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Film Catalog » Subject Areas » Ethnic Studies (Minority Americans) » Multiculturalism/General Ethnic Studies » A World of Differences: Understanding Cross-Cultural Communication

A World of Differences: Understanding Cross-Cultural Communication

A World of Differences: Understanding Cross-Cultural Communication - Image Produced by Dane Archer.
30 min. Color. 1997.
Available as: VHS and DVD
Captioned: Yes
Catalog #: 0007
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Sale Price: $295.00 Buy VHS Buy DVD

When we encounter people from other societies or cultures, we may fail to understand them for many reasons, including differences in language, values, gestures, emotional expression, norms, rituals, rules, expectations, family background, and life experiences. This extraordinary video shows that cross-cultural communication can be successful if we manage to understand the powerful differences that separate people who come from differing cultures.

The video examines 14 key facets of cross-cultural miscommunication. In each case, the power and subtlety of cultural differences are explored and illustrated. As the video demonstrates, culture can be like a veil that prevents us from understanding those from other societies, and also prevents them from understanding us.

While some aspects of "culture shock" are predictable, such as language differences, many powerful differences are less obvious, and perhaps therefore even more "culture shocking." Examples include dramatic differences in personal space, patterns of touching, etiquette and ritual, the expression of emotions, ideas about edible and delicious food, gestures, courtship patterns, and parent-child relationships.

A World of Differences: Understanding Cross-Cultural Communication was produced by and features Prof. Dane Archer, of UC Santa Cruz. Like his other widely acclaimed videos, this one is both richly instructional and keenly enjoyable. This is essential viewing in a variety of courses. Viewers will be rewarded with a greatly enhanced awareness of the importance and nature of cultural differences.


"Showing A World of Differences to students is likely to make a world of difference in them. This video will surely affect those student perceptions and attitudes which make or break encounters between people with different cultural experiences. It speaks directly and forcefully to students by using the words and experiences of their fellow students from around the world -- with an impact no instructor's lecture could duplicate. I would feel a lot better about the future of our planet if I knew every student in school today had seen this video and discussed the issues it raises." -- Mark L. Knapp, Distinguished Teaching Professor and Jones Centennial Professor in Communication, University of Texas

"An indispensable tool for the instructor who wishes to explain the difficulties inherent in cross-cultural communication. The video is fascinating and is sure to arouse and hold students' interest. Along with previous videos by Prof. Dane Archer, A World of Differences is bound to change the way that nonverbal communication is taught and understood." -- Myron Zuckerman, Prof. of Psychology, University of Rochester

"This is a really wonderful introduction to the myriad problems of intercultural communication. The many examples of real difficulties experienced by people have charm and relevance. The net effect is a funny, sensitive, and ultimately loving embrace of the varieties of human cultural experience. Archer's technique of having real people talk about what has happened to them works superbly in this film; what might be just words on a page come to life through the empathy the viewer feels for each speaker. The film has humor and sympathy, and it teaches an ever more important lesson." -- Judith Hall, Professor of Psychology, Northeastern University, Editor, "The Journal of Nonverbal Behavior."

"Dane Archer has produced another winner! A World of Differences is a must for teachers of cross-cultural communication. Its entertaining vignettes illustrate the variety of misunderstandings that occur when cultures collide. For my students who plan to study abroad, I advise them to watch Archer's video because it quickly alerts them to both the power and the subtlety of cultural differences." -- Lawrence T. White, Professor of Psychology, Beloit College


  • American Psychological Assn. honoree
  • Western Pychological Assn. honoree

Additional Material

For additional information, visit http://nonverbal.ucsc.edu



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