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Regional patterns of communication in the United States: A theoretical perspective

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Abstract

This paper provides the rationale for a systematic study of regional patterns of communication in the United States (US). Regionalism is conceptualized, regional influences on communication are examined, and their significance is established. Next, the regional development of the US is described through an account of regional history and an examination of forces that cause the decay, maintenance, and reestablishment of distinct regions. Finally, a program of regional research on US communication is proposed. Deficiencies in prior research are examined, rudimentary research efforts are considered, boundaries are described, and future research directions are provided.

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... To date, no research has compared the differences, if any, in assertiveness by region of the United States. The current study is based on Andersen, Lustig and Andersen's (1987) review of American regional studies in which they proposed research strategies for examining possible differences in regional communication patterns. Specifically, the present research study explores the following questions: Does scientific inquiry support the proposition that people living in the Upper Midwest have a tendency to avoid asserting themselves when communicating with others? ...
... As Andersen, Lustig and Andersen (1987) suggest, ''Regions are more than areas with distinct climatic and topographical characteristics; regions manifest homogeneous behavior and distinct psychological and communication patterns'' (p. 128). ...
... In other words, regional subcultures are environments that both shape and are shaped by the people who live in them. Because of the interactive nature of this relationship, to understand a communicative behavior fully, it is useful to examine acculturated individuals in the context in which their communication regularly occurs (Andersen et al., 1987;Berry, 1990;Kim, 2001). ...
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Co-cultural differences in assertiveness within the United States have not been explored, despite noted regional differences in communication patterns (Andersen, Lustig, & Andersen, 1987). This study examines assertiveness behaviors, focusing on university students from the Upper Midwest (n = 148) and the New York Metropolitan region (n = 159) who completed the Rathus Assertiveness Schedule (Rathus, 1973 Rathus, SA. 1973. A 30-item schedule for assessing assertive behavior. Behavior Therapy, 4: 398–406. [CrossRef], [Web of Science ®] [Google Scholar]). New York Metropolitan respondents reported significantly higher levels of assertive communication than did respondents from the Upper Midwest. Males in the Upper Midwest region reported significantly higher levels of assertive communication than did females in the same region. Implications for regional differences in assertiveness are discussed.
... It is interesting that there is so much agreement and so little variation among these vMts college students who grew up in different areas of the United States, in different kinds of settings (cities, suburbs), and wlio now study at different types of colleges and universities in different areas of the United States (Andersen, Lustig, & Andersen, 1987). Despite our persistence in obtaining surveys from a diverse array of wWte college students, we were struck by the uniformity of their responses. ...
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Complete and Final Published Manuscript Will Be Found At: Parks, E.S. and Aoki, E. 2021. “Listening across the United States: Diverse Cognitive Constructs and Regional Listening Codes.” In Wang, C. and Chao, L., Communicating across Difference.
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ABSTRACT Americans have always shown strong affinity for small towns. Some, as exemplified by Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, developed into places of very real importance in the cultural and economic life of the United States in the past, but have found it increasingly difficult to compete effectively in a world of heavy industry and quaternary economics. Changes in American taste and technology suggest that small towns might again play a meaningful role in contemporary society. Three generations of economic and demographic difficulties have caused physical and psychological damage which sharply limits Bellefonte's ability to play such a role.
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ABSTRACT The superorganic mode of explanation in cultural geography reifies the nation of culture assigning it ontological status and causative power. This theory of culture was outlined by anthropologists Alfred Kroeber and Robert Lowie during the first quarter of the twentieth century, later elaborated by Leslie White, and passed on to Carl Sauer and a number of his students at Berkeley. In this theory culture is viewed as an entity above man, not reducible to the actions of individuals, mysteriously responding to laws of its own. Explanation, it is claimed must be phrased in terms of the cultural level not in terms of individuals. After demonstrating that a number of influential cultural geographers support this theory the central assumptions of the theory are subjected to a critical analysis. These assumptions include the separation of the individual from culture, the reification of culture, the assumption of internal homogeneity within a culture, the characterization of culture as a configuration of modal personality types and idealized values, and the implicit use of Pavlovian conditioning theory.
Article
ABSTRACT America's metropolitan areas continue to serve distinct functionalnodal regions. For each region the metropolis is the single most important center of economic organization and culture diffusion. But the classic model of metropolis and region is changing. Business and migration linkages appear to be more national than regional. The regional metropolis is decentralizing and dispersing. The resource-based economy of the region has ceased to support most of the economic growth of the metropolis; meanwhile the metropolis lends increasing economic support to the surrounding region. The existing political-geographic framework is not suited to these changes. National policies are likely to be directed increasingly to management and organizational reforms which recognize both the nature and the inertia of the evolving urban-regional system, and aim to make it work better.
Article
ABSTRACT As a product of initiatives undertaken toward the end of the nineteenth century, cultural geography has been one of the most durable of geographical enterprises. Its persistence can be explained by the continuity of a distinctive set of scholarly preferences. Influential recent developments include new or renewed interest in environmental perception, cultural ecology, and aspects of the cultural geography of the United States. Deficiencies include inadequate concern for the context or rationale of studies of material culture and relative neglect of several topics of inherent importance.
Article
The small group research reported in the literature has been conducted predominantly with American subjects. Because these studies have primarily sampled only one culture, it was speculated that the findings may not be applicable to groups in other societies. After examining the available cross-national small group research, the investigator found that group behavior frequently varied from culture to culture, particularly with regard to leadership, conformity, network performance, and risky shift. In discussing cultural differences in group behavior, a value theory of small group development was posited. Essentially, the theory maintains that cultural values determine how a small group and its members behave. Research strategies for testing the theory are also examined in the article.
Article
Examines the motivation for achievement as a psychological factor that shapes economic development. Refuting arguments based on race, climate, or population growth, the book instead argues for cultural customs and motivations - especially the motivation for achievement - as the major catalysts of economic growth. Considering the Protestant Reformation, the rise of capitalism, parents' influences on sons, and folklore and children's stories as shaping cultural motivations for achievement, the book hypothesizes that a high level of achievement motivation precedes economic growth. This is supported through qualitative analysis of the achievement motive, as well as of other psychological factors - including entrepreneurial behavior and characteristics, and available sources of achievement in past and present highly achieving societies. It is the achievement motive - and not merely the profit motive or the desire for material gain - that has advanced societies economically. Consequently, individuals are not merely products of their environment, as many social scientists have asserted, but also creators of the environment, as they manipulate it in various ways in the search for achievement. Finally, a plan is hypothesized to accelerate economic growth in developing countries, by encouraging and supplementing their achievement motives through mobilizing the greater achievement resources of developed countries. The conclusion is not just that motivations shape economic progress, but that current influences on future people's motivations and values will determine economic growth in the long run. Thus, it is most beneficial for a society to concentrate its resources on creating an environment conducive to entrepreneurship and a strong ideological base for achievement. (CJC)
Some metatheoretical concerns about theory development in intercultural communication. Paper presented at the Speech Communication Association Convention
  • M W Lustig
  • McClelland D.C.