awareness of our stereotypes. To this purpose, a few “techniques” and a brief overview of relevant literature.   

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